5 reasons to invest in mobile websites
Why invest in a mobile hotel website?
We wrote a guest post for tnooz exploring this topic from an industry perspective. Below is the GuestCentric perspective on the Top 5 reasons why hotel managers should invest in a mobile hotel website
With all the buzz surrounding mobile usage for travel, many hoteliers are wondering whether to adopt mobile as a component of their online strategy. At GuestCentric, we introduced mobile hotel websites on May 23, 2011.
Our customer base responded immediately, and a large amount of our customers signed up within 72 hours of the new feature being available online. While our introductory offer surely helped (we offered mobile free until 31st May 2012 for customers that signed up by June 30, 2011), we were quite surprised by the level of interest it generated and the “flash sales” characteristic of it. Hence, we set out to understand why hotel managers had such a great appetite for mobile hotel website solutions.
Top 5 reasons for hotel mobile websites
After quite a few interviews and over 300 mobile websites and booking engines deployed, these are the top 5 reasons we see for the rapid adoption of mobile hotel websites, among all hotels:
- 19% of all hotel queries are mobile. Since November 2010 we noticed tremendous growth of mobile traffic. In April 2011, mobile hotel website visits represented already close to 5% of total traffic at most of our customers. Some were as high as 8%. A blog post from Google on May 11, 2011 named Mobile Insights: 19% of hotel queries come from mobile devices highlights the need to deliver a mobile experience to mobile users.
- Mobile traffic is growing exponentially month-by-month. Across GuestCentric’s user base, mobile devices like smartphones and iPads represent already 3% to 8% of visitors, and traffic is growing exponentially every month.The US is more advanced than the rest of the World. In our customer base, mobile visits in US hotels are close to 2:1 more important than in the rest of the World. Clearly the adoption of smartphones and flat rate data plans has been helping. The rest of the World still has to struggle with roaming charges.
- 3% of mobile visitors engage the hotel. In the last three weeks since we deployed the solution, we can already see that hotel mobile websites generate an immediate return. A staggering 3% of all mobile visitors engaged with the hotel in some way: many called the hotel or got directions to the hotel via Google Maps.
- 1% of mobile visitors book. While mobile booking is still fairly new, especially for independent hotels, 1% of all mobile visitors actually booked a hotel reservation consistently across our customer base. Most hotels that deployed a hotel website solution got a reservation within the first few days of deployment. So, return for a mobile solution is instant.
- Mobile can be done in one tap. With the introduction of GuestCentric’s mobile solution, there is no extra effort involved. Your website content (text, photos, video) is optimized for mobile delivery and mobile users can still experience your property’s look and feel, your rooms, and the experience in a big, bold way. All it takes is clicking one button to publish your mobile website.
“It took me one minute to get the upgrade request in, and once I republished my website I got my first mobile reservation the very next day!”, said Kristi Steiert at the Pony Express in Jackson Hole, WY.
In addition, our quick study indicates that:
- About 75% of mobile users that show an intention to book, actually end up not entering the personal and payment information. This is a natural obstacle that time and adoption of secure techniques like displaying security seals in mobile applications will overcome. So, hotel mobile bookings are going to grow exponentially, and we can expect booking rates significantly higher than 1%.
So, if one out of 5 searches for hotels are from mobile, shouldn’t you be one of the early adopters of a mobile-optimized experience for your guests?
If you want to learn more about what GuestCentric can do to improve your hotel mobile website chat to one of our specialists online or sign up for our Coffee with GuestCentric webinar.
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“The GuestCentric mobile site and booking engine have an application quality to them that I had never seen before.”, said Heleen Uitenbroek at Chiado 16, a luxury guesthouse in Lisbon. “Now that I have a wonderful mobile site from GuestCentric it does not make sense to build a mobile application for iPhone or Android any longer.”