If there was any doubt that 2015 would be the year of mobile commerce in hospitality, banish the thought. Starting April 21st, Google’s mobile algorithm will be updated to factor in mobile-friendliness when ranking search results. In other words, if your hotel does not have a mobile-friendly website, it will soon directly impact your mobile search engine rankings.
Those rankings matter, especially considering travelers use smartphones throughout the travel process, and especially during the inspiration and research phases of booking. And, considering that mobile commerce is on track to account for 26% of US retail eCommerce by 2017, up from 19% in 2014, it’s a logical step for Google to optimize website searches on mobile to show mobile-friendly results. If hotels are going to continue to facilitate direct bookings, is now a necessity for hotels to beef up their mobile offerings.
It is now officially time to go mobile. Here are three tips, ranging in expertise from beginner to ninja-level, to help get you started.
1. Your Hotel Needs a Mobile Responsive Website
Per Google, a mobile-friendly site is now the bare minimum needed to make the cut. Desktop versions of websites that require guests or prospective guests to zoom and scroll to find the needed info should now be relics of the past. Since customers often discover your website via mobile search to begin with, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that your hotel not only ranks well on search, but that your website facilitates booking from a mobile device.
2. Your Hotel May Benefit from a Dedicated Mobile App
While a dedicated mobile app isn’t for every hotel, it’s a good investment for big brands, hotels with a large volume of repeat customers, or hotels who want to take their guest communications to the next level. Mobile apps can be an integral part of your marketing strategy, allowing you to push notifications to customers, promote mobile-only offers, and analyze guest behavior and preferences to deliver a more personalized experience.
3. Take Your Hotel to the Next Level with an Optimized Mobile App
Shoppers who use apps prefer the in-app experience because of the convenience and speed factors. Don’t take away the biggest benefits of mobile shopping by releasing a buggy, counterintuitive hotel app. Your most loyal guests and biggest spenders are the most likely of all of your customer base to download and use a mobile app. Wouldn’t you like to serve them best, on their preferred platform?