Why a mobile optimised site should be your immediate priority?
According to recent reports, India will have 651 million smartphones and 18.7 million tablets by 2019. India is also set to overtake the United States in internet usage. There is an unprecedented growth in internet adoption across the country as subscriber count is expected to touch 462 million by June 2017. As per Google, this spike in internet usage is caused by smartphone adoption across the country. It is estimated that over 300 million people in India will access the internet through their smart phones.
Mobile is driving 60% of all shopping related and over 50% of all online travel related queries states a Google study. The m-commerce industry of India is buzzing. Analysts predict that it will touch $19 billion by 2019. Clearly, Indians are shedding their inhibitions on transacting using mobile devices.
But how prepared are hoteliers to leverage this emerging trend to improve their direct booking revenues?
First, a huge segment of hoteliers do not have an online presence. And of those who have a website, many of them are not optimised for the mobile. This means travellers who are browsing a non-responsive website on a smartphone will have a very dismal user experience, prompting him to drop-out of the session. There is a potential loss of revenue that hoteliers are facing from a non-optimised website. A poor user experience can cause the person to create a negative image of the brand in his mind.
Hoteliers can spend a good amount of money on developing an absolutely engaging desktop site, but if the website is not optimised for hand-held devices the ROI will be very low.
Most people travel with a minimum of 2 – 3 electronic devices and their search to booking journey may be spread across their devices. This makes it extremely important to offer the same experience of the brand available across all devices. The ability to track the customer’s journey at each phase of the booking process across various devices needs to be a seamless flow.
Myth: Independent or budget hotels don’t need a responsive website.
A common belief among small and mid-scale hoteliers is that a mobile-optimised website is only needed by bigger brands and larger hotels. However as per Google there is a 42% year-on-year growth in online searches for ‘budget hotels’ across devices. Other studies also highlight that mini metros and tier 2 cities in India exhibit the same calibre as larger metros with regard to mobile app download and online browsing through smartphones. According to a research by Forrester, half of online shoppers in tier 3 and one-third of online shoppers from tier 2 cities leverage mobile phones for their transactions.
Hence all hotels, irrespective of their size should look at offering a seamless user experience across devices (desktop, smartphone and tablets) to drive profitable direct bookings.
Here’s 5 top points that you must keep in mind when developing a responsive website:
- Keep navigation simple and ensure you test the website across different screen sizes and platforms
- Ensure the CTA is prominent and easily clickable with fingertip
- Content needs to be customised as per the device. While mobile may show minimum information with quick call to actions, the website can be programmed to show more information when browsed through a tablet
- While visual appeal is a top priority, optimise image size to allow consumers a faster browsing experience
- Pay attention to font size and constancy in look and feel of the design across all devices