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How to ensure your website is mobile-ready

By Emily Tippins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mobile phone

Being mobile-ready means providing the best possible online customer experience, says Emily Tippins
Being mobile-ready means providing the best possible online customer experience, says Emily Tippins
What it means to be mobile-ready as a hospitality business is changing. It’s no longer simply making sure your website works on mobile phones. It’s about providing the best possible online customer experience. Here, Emily Tippins, head of Digital Strategy at Journey and editor of Well Travelled, explains the key aspects of a successful mobile web strategy.

Today, your guests are all ‘mobile’. But this isn’t about what phone they use - it’s about how they are continuously connected. They can access information and book from anywhere in the world, at any time. And they do this constantly, as they are travelling, eating, shopping... all the time.

The reason mobiles are so popular is because we can take them with us. And when I say mobiles, I mean smartphones, tablets, laptops (yes, laptops) and even games consoles. They are convenient, powered up in an instant, and they are always with us. Always mobile.

As a result, the way your customers use the internet is changing and that has a huge effect on how hotels and restaurants need to adapt their web strategy. You can no longer assume that your guests will use their desktop computer or pick up the phone in order to book a table or a room.

So, with this in mind, how do you successfully manage your web presence to ensure your guests can access all the information they need, when they need it, regardless of device?

Speedy websites perform better

Today if your website doesn’t load within 1.4 seconds, guests will go elsewhere. This is particularly true when it comes to mobiles. So, if your booking engine takes a few seconds to load on smaller devices, you will be losing business.

As a generation of internet users, your guests are impatient. They won’t wait for your website to load or for you to pick up the phone, they will simply find somewhere else.

To check the speed of your website, go to Google Analytics and click on Behavior > Site speed > Overview. Alternatively, ask your web developer or agency to check.

Responsive design will future-proof your investment

This year is going to be the year that sees mobile traffic surpass desktop traffic on the web. That means more people booking rooms on their mobiles than their desktop computers.

Responsive and adaptive website design are methods of building sites to perform elegantly on multiple screen sizes, browsers and devices. If your website isn’t responsive, speak to your web developer or digital agency about it. You’ll improve customer experience and pick up more online bookings by investing in these technologies.

To book or not to book?

The booking page is the most important part of your website as it’s the one that drives direct sales. Yet many hospitality websites still fall down on the booking experience on mobiles.

A good booking engine will support responsive web design, and if yours doesn’t then consider upgrading to one that does. Work closely with your provider to check what can be done to improve your current system before switching. You might find that it’s a simple code change that can be sorted fairly quickly.

Mobile users aren’t always in a hurry

It’s a mistake to assume that mobile users only want quick, snackable information like phone numbers and contact forms. They want to research, view tariffs, book rooms and check availability. And they will do all this on whatever device is closest to them, regardless of screen size.

So, don’t force your guests onto a desktop in order to see all the information they need to make a decision.

Be ready for the future

The internet changes so rapidly that as hospitality professionals, we need to be nimble enough to think ahead and be ready for whatever the future brings. Finding a digital agency to partner with will help you provide the best online customer experience for your guests.

In two years, your guests will probably all be accessing information through wearable technology. So the question isn’t are you mobile-ready… but are you future-ready? 

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