How mobile ready is your hotel? Today, more than ever before, it’s essential to be plugged into all the digital channels. As direct bookings fall and OTA’s take the market share in the hospitality industry, we ask if hotels themselves are doing enough online to make their properties directly visible.
Get a responsive website for your hotel
What does responsive mean? Responsive means your website has two faces. One for looking at on your computer, and another for viewing on mobile devices. If your website is more than five years old, chances are, your mobile version needs some spit and polish. Or, your mobile version might not exist at all. If this is the case, your property will be missing out on online bookings. A brief check of your Google Analytics will show that the bounce rate on your website will be significantly higher than a similar website with a good mobile site. That’s because looking at a non-responsive website online is the technical equivalent of watching your favourite show on a cathode ray TV. The view is poor, the text is too small. The tabs are unreadable and too small to click on. And so, mobile users instantly ‘bounce’ away.
However, a mobile ready website is geared up to guide potential hotel guests through the booking process. Easily accessed buttons, good galleries and an attractive layout means more viewers stick around and investigate what your site has to offer, rather than instantly clicking back to the search engine.
Get a good developer for your website
A good developer will ensure that your site is as comprehensive on a big screen as it is on a mobile device. They will also make sure your mobile website is fast. Speed of page load is one of those aspects that can make or break the impact of your online presence. Search engines know users’ favour faster websites. So, search engines also give preference to websites that load quickly. The general rule of thumb is a site must load between 0 and 1.5 seconds to be favoured by giants like Google. You want the search engines to love your site – so make sure your website is fast, both for mobile and PC viewing.
Mobile users are your biggest audience
Research shows that over 51% of bookings for hotels are now carried out on mobile devices. Handheld smartphones and tablets are bigger, better and faster than before. It makes sense that a mobile device has therefore outstripped the popularity of home or office computers. While many users still prefer to make financial transactions from the comfort of their home or office, many more are booking hotel rooms and holidays while they are on the move. Powerful OTAs such as Booking.com and Trivago, have spent millions on their web presence. Their booking engines are not only top of the search engines, but they are also super easy to navigate and secure too. It’s important that smaller concerns follow this lead when setting up a mobile ready website for a hotel property.
You’ll get more online reviews
A mobile ready website that’s connected well to major review sites such as Trip Advisor, Yelp and the like, will result in your business getting better ratings and reviews from sources that matter. While OTAs have a marked edge on selling hotel rooms at rock bottom prices, customers are still as discerning as they ever were, and will only part ways with their hard-earned cash if the hotel has good reviews online and can be easily checked out via its own website portal. Better online reviews lead to more direct website visits. If your hotel has a good website that’s easy to book through, the more visitors you receive, the more bookings you’ll get.