Because mobile is undoubtedly here to stay, hoteliers are investing more than ever before into mobile sites or apps for their properties. It may still be difficult for some to see the value of a mobile site for a hotel. They might think that as long as they have a regular website, it can still be opened on a smartphone, and that is enough. The truth is, the way someone wants to interact with a hotel’s website on a phone is different than how that person would interact with the site on a desktop. The number of mobile users is constantly growing and hotels cannot afford to ignore this market. There was a time, many years ago, when hotels didn’t think they needed a regular website. Ultimately, they adapted. If hotels apply this same logic to a mobile site, then they need to get one, and soon. So what components should be included on a hotel’s mobile site? There are a few key elements to keep in mind.
Easy navigationA mobile site should have different navigation than a regular website. The buttons should be made for fingers maneuvering a small screen, as opposed to a mouse on a computer screen. In effect, this means text and links are often larger on mobile. The tabs on the navigation might be different because some information on the regular website might not be necessary for someone on-the-go. Keep in mind that when it comes to mobile, less is more!
Unique contentThe best mobile sites have content that is different from their regular websites. This not only assists with how Google indexes the mobile site but it will make users happy because the pages will be written for them directly. An ideal page of content on a mobile site has around 200 words or less of text and includes relevant details for those on-the-go.
Easy bookingWith an ever-growing number of people using mobile to research and book travel, it is essential to have a mobile-optimized reservation system. Missing out on a conversion simply because a mobile site has no way to book a room could be detrimental. At the very minimum, there should be a link to the booking engine provider directly on the site.
Social integrationThere are endless possibilities for integrating social media with a mobile site. There are a lot of interactive capabilities as well. With new geolocation technologies emerging all the time, offering guests specials or deals when they check in somewhere or are near the property is a great way to entice guests. People may be more encouraged to share their experiences at hotels with their social networks if the hotels themselves are involved in social media as well.
Optimized imagesWhile this may not be a critical component for a mobile site, including mobile-optimized photos is of course never a bad thing for a hotel to include on its website. Professional photography needs to be invested in at some point, sooner rather than later. Many mobile users are interested in a hotel’s images and not incorporating any photos can definitely turn off a potential guest to your property.