Today’s travellers are researching, planning and booking their breaks online, and – more than ever before− they're using their Smartphones to help them do it.
It’s a trend that is only set to escalate according to data specialists Euromonitor, who predict that around 35% of online travel bookings will be made on mobile devices by 2018.
Online Travel: The Growth of Mobile
As you might expect, mobile bookings are growing at a rate far greater than bookings made on desktop. Data from Criteo has shown a 20% increase in mobile bookings against just a 2% growth on desktop. Conducted in the first half of 2014, the company’s Travel Flash Report encompassed data from more than 300 million bookings made worldwide. Smartphones and tablets were found to account for 21% of these bookings, while in-app bookings accounted for 12% of these mobile bookings. A 2015 survey by global advertising network BuzzCity has echoed these findings, with 30% of the 1,500 business and leisure traveller respondents relying purely on their handheld devices to make last minute room bookings.
While it’s true that the majority of travellers still prefer to use desktop to book their holiday online, use of mobile devices to browse holiday brands and plan breaks is quickly becoming the norm. Now that brick and mortar travel agents have lost so much dominance in the mind of the consumer, travel window shopping has moved to mobile, where users can search for destinations and properties, check reviews and bookmark what they like, all within a few swipes of their fingers. With such a prevalent shift in your guests’ online behaviour, you can no longer afford not to be optimised for mobile.
Failing to create a mobile-friendly user experience for your audience won’t just frustrate and turn off potential guests, within just a few weeks it could actually cost you your hard earned search rankings, too. That’s because on April 21, Google is launching a new algorithm which will reward sites that cater to a mobile audience with greater visibility in the mobile search results and penalise those that do not. In fact, because Google only has one index for both mobile and desktop, it’s thought that websites without a mobile-optimised site may also be penalised in desktop results.
However the algorithm pans out in April, one thing is certain: failing to get mobile-friendly -and soon - will mean your resort loses out on all those mobile travellers planning their breaks online to your competitors’ advantage.