Many travel consumers have migrated to mobile to make hotel bookings. It’s fast, easy, and they can do it on the go. At least they can if the hotel’s website is designed for it.
If the design isn’t there, your guests are in trouble and so are you. Your website needs to run as smoothly as your front desk, including on mobile.
With so many customers booking online, your website is your front desk. Here’s how to make it intuitive and mobile-friendly to capture more bookings and revenue.
Why You Should Care
Everyone really is glued to their phones. Half of web traffic comes from mobile users and that trend is only growing. By 2025, three quarters of web users around the world will only reach the internet via their phones.
Customers scope out hotels and plan travel online in advance, and 70% do that research on their smartphone. However, while they may use the internet to research a booking, they don’t always make the booking. Eighty-five percent of customers abandon their carts while travel-shopping online, and the rate is even higher when they use a mobile device at 91%.
Some of this is out of your control. You can’t prevent your potential guest from being distracted by their boss (or their cat).
But some of it is in your control. Don’t make your guest look elsewhere because of cramped text and miniscule buttons. Make sure your property’s website is easy to use on a mobile device. Here’s how.
Responsive design means having a website that automatically senses the user’s device, i.e., phone, tablet, or desktop, and changes its formatting accordingly. This makes a better visual experience for your guest and helps retain visitors that come to your site via social media, which is usually accessed through mobile devices.
Having one responsive website for desktop and mobile makes more sense than two separate sites. You don’t want to make two sets of updates whenever anything changes—it’s more work, and things will slip through the cracks.
Don’t Pare Down
If you start with a website designed for desktop and pare down, your guests may be disappointed. You could end up with something that’s fun and exciting on a computer monitor but too complicated to translate well to mobile.
Instead, begin with a simple design where you focus on the most important information—like your unique selling proposition. Once you have your mobile version figured out, then you can add in the bells and whistles for desktop.
This is called the “progressive enhancement” approach and results in a polished, user-friendly mobile experience.
White space is your friend (and it doesn’t have to be white). The more white space you have, the easier your site is to read. Fonts should be easy on the eye as well. Try helvetica or quicksand. (Yes, quicksand is a font, not just an obstacle in Indiana Jones movies.)
Put the most important information—like your “book now” button—at the top. Don’t make your guests scroll to find it. Scrolling should be a progression, not a scavenger hunt. It shouldn’t take your guests more than a single click (or tap) to find your calls to action either. The harder you make them work, the more likely they are to give up.
Simplicity is key. Mobile is smaller than a desktop, which makes it easier for visual information to get cluttered.
Online Booking Engine
Your online booking engine needs to be mobile friendly. Not having a mobile-friendly booking engine would be like a perfectly polished, immaculate front desk without a clerk to take reservations. It doesn’t matter how compelling your call to action is if your guests can’t carry it out.
Like the rest of your site, the online booking process should not be complicated. Customers should be able to finish their booking within two or three steps. This isn’t the twelve labors of Hercules. Don’t force users to provide information you don’t absolutely need. You can gather more data via confirmation and pre-arrival emails. This is about getting your guest’s foot in the door.
That “door” should come with a secure https connection, SSL encryption, and PCI-compliant payment gateway integration. You don’t want guests thinking that any passing marauder can steal their credit card information.
Make sure you’re making the most of your website booking engine’s features to drive conversions, like room photo slideshows and booking personalization options. The WebRezPro online booking engine offers customization to fit your brand and is fully integrated with the property management system (PMS). Rates and availability are automatically updated online from your PMS and reservations coming through your website are automatically entered into your PMS—so you don’t have to input data twice. This also prevents overbooking.
Last but not least, we recommend instant booking confirmations—it’s good practice to reassure guests their booking went through and ensure booking details are correct.
Make it Snappy
Three seconds is too long. Really. Approximately half of all visitors will jump ship if a page takes more than three seconds to load. It also damages your SEO. To increase your page speed, try compressing your images.
You’re not only marketing your website to guests; you’re marketing it to Google algorithms as well. Search engine optimization (SEO) is how you make your site rank higher in online search engine results, so more people see it. It includes site organization/navigation, keywords, and links.
Having a mobile-friendly website raises your SEO ranking and makes it likelier people will click on it.
Don’t stuff keywords into your website text like sardines. Keyword stuffing uses up your limited space, sounds unnatural, and search engines will penalize you for the poor user experience. It’s also poor writing.
Put your contact information on every page. Most people know to look for it in the header or the footer. If you put it in the header, the visitor won’t have to scroll.
We all want things to be easy. Travel consumers migrate to mobile because it’s much less effort than lugging around their computer (can’t really blame ‘em there). Ask yourself at every stage of your mobile web design if what you’re doing makes things easier or harder.
Do you know what you want but aren’t sure how to reach your goal? Contact us at World Web Technologies for a free, no-obligation web design quote. We’ve created hundreds of successful mobile-friendly hotel websites, and we’ll get you to that goal.