Getting Friendly with Mobile: Optimizing the Website Experience for your Customer
This past year, Google announced that there are now more searches on mobile devices than desktop computers, ushering us into an officially mobile-oriented world. Whether you’re developing your hotel website or launching a new website, optimizing the content and layout of your site for today’s mobile travel shoppers is key.
Having a mobile optimized website for use across devices is critical to driving purchase intent. Whether it is a mobile optimized website, which means that it is specifically designed for use on a mobile device, a mobile responsive version of the website, which means that the content is designed to be reconfigured on a mobile device, or an adaptive designed website, which means that the website is designed uniquely for a mobile device vs. a desktop experience – hoteliers must ensure that their website platform is able to meet the needs of their customers.
According to Google’s Mobile Search Moments study, 77% of mobile searches take place at home or at work, places where people also have a PC available to them.
Today’s consumers aren’t just using their smartphones on the go, they’re choosing mobile over their computers and laptops while browsing the web at home. More significant to hoteliers, is that consumers are continuing their mobile browsing while in-destination now more than ever before.
Without a mobile-optimized hotel website, travel shoppers won’t be able to access your content during key moments of the buying cycle, which now include while they are on site in the hotel. This becomes another opportunity to connect with your customer, provide additional services and continue to engage while they are at your property.
It becomes less a question of can travel shoppers access your website on their mobile devices, and more a question of what devices they are using most, how that impacts their experience, their path to booking, and now their in destination experience.
Consider your customer when you are building your hotel website and ensure that the mobile version of the website delivers the right experience.
Consider this example of a mobile responsive website by DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Airport. This responsive website theme looks the same on both smartphone and desktop, but the layout has been adjusted to fit screen size.
As there isn’t a standard size for desktop, mobile, and tablet screens, a responsive design allows you to create graphics that stretch edge to edge, no matter what a device’s dimensions are.
Responsive websites give travel shoppers a cohesive experience on every screen, making full use of that particular device’s capabilities, but ultimately delivering the same appearance.
Although a responsive website will display images in their native form, a website not designed specifically for the mobile experience may be more complicated to navigate for someone browsing on a smartphone or tablet.
Mobile Adaptive Website
Consider that mobile browsing behavior is typically much different than browsing on a tablet or desktop. Often mobile browsing is more purposeful, with people looking to find specific information like a phone number or directions. Making information easy to get to is important for mobile users, and sometimes a responsive design does not create the same experience as a mobile adapted designed website.
While a responsive site looks virtually the same across all screens, a mobile adaptive site delivers separate content to browsers based on their device. It is easy to scroll through and organized with information specific to a consumer that has intent. They are looking for rates, a phone number or directions.
In order for travel shoppers to click through your content on smaller screens quickly and efficiently, navigation buttons become larger, content is reformatted, and images are optimized differently.
As an example, the Hotel Josef offers its guests a mobile adaptive hotel website. It has a similar look to the desktop version, but with larger navigation buttons and more succinctly organized content that is ideal for mobile browsing.
Creating a mobile adaptive website means that you are creating a separate website for mobile browsers. A mobile adaptive website is usually created using a subdomain, meaning the URL looks something like: m.examplehotel.com. By taking users to a separate website, you are able to customize their mobile experience and deliver the right content quickly.
More Reasons to Get Friendly with Mobile
In addition to consumer usability, Google’s algorithms recognize websites that provide mobile-friendly versions, and will favor these sites in search. Essentially, having a mobile-friendly website can improve your hotel website SEO.
When building the hotel website, consider what devices your customers are using most often to browse your website. Look at Google Analytics and determine “Device Usage” to give you direction as to how important the mobile experience is to your guests. Ensure that your web developer or platform of choice has the solution that is right for your property.
To learn more about optimizing your website for mobile and tablet, check out Vizlly, our mobile website solution.