Hotel Mobile Website Design Tips

USAToday: Travelers on the go are increasingly turning to their mobile phone to shop for a convenient hotel, book a room at their favorite hotel or check their loyalty points accounts. That's why Hilton, Starwood, InterContinental and others are so focused on improving their mobile sites.

But more often, travelers want to accomplish simple tasks, such as checking a hotel's address so they can get there quickly, a hotel website design firm writes on UK-based Hotelier TV's blog.

In his piece, Pedro Colaco - CEO of Guestcentric, a hotel website design, marketing and social media firm - urges hoteliers to get a few basics down pat before moving on to the fancy stuff to best please their customers.

Mobile users have a different mindset when going to a website so the mobile website experience "must be quite different to engage them," Colaco writes.

"Mobile users are much more task-oriented than desktop users," he writes. "And mobile users are either searching for local content or for a specific brand."

Here are Colaco's five tips for a successful hotel mobile website (in a different order). I'll be curious to hear your thoughts.

1. DISPLAY ADDRESS BOLDLY: A top task for travelers using their smartphones is looking for a hotel's address and directions. He says hotels should make sure their address is highlighted and easy to click through to Google Maps, since that's a popular site.

2. ADD CLICK-TO-CALL BUTTON: Mobile hotel websites should display the phone number prominently and let customers click to call, since it's the No. 2 most important task that users do when accessing their hotel's website from their mobile phone, he writes.

3. SIMPLE BOOKING EXPERIENCE: Keep it simple to encourage greater use. An average of 1% all mobile visitors already book a hotel reservation using a multi-touch booking engine, even though this technology is fairly new, he writes.

4. DON'T ASSUME EVERYONE HAS AN iPHONE: Hotels should design the website for low bandwidth, since not everyone uses an iPhone or Android.

5. SEO: (Colaco mentioned this tip first, but I'm placing it last since it's tech-oriented.) Google controls over 97% of mobile search, so hotels should ensure that their sitemap marks mobile pages with the "mobile" tag. Hotels should also use Google's mobile keywords tool to see if they're on target with content.


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