May 30, 2017
Why Responsive Design is Essential for Travel Websites
There's no denying it any longer; the World Wide Web has gone mobile. With mobile search queries
surpassing desktop search back in 2015, the world actually went mobile some time ago.
The advent of the mobile web has brought about a huge shift in both consumer behavior and SEO. If
your website doesn't perform well across devices (from desktops to tablets to smartphones) and
operating systems, it's weakening your online presence and inhibiting your sales potential.
The heart of your digital marketing strategy, your hotel or tour/activity website is an investment you
want to get right. Today, that means more than a visually beautiful site. It means a website that offers
high-quality content and a high-quality user experience - on all devices. Today, a mobile-friendly
website is no longer an option, it's a necessity.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design is the practice of designing a single website that offers an optimal user experience across all devices, from desktop computers through to smartphones.
A responsive website features coding that enables it to automatically detect the device it is being viewed on, and adjust layout, content and menus, etc. accordingly for a streamlined user experience on that device. Basically, with just one site, you have all devices covered.
For businesses in the travel industry, a responsive website is key to online success.
Why is Responsive Web Design So Important for Travel Websites?
More travelers are planning trips on mobile.
Travel consumers are turning to their smartphones during all stages of the trip-planning process, from dreaming to booking. Recent Google research found that 94 percent of leisure travelers switch between devices as they plan a trip. When it comes to planning trip activities, 85 percent of leisure travelers decide on activities only after arriving at their destination, where they are most likely to use their mobile devices to do so.
A responsive website will make sure you are there for potential customers at all stages of their trip planning journey by providing a consistent, user-friendly online experience, no matter the device they use.
Consumers are increasingly confident buying on mobile.
While more people still prefer to complete an actual travel booking on desktop, consumer confidence in mobile bookings is increasing, with 31 percent of leisure travelers and 53 percent of business travelers saying they've booked travel on a smartphone (Google).
However, nearly half (46 percent) of travelers with smartphones say they make their decision on mobile but switch to desktop to book. Why is this happening? According to Google, 54 percent of leisure travelers and 69 percent of business travelers say that mobile limitations or mobile usability are their main reasons for not booking on mobile.
As mobile website experiences improve within the travel industry, mobile bookings will only continue to rise. A responsive website design with a mobile-friendly booking engine is a must to capture those bookings.
Responsive design provides a better user experience.
Pinching and zooming and side scrolling a webpage that doesn't fit on your mobile screen is far from a positive user experience, in fact it can be a downright maddening one that sends your customers straight to your competition.
Responsive design always makes the best use of screen real estate, ensuring your site looks great and offers an optimal user experience on any device. From page width to navigation to images and font, a responsive website automatically adapts design elements to the screen size, guaranteeing a consistently high-quality experience across devices that reduces bounce rates and boosts conversions.
Social media is mobile.
Key to improving brand awareness and building customer relationships, social media has been integrated into most travel businesses' digital marketing strategies. Working hand in hand with your other marketing channels, including your website, social media is a portal to your brand, driving traffic to your website through integrated campaigns and sharing content from your site.
Now that 80 percent of social media consumption happens on mobile, your social media channels are driving a significant chunk of mobile traffic to your site. A responsive website will help you make the most of it.
Search engines like responsive websites.
Now that more online searches are done via mobile devices than desktop computers, major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo have greatly increased the weight of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for mobile search results, in line with their goal to provide users with the best user experience.
In fact, Google recommends responsive design because, unlike a separate mobile site, it uses the same URL and content source regardless of the user's device, making it easier to manage and maintain content (more on that below).
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), responsive website design is a best practice.
A single responsive site is easier (and cheaper) to manage.
Keeping your website current is important for businesses in the travel industry. From special packages and seasonal information to images, videos and blog posts, content should be updated frequently to enhance credibility and relevance. Keeping up with maintenance tasks like site backups, plugin updates, security features, database optimization and analytics reporting is also essential for maintaining the integrity and performance of your website.
If running separate desktop and mobile versions of your website, you need to manage the content, maintenance and marketing of multiple sites, which is a time-consuming, costly and error-prone process.
But with just one website to manage, responsive web design offers a much more efficient and cost-effective option. Regardless of the device customers are using, a single responsive website always serves up the best layout and the most relevant content.
Responsive web design ensures all your customers receive a consistent, high-quality experience on your website across all devices and operating systems. With mobile use so prevalent today (and only set to increase), a responsive website is an essential part of your digital marketing strategy right now, and in the future when new mobile devices surface.
Need help creating your responsive website? Check out our mobile-friendly website design tips or contact our designers.