Mobile optimization is a critical aspect of today’s digital marketing strategy for hotels. According to Google, 25% of travel bookings by leisure travelers were made on a smartphone and 27% were booked on a tablet.
It’s expected that by 2017, mobile video will represent 66% of global mobile data traffic (Cisco). Safe to say that mobile optimization isn’t an option anymore; it’s required. Keep these essentials in mind as you create and implement your your mobile strategy:
1. Think about interface and screen size
Since the majority of smartphones and tablets are touchscreen devices, remember the user’s fingertip is the primary input device; make items “fingertip-friendly” – ensure links are easily tap-able, allow swiping to move through tabs or photos, offer drop downs for selections and include “Previous” and “Next” buttons to help guide users through the booking process.
Enhance the tablet site by using larger visuals, crisp text, increased white space, and more buttons; if buttons aren’t appropriate, use clear contrasting colors or underlines in text links.
2. Add eye-pleasing visuals
High-resolution smartphone screens and larger tablet screens are ideal for viewing videos, virtual tours and high resolutions photographs – all the tools you need to tell your hotel’s story with rich, engaging visuals. Recent figures suggest watching video is one of the most popular things people do on their mobile devices: More than half of all mobile web traffic in 2012 was video content (Cisco Visual Networking Index).
Tablets users want video. More than 50 per cent more video viewing takes place on tablets than on smartphones, and mobile video overall is expected to grow 75 per cent by 2017. In other words, take advantage of the tablet screen’s size and clarity to show your property off!
3. Make booking easy
Smartphone and Tablet users are ready to buy– right now. Mobile travel bookings are projected to exceed $8 billion this year (PhoCusWright).
Both leisure and business travelers are more than twice as likely to book via a mobile site than through a mobile app, but a bad mobile website is the number one deterrent to mobile booking. This is why it’s important to focus on simplicity, ease of use, and safety for both smartphones and tablets, ensuring the purchaser’s confidence in the process.
4. Take advantage of the platform
Smartphones and tablets are incredibly powerful multifunction devices, so it makes sense for your mobile-optimized site to take advantage of those functions as much as possible.
Make use of maps and more. Along the same lines as the phone app, tablet (and smartphone) users shouldn’t have to copy your address into the map app; take advantage of the device’s map capabilities on your “location” page. You can also take advantage of calendar, e-mail and camera app integration where applicable.
5. Make your mobile site social-ready
Transform your visitors into brand ambassadors through social sharing features. 55 per cent of travelers “like” Facebook pages specific to their vacation, with 70 per cent updating their Facebook status while on vacation (Techie Traveler).
Word-of-mouth remains as important as ever in the travel sector, and social media allows that word to travel farther and faster than ever before. Adding Twitter, Facebook and “share-by-email” buttons to your mobile site is an easy way to encourage visitors to share their travel plans and to build digital word-of-mouth for your property.
6. Display redeemable special offers
Everyone loves a good deal – and mobile shoppers are no different. . The number of smartphone mobile coupon users in the U.S. is expected to rise from 58.1 million users in 2014 to 74.1 million in 2015 with tablet coupon users expected to increase from 60.5 to 68.7 million.
Promote value-added special offers on smartphones and tablets that grabs consumer interest and attention, and encourages booking.
- Feature promotions that add value such as free parking, complimentary breakfast, bonus loyalty points or happy hour specials at your restaurant as well as special offers for tickets to local attractions and upcoming events.
- Draw attention to your offers by making them easy to find and to click through from your main navigation.
- Enhance the way your offers are displayed by using large and relevant visuals.
Mobile internet usage is increasing faster than all previous technologies, including radio, TV, PC and social media. This phenomenon gives hotel marketers a staggering opportunity to engage with guest and potential customers though mobile communications in an unprecedented way.
Use these 6 tips to help maximize your hotel’s presence to hotel shoppers “on the go.” Mobile is the new normal.