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Are you following mobile website best practices? (part 1)

These days, 51% of mobile web users research travel options using smartphones or tablets.*

Want to encourage more bookings? Follow the best practices that other hoteliers are adhering to on their mobile sites. For instance, Thompson Hotels’ mobile site meets the unique needs of travelers using a smaller handheld device instead of a computer screen and fingers and thumbs instead of a mouse.

And that means an easier to use – and likely more profitable – mobile website for Thompson Hotels.

To get the same results, start by optimizing your mobile homepage.

Thompson_MobileHomepage_Labels1. Consistent branding
Big (but not too big) “Thompson Hotels” reinforces you’re in the right place. Subtle background carries through branding elements from desktop site.

2. Big navigation
Primary navigation is pared down to key actions mobile users are interested in, and the big text and links are easy to tap, even with a thumb. Secondary navigation at the bottom provides access to Thompson Hotels’ Twitter and Facebook pages.

Thompson_DesktopHomepage_Labels3. Essentials only
Eliminate distraction to encourage conversion. The rotating slideshow of images from the desktop homepage? Removed to save room and minimize page load time. The 20-word “about us” description is gone.

And while Thompson Hotels chose to move the booking form to its own internal page for mobile, some hoteliers prefer a homepage that prominently features the form. What you make the focus of your homepage is up to you, based on your property’s approach to web design, goals and branding.

Now that you know these tips…
If you have a mobile homepage, how does yours compare and what could you do differently now? If you don’t have a mobile site yet, what are the three to five key actions you want users to focus on right away?

Next week we’ll share more mobile best practices when it comes to your most important internal page: the reservation/availability form.

In the meantime, for more on mobile websites, check out Mobile Marketing: How to Get Your Share of $8 Billion in Mobile Bookings and 12 Tips for Boosting Bookings on Mobile.

*PhoCusWright, Traveler Technology Survey (December, 2012)

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