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The Growth of Mobile in Your Hotel Marketing

Did you know that mobile search has grown 400% in the past year?
38% of leisure and 57% of business travelers use their mobile devices to research, shop, book, and share their travel experiences (Google and Ipsos Media). And just in case you think that your website visitors will be satisfied with a mobile compatible website, where you merely shrink down your regular website to fit the device, you are mistaken. The first thing to understand about providing your guests with the best possible mobile experience is the difference between a mobile optimized website and a mobile compatible website.

Mobile Optimized

A mobile optimized site is a website designed specifically for a Smartphone; it is built for speed and efficiency. Your images and videos load quickly, your copy is short form and quick for the researcher to read, and the site has tap-to-call, and tap-to-email features, as well as a map and booking links on every page. This assists in speedy reservations for guests as soon as they have made their decisions. Once your mobile visitor has made her decision, she wants to book now – right now!  In a recent travelweekly.co.uk article, Google stated, “Customers now have a greater expectation [with] sites [that] load fast, and have less patience with those that don’t.” Therefore, unless you have all the functions listed above, and they are speedy, statistics suggest that you stand to lose 61% of your visitors.  This could have a significant impact upon your room nights filled. Usually, a mobile optimized website has either tabs or icons on the home page, leading your reader to pages that contain the above essential travel shopping functions as well as access to your social media channels so that she can immediately share her experiences with her friends.

Mobile Compatible

A mobile compatible website, on the other hand, simply shrinks down the regular website, so that when your guests are on a mobile device such as a Smartphone, they need to pinch and swipe to expand the font and find the navigation links. A mobile compatible site contains the necessary features, but they are minuscule and often difficult to read. When potential guests visit sites such as these, 61% will not even stay and try to read it; they are busy, and may immediately go off to your competitor with an optimized site. Speed and ease is of the essence to mobile users, so you had better provide it! The following image illustrates the difference between Mobile Optimized and Mobile Compatible:

Optimized Mobile
Website

Compatible Mobile
Website

You can view in both landscape and portrait modesCan only be viewed in one direction
Screen dimensions are correct for mobile, and has  easy to click large navigation buttonsUsers need to scroll and swipe to see all copy, and links are small and difficult to click
Video and Image ‘tours’ load quicklyMedia is slow to load
Can easily use swipe or zoomDesigned for PC users, not mobile users, making it clumsy
Click to email and click to call incorporatedLinks to connect with hotel not clearly defined
Text is large and readable and short-copy is usually bulleted for easeText is tiny and difficult to read with long paragraphs of copy
Contains links to a mobile optimizedbooking engine (on every page if possible), making the process quick and easyNo clear links to any kind of booking engine, so the booking process is not simple to find or complete
Links to social media sites are easy to find on the main screenLinks to social media sites are difficult to find and usually “below the fold” (i.e. off the main page)
Easy to navigateDifficult to navigate

Bottom Line with Optimized Mobile

When your hotel has an optimized website, you and your potential guests will find that it is much easier to use and navigate than a compatible site.  But the main outcomes that you will discover are lower bounce rates, along with higher engagement rates. Next time we will discuss how you can implement and optimize your hotel’s mobile strategy.

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