In 2014, mobile devices took over traditional desktop computers as the primary means of accessing the internet. According to eMarketer, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion in 2016, and will come close to hitting that mark this year. For hoteliers this means that travelers and prospective guests are increasingly researching and booking their next travel or accommodation destination on a tablet, laptop or smartphone.
The rapid growth in mobile connected devices has also meant that screen sizes and resolutions are no longer as uniform as the once were. As a result, the traditional approach of having both a desktop and mobile version of your website is no longer an effective solution for your hotel – there are simply too many variations to account for.
What is Responsive Website Design?
A Responsive Website Design is a single website which is built in a particular way to adapt “responsively” its look and feel, providing users with the best viewing experience for their device – be it a smartphone, tablet, laptop or even smart TV – it literally adjusts the page format to suit the device (visit www.pieronesydneyharbour.com.au on a desktop, then on a tablet, and then on your smartphone – experience intelligent responsive design and a website with intelligence).
Here are our top 7 reasons your hotel should be considering a Responsive Website Design.
1. Reach Potential Customers Anytime, Anywhere
Web browsing habits are changing, particularly in the travel space. Your prospective guests will likely access your website from multiple devices before they make the decision to book – whether it’s from their PC in the office, from their iPhone on the bus or their tablet on couch whilst watching TV – and often all of the above. A Responsive Web Design ensures you will be able to engage with your prospective guests anywhere and anytime whilst delivering a consistent user experience and brand message.
2. Improve Search Engine Visibility
We all know how important Search Engine visibility is when it comes to attracting and converting hotel guests online. You may also know that, given a choice, Google will generally rank a website with mobile design higher for searches made from mobile device. What you may not know is that Google specifically recommends Responsive Website Design as best practice in improving website visibility across devices – that’s a pretty big clue as to where they see the web is heading.
As a single website a Responsive Design also has other advantages for your Search Engine Optimization activity. First, one website means only one set of links to manage. No longer will your link outreach activities be diluted by spreading links between a mobile and desktop version of you website. Second, you no longer have to deal with duplicate content issues – all your content resides in a single website. These added benefits will mean you have more time to dedicate to value-add content activities that will further increase your Search Engine visibility.
3. Increase Sales & Conversions
Whilst your prospective guests may be happy to search for accommodation on a mobile device the majority will still be more comfortable undertaking the booking process via a desktop or laptop computer. Providing a consistent user experience across devices has been shown to significantly improve conversion rates for multi-channel website users.
4. Improve Customer Experience
With a Responsive Design your website is more than just a place for guests to book their stay. For many it has the potential to serve as a ‘pocket concierge’ – an easily accessible reference of places, activities, events, maps and services for the duration of their stay. In addition to enhancing your guests’ stay this content is extremely attractive to search engines and has the potential to bring in guests in the local area who are looking to grab a drink or a bite to eat.
5. Save Time & Money
It’s true that upfront costs to develop a Responsive Website Design may be more expensive than a traditional desktop and mobile website combination but there are significant time and cost savings to be had over the life of the website.
First, one website means content only needs to be updated once, your marketing team will no longer spend copious time duplicating work across mobile and desktop websites.
Second, with the traditional approach, every time a new screen size or resolution comes along you will be required to develop a new template to fit that format. With a responsive design that problem never arises, the site simple adjusts to the screen it is presented with. With a responsive design you are effectively future proofing your website – an attractive option with devices like Google Glass, the iWatch and who knows what else on the horizon.
6. Mobile-Friendliness is Now a Ranking Factor
In April 2015, Google announced that mobile-friendliness is a ranking signal for search. If your website is not optimized for mobile, this could be hurting your search engine rankings.
7. Get the Jump on Your Competition
According to TechCrunch, just over half (52 percent) of Fortune 500 operated mobile-friendly websites ahead of Google’s update. Your hotel has the opportunity to gain a significant edge over the competition by having a Responsive Website Design.
I’m Convinced, Where to From Here?
If you are ready to be ahead of the curve, then now is the time to act… Contact Us for a preliminary chat!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.