Travelers everywhere expect their online experiences to be as frictionless on mobile as they are on desktop. However, the online travel and hospitality industries stand out for often failing to meet that expectation. That’s pretty shocking when you consider approximately 6.6 billion of us in the world own a smartphone.
How can you ensure your property is optimized for today’s mobile-connected travelers at every stage of their online booking journey?
We take a step-by-step look and offer practical tips on how to optimize your property’s website, booking process, and guest experience for the ultimate mobile customer journey.
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Have a mobile-friendly website for the search stage
A study by Google showed that 87% of the “digital moments” related to planning a holiday occur on a mobile device. The first step to reach travelers at this stage is to ensure that your website works like clockwork. The key aspects to focus on are speed, ease of use, and compelling content.
Your website should be lightweight enough to load quickly in three seconds even over slower mobile connections. One practical tip to achieve this is to make sure the dimensions of images of your property are no bigger than how they’re displayed on your website. Also ensure that files are properly compressed for optimal quality and size.
Remember that mobile visitors are navigating your hotel website on a small screen with just their fingers. An easy-to-use website is one with large, finger-friendly click targets, such as buttons, links, and form fields. Additionally, make often-accessed information, such as your telephone number and address, as easy to find on the mobile version as possible.
Finally, make sure your mobile website showcases your property with stunning images, glowing reviews and recommendations, as well as detailed descriptions of your amenities and special promotions.
Appeal to last-minute hotel bookers
Travelers who book with a mobile device are more likely to be last-minute bookers compared to those on desktop. Data from Criteo shows that the shorter the time between book and stay, the more likely guests will reserve a room on their smartphone. In fact, more than 70% of same-day hotel bookings occur that way.
Take advantage of that by using your hotel’s mobile website to target last-minute bookers with attractive deals that are too good to pass up.
Have a mobile-optimized booking engine
To fully benefit from travelers’ direct bookings, your website needs a mobile-optimized booking engine. Since mobile devices account for 53% of hotel website traffic, you want to offer a streamlined booking process. It has to be fast and simple, as well as reduce the hassle of entering data (a frequent pain-point on mobile devices). A smart booking engine can tick those boxes.
Increase direct mobile bookings via metasearch
Metasearch is another option for you to guarantee a seamless, mobile-booking experience for travelers. Thanks to a mobile-friendly ability to compare multiple deals on one site or within an app, metasearch sites have higher rates of mobile traffic. That can certainly help increase the chances of your property winning direct mobile bookings, too. Let’s see how that works.
trivago’s Rate Connect, for example, enables you to actively promote your website rates on your trivago profile. As soon as your potential guests click on those rates—the more irresistible they are, the better—trivago will redirect them straight to your website. What’s more, guests’ first-party data with each direct booking is yours to keep. That’ll enable you to start building the guest relationship leading up to check-in, as well as continue nurturing it after their stay.
Promote your official direct rates to boost bookings.
Enable your guests to “unlock” their stay
Take the next leap to accommodate smartphone-loving guests by offering a customized hotel mobile app. It can enable them to check-in, use their mobile phone as a room key, as well as control lighting and room temperature.
Even properties without the resources to provide their own app can still appeal to mobile-reliant guests. Free high-speed Wi-Fi to keep them connected, along with plenty of charging ports and power outlets, will certainly score high points. Additionally, give guests more options at check-out by offering mobile payment services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Now it’s time to put your website’s performance to the test. Use your smartphone to go through the booking experience as if you were a potential guest. Are you going to book or bounce?
Featured image by BullRun on Adobe Stock