As hoteliers, how often do you seriously consider the path guests take to find your hotel online? Is it an easy path for them? One that quickly allows them to find what they need and ultimately book their stay? Does it differ depending on which devices they prefer?
Well if you haven’t considered this process, now is the time to do so. This month Google announced that they are changing how Google Search will function. Quite simply, in the world of ’Just Google it’, preference will soon be given to the mobile experience over the desktop one.
So what does this mean? Right now Google ranks websites based on how your websites look on desktop and laptop computers, and then they rank your mobile websites. As more users begin using mobile devices over traditional desktops to do online searches, the major search engine is now going to make mobile websites its primary focus for ranking.
For hoteliers big and small, why should we care? Well an article by eMarketer shows that over 52% of hotel reservations are being made on mobile websites in the year 2016, up nearly 44% just from this time last year! That means over half of your guests are booking their stays in your hotels on their phones and tablets instead of on a desktop or laptop computer. The simplicity and accessibility that mobile booking provides to travelers will only make these numbers increase faster and faster. So what should we do?
Here are a few helpful hints to be sure your mobile website is the best that it can be. How visually appealing and user friendly is your site when viewed on a smartphone? The easier it is to navigate for your guests, the higher you will rank! Hoteliers need to ensure that your mobile sites are free of broken links or unwieldy images that don’t properly translate from the desktop to mobile. The next thing to do is to make sure that your mobile and desktop pages are as similar as possible. Social Energizer uses only responsive design so that our mobile and desktop sites are the same by default. We “turn off” or substitute any images that do not display well on your mobile site to help keep your rating high and user experience at it’s optimum.
With Google switching the way that webpages are ranked, mobile websites need to be as similar to the desktop sites as possible to keep your rank high. Remember that Google likes links! Your desktop website should have links between your pages and links outside of your website to build credibility, and the same principle must occur on the mobile website!
At the end of the day the most important take away from the announcement made by Google is that hotel guests are using mobile devices to view and book at your hotels, they aren’t using computers like they were five or six years ago. Mobile websites are the new desktop websites, make sure your mobile website is navigable and easy to use, you never know, you might see an increase of heads in beds!
Information in this post was obtained by eMarketer, a credible ecommerce resource.