Let’s look first at responsive design. What is it and what does it mean?
Responsive web design is an approach which suggests how a website should transition from how it looks on a computer to how it renders across smaller devices such as tablets and mobile phones. The approach states that through this transition, your website should not lose any of the original design or functionality whether you are viewing it on mobile or desktop.
A couple of years ago, web designers and developers used to create two different websites – one for desktop and one for mobile. Now by using more advanced web development technologies, as we do here at UP Hotel Agency, we can build a single website for a hotel, guest house or any other property that works to seamlessly renders across every device.
Will Google penalise you if your website is not mobile friendly?
It is a well-known fact that the higher you rank in Google’s Search Engine, the greater chance you have of users visiting your hotel and booking.
From March 2018, Google announced that they will be using mobile first indexing. In the past, Google measured your website performance and based rankings as well as how well your site scored on a desktop. Now, Google ranks and indexes your hotel accordingly, dependent upon how good mobile proposition is. This is Google’s way of reaffirming that websites that are responsive and user-friendly will outperform an outdated website which hasn’t yet adopted responsive design.
How could this effect upon Hotels, Guest Houses, Villas or other offerings?
51% of customers say that they use mobile devices to discover new brands and products. So if your hotel, guest house or villa does not having a responsive website, you are potentially losing out on visits to your site, interactions and engagement and crucially – direct bookings! Here are some interesting stats to consider:
- 46% of people say they would not purchase from a brand again if they had an interruptive mobile experience (Google, 2017)
- Over 40% of online transactions are now done on mobile (Google, 2017)
- Smartphone users are 50% more likely to expect to purchase something immediately while using their smartphone compared to a year ago (Google, 2017)
Why is responsive design especially important for all Hotels, Guest Houses, Villas…?
A guest experience doesn’t start when entering the foyer of your accommodation. It starts way before, as soon as the first interaction is made with your business, which is more often than not, online. If the guest assumes that your website is not up to speed, or capable of providing an effective user experience on their mobile device; it’s perhaps reasonable to expect that the same guest won’t be expecting a top level of hospitality upon booking and arrival.
The example above highlighting a non-responsive website which is particularly hard to engage with or book a room through on any mobile device! Not great when you only have little battery life remaining and you need to book a room quickly!
Any business operating in the hospitality industry, hotel, B&B, guest house or Villa (no matter whether a large chain or small independent) should not be neglecting their responsibilities to provide 5-star service. Expecting their guests to struggle with even the basics of contacting the business, let alone struggle to book a room is not right and shows signs of not showing due diligence and consideration around the modern day travellers needs. Having a potential paying guest struggling to view your website by pinching their viewport (screen) on a mobile device to bring information into clear view is not on. Especially as responsive design was initially coined and introduced way back in 2010!
The hospitality industry is, unfortunately, a sector which has lived up to the notion of being highly dependent and reliant upon online travel agents (OTAs) e.g. Booking.com, Hotels.com to take care of bookings and to do the leg-work to fulfil occupancy. Nothing could be more wrong as an assumption nowadays, with more and more hotels moving towards developing their “Book Direct” propositions.
Hotels have historically been quite happy to pay out (often) high rates of commission to OTAs whilst neglecting their own online proposition. In reality, if hotels have an effective responsive website, supported by effective digital marketing they could generate full room revenue from direct bookings without having to pay out as much on commission as it would cost to advertising their own direct proposition.
One key factor that businesses operating in the hospitality sector can sometimes fail to realise is that guests often tend to search directly for the hotel they have found on an OTA website, even if it is simply to view the facilities in greater depth. Even if your hotel is dependent upon an OTA to generate room night revenue; it perhaps shouldn’t be at the sake of your neglecting the businesses own online proposition. For this reason, not having a responsive site can negatively impact upon sales, even through OTA sites, especially if guests have flicked between the OTA site and the responsive website of your closest or nearest accommodation offering a similar proposition. If your competitors provide a great user experience and emphasise their proposition, perhaps their own website has worked hard enough to even encourage users to boycott the OTA site (they found the accommodation on) to instead, book direct!
In stark contrast, if your hospitality offering serves users with a website and navigation which is not readily accessible on mobile or tablet, then the sad reality is that you potentially have a chance of losing up to approximately 40% revenue. Not only that, but 46% of your consumer audience have been swayed away from your brand and have been forced to look elsewhere. The warning signs are clear.
Can my hospitality offering afford a responsive design?
It doesn’t cost the earth to have a responsive design and a refresh of your website. Of course, costs are dependent upon the scope of work and the requirements or objectives of your business. What would be charged for responsive design for a small independently owned guest house as opposed to a large hotel with a requirement for far more content to be developed would be significantly different. Our team would always advocate custom design, however other options are available.
Here at UP, we don’t just work with the biggest and most established hotels. We also work with a number of guesthouses and villas to support the advancement of their websites from a design, development and marketing standpoint. Both are independent properties:
Both clean, responsive sites were designed and developed by UP Hotel Agency for the Riad Kheirredine in Morocco and Pentrehoybn Hall in Wales
How can I check that my hospitality website is responsive?
See how well your site renders on tablet and mobile devices with a free mobile-friendly test.
Contact us for a free quotation and breakdown of what we can do to help you drive more traffic, and help you to engage visitors to your site by making your website responsive.