Is your mobile-unfriendly booking engine costing you bookings?

October 2nd, 2018 Lisa Livingston Hospitality Trends, Marketing, Online Bookings

It’s unrealistic to think that our smartphones actually make us smarter (lol); but isn’t it accurate to say our smartphones make our lives easier? Think of all the things we do from our smartphones: Play games, watch movies, listen to music, book flights, even make hotel reservations. On any given day, you can look around and see people intently staring at their mobile devices; in restaurants, on the train, in traffic, or while sitting at the family dinner table. In fact, mobile technology for hoteliers has advanced so much in the past decade, there is an entire generation that doesn’t even know what a travel agent is. Imagine if you will, how important mobile reservations will be in the future: While we hate to think about it – the future is here! The question then; is your property ready for mobile bookings?

By the numbers

According to a study by Medium.com  “91% of all Americans believe that their smart phone is very important, even citing that for 60% of the population, it is more important than daily coffee”. Millennials even believe that their smartphones are 93% more important than using deodorant or a toothbrush daily. Ick! But think about it: We can pretty much avoid any stinky situation with the push of a few buttons.

According to Booking.com consumers have shifted their last-minute bookings to a mobile platform: Almost 50% of bookings originate from a mobile device. In fact, conversion rates are even higher, with almost 80% of people who are looking at your property from their mobile device also booking there. Kind of makes you wonder: How mobile-friendly is my booking engine? If your booking engine lacks mobile-friendliness, you should consider updating it immediately. Here are some ideas to get you started on your mission to increase mobile bookings.

Website design

Mobile booking engines can be built in two ways: Responsive and Optimized. A responsive booking engine responds to the device used to view it. Responsive booking engine pages load differently depending on the mobile device. Optimized mobile booking engines have a completely different look and feel than that of the property’s desktop booking engine by providing your guests with mobile-friendly images, continuous property branding, and responsive links. If you have the budget, optimizing your booking engine could greatly increase your guests’ experience over what desktop guests see. Neither responsive or optimized is preferred over the other, it is simply dependent on your preference.

Whether you choose a responsive design, or an optimized design for your booking engine, it’s important to remember these key points:

  • Create content that is the correct size to fit on a mobile screen. Smartphone users don’t want to scroll back and forth to experience the beauty of your property.
  • Create links or buttons on your page that function properly, and are spaced equally, allowing guests to maneuver easily without clicking the wrong link.
  • Provide hyperlinks to your property’s phone number so guests can easily dial without memorizing your number.
  • Be sure to display your address, so when guests are driving to your property, they can easily navigate with Waze, Google Maps, or Siri.

InnQuest’s WebBook

InnQuest heavily considered the impact of mobile bookings, when designing the WebBook Booking Engine. The design of WebBook had 3 goals: 1) Help our clients increase conversions 2) The booking engine must be easy to setup and manage [without hiring third party IT Professionals or costly web designers] 3) The booking engine must be mobile ready. WebBook meets these goals! Contact us today to start a conversation on lean how we can help you capture more online bookings.

Wrapping up

Obviously, the goal here is to create a mobile booking engine that guests are driven to, and they want to use. So, don’t be afraid to use call to action buttons everywhere on your booking engine; after all, call to action buttons make it easier to reap big conversion rates. Whether you take advantage of these mobile-friendly booking engine tips or not, one thing is for certain: Travelers are always looking for ways to make their travel arrangements on-the-go, and you don’t want to get left in the trail of smartphone dust.