Think of it this way.
Your potential customer is looking for somewhere unique to take their partner for that anniversary, engagement or special occasion.
What do they do?
Hop on their favourite web browser and start researching options and ideas.
Like the majority of internet users, they’ll most probably do this via a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.
Now, what do you think they’ll do when they come across your not-so mobile friendly website?
Do you think they hang around looking at a web page where the text is too small to read, or scroll sideways to try view the content and make a booking on links that they can’t click through as they’re too tiny?
No! Of course not.
Chances are they’ll move along quickly to a website that they can actually view on their mobile device.
And what does this mean for you?
Another lost sale, simply because your website is not ‘mobile friendly’.
Since early 2014, mobile search has exceeded PC internet usage. So there really shouldn’t be a debate on this – your hospitality or tourism business needs a mobile friendly presence.
When we talk mobile friendly presence, let’s be clear. You have two options here – mobile or responsive.
A responsive website is a website that responds to its environment. Responsive simply means it fits or adapts to the size of the screen on which it is being viewed – one website viewable on many devices.
A mobile website is a completely different website – built separately and hosted by a different domain name and the content is generally limited to the most important elements (Book Now or Purchase with minimum text and imagery). A mobile website is usually used for hotels and tourism operators wanting to lead prospective customers directly to the sale.
What should you choose?
There is strong discussion about responsive vs mobile especially for Hotels and Accommodation providers. Is responsive fit for all purposes or is a separate mobile-focussed website or WebApp better?
In the vast majority of cases a responsive website will suffice – especially if $dollars and resources are tight.
Responsive designed websites at the very least are now a MUST for any tourism and hospitality business.
Actually, responsive websites are a must for any business and here are four reasons why.
1. It is what your customers want
Mobile devices outstripped PC usage as of late 2014.
And if part of your your target market was Asia (early adaptors in mobile usage) they wouldn’t have looked at your website in 2014 and you definitely won’t be gaining visitation or sales via your non-responsive website in 2015.
It all comes down to the user experience.
TIP: Put your customer hat on and think like your customer in all your marketing activities – even website design [Tweet This]
2. It’s what Google wants
Google – the NUMBER 1 search engine shifted the game on 21 April 2015 by changing its algorithm to rank higher mobile friendly websites (responsive websites) above non-mobile friendly (non-responsive) websites.
Google warned that “This change will affect mobile device searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
Why did Google do this?
Google wants its users to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices (see Point 1).
Basically, when your tourism or hospitality website is not easily accessed on smartphones and tablets, it reflects negatively both on your business and on Google for suggesting your site in the first place.
3. It is easier to manage
Now these points are in order for a good reason, but for time poor business owners this is a big winner ….
Responsive websites can be managed in one place via a content management system.
Just update the copy, imagery and your website is updated across multiple devices.
Let me repeat – no multiple, time consuming updates – one update and all content on devices are cover.
What’s not to love about that?
4. It has staying power
Ok, you now understand that websites that are designed responsively can adapt to any screen size – but did I mention this includes those screens and devices that aren’t on the market yet!
There is no need to worry about re-designing your website every time Apple upgrades their iPhone or Amazon releases a new Kindle.
Let’s be clear though – the only constant is change!
So don’t think that by building a responsive website, you’ll not have to update, change formats or even build a brand new website sometime in the future.
Gone are the days when you built a website and it lasted 10 years.
A website today should be considered a continual work in progress – Google wants new content so you’ll have to update regularly; depending on the Content Management System i.e. WordPress or other open source, you’ll have to regularly update plugins and maintain the website backend to avoid hacking.
So budget for a websites continued upgrades, changes and needs.
Remember in the not too distant past you budgeted each year to ensure your business was listed in local telephone book – if you weren’t listed your business was dead in the water.
Today, if your tourism or hospitality website is not responsive then you just aren’t able to compete – locally, nationally or globally.
Google is not going to rank your business website over your competitor’s website if it’s not responsive.
If after reading this you’re thinking you need a new website, please read our free ebook – “How to write a winning website design brief“ before you do anything else. We promise it will save you time, money and frustration down the track.