As global mobile usage continues to grow, the hospitality industry is seeing an increasing number of hotel bookings coming from smartphones. Mobile bookings grew by 1700% in just four years, and people are now five times more likely to leave a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly. According to recent statistics, OTAs are dominating mobile bookings: by 2022, more than one third of European supplier-OTA bookings will take place via mobile websites and apps. Now is a good time for tech-savvy hotels to improve their website’s mobile-friendliness and drive more conversions as a result.
Millions of travellers worldwide search for hotels on Google every day, but up to 94% will switch between devices as they plan or book a trip. The main reason for switching from mobile to desktop computers are limitations with mobile usability. By not having a mobile-friendly site, you risk losing potential customers to competitors. In fact, 88% of travellers using mobile phones would switch to another site or app if yours doesn’t satisfy their needs. As if that wasn’t reason enough to go mobile, Google has announced they are rolling out mobile-first indexing, which gives priority to websites that follow mobile page best practices.
Read on to find out what a mobile-friendly website looks like, and how to ensure your hotel site hits the mark.
What is a mobile-friendly website?
A mobile-friendly website has a responsive design that allows visitors using different types of devices to easily read text, navigate around and fill out forms. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? A recent study analysed over 1000 hotels and found that only 17% of boutique hotel websites passed Google’s mobile-friendly test. So what went wrong? All too often, the text is hard to read, the menu doesn’t display the way it should or links are difficult to click on due to the small screen size. Or, even worse, the mobile site’s load time is too slow, making people leave right away. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Three ways to make your hotel website more mobile-friendly
1) Ensure your hotel website is responsive
First step towards having a mobile-friendly website is to ensure that it has a responsive design for better user experience. This means that your website is compatible, and views correctly, on all devices – regardless of whether it gets visited from a mobile device, tablet or desktop site. The key thing to remember here is that it’s best to have one agile, responsive website that adapts to all devices rather than separately create a mobile site (which Google frowns upon). If you use a content management system, such as WordPress, chances are your website’s theme can already adapt to all screens.
If you’re unsure, Google Chrome has a handy DevTool that you can use to check your site’s responsiveness. Right-click on a page, select ‘inspect’ and then toggle between desktop and mobile to see how it looks on each device. If your website isn’t scaling correctly, you need to chat with your web developer.
2) Improve your website speed
One of the most important things you need to do to make your hotel website more mobile-friendly is to reduce the loading speed of the site. There is nothing worse than losing potential guests because your mobile site took too long to load. There are a number of fixes you can do to improve site speed, such as optimising images, minifying code, reducing re-direct links and utilising browser caching. While it is possible to do these tasks yourself, they can get time-consuming very quickly. An SEO specialist or agency should be able to get these sorted for you.
3) Provide an excellent mobile user experience
A total of 45% of travellers say they would switch mobile sites if it takes too many steps to book or to get the desired information. Getting your mobile user experience right is therefore key. Try eliminating any unnecessary steps a traveller has to take on mobile by implementing one-click functionality, helping them fill out forms or providing other ways of finishing the transaction, like including a call to action to get in touch with you.
Optimise your hotel website with HotelREZ
Making sure your hotel website is mobile friendly is crucial, especially as Google continues to roll out more mobile-first updates. If you have the right web designers, developers and SEO experts on hand, you can do it yourself and use Google Search Console to test how mobile-friendly your site is. Or you could just let us do it for you.
At HotelREZ, we provide quality distribution, representation, marketing and consultancy services to more than 1,500 hotels in over 100 countries. We’re experts at effective online marketing to help our member hotels increase direct bookings. Find out how our hotel marketing services can help your hotel or get in touch today to discuss optimising your hotel website for mobile.
HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts was founded in 2004 by Mark Lewis, an experienced hospitality industry professional and entrepreneur. Over the course of over a decade, the company has grown to be one of the leading hotel representation companies dedicated to marketing and connecting independent properties with bookers worldwide. HotelREZ now provides distribution, revenue, sales consultancy and marketing services and support to more than 1,500 hotels, apartments and hotel groups in over 100 countries including private label GDS chain code solutions. HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts is a SAAS company. HotelREZ also incorporates the global World Rainbow Hotels, the world’s only GDS enabled LGBT global hotel consortia representing some 1200 hotels in 230 destinations across the globe.