The device trifecta—desktop/laptop, smartphone, and tablet—is soon to be a thing of the past. Not that they will not exist, but the differences between them are getting harder to discern. Smartphone screens have gotten larger, tablet use is comparatively on the decline, and while desktops still matter, in the very near future as much research and booking will happen on smartphones as on the desktop. We’re increasingly living in a world that is more mobile than stationary, and this means that mobile presence and agility are paramount, especially when it comes to travel.
Need evidence? Over 50% of travelers are comfortable researching and booking an entire vacation using only a smartphone, according to Phocuswright.
Additionally, an exceptional mobile app and website can, according to the same report, sway traveler decisions. The greatest impact of mobile is “influence” at this moment in time, but conversions are not far behind. Travel companies that embrace a mobile-first world have a competitive edge.
Do you have a mobile-first presence? If not, it is holding you back. But what does this look like?
I use the four C’s as a guide to optimal mobile presence: clear and concise content, close the deal, click conservation, and crazy-fast load speed.
In a mobile-first world, prioritize the information that matters most to your guests and leave the extras for the desktop. Don’t guess at what this information is. Study your analytics and your existing desktop and mobile path to purchase to be certain. Your mobile site and apps should highlight imagery, giving guests a feel for your experience, and should cover the nuts-and-bolts about your property in a straightforward, pleasant way. In short, ditch the flowery language and focus on what’s important. Every word and every photo counts.
Close the Deal
Your other focus should be on closing. Some guests will have done research on a desktop and are coming to mobile very close to a decision. Others will be doing their research on mobile and will need to be guided very clearly to closing the deal. This means careful consideration of mobile architecture and the purchase path through your mobile site and mobile app.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of travelers who use smartphones while traveling are likely to book a hotel on a smartphone. Capturing this savvy market requires offering them the option to book in the fewest clicks possible. One-click booking is ideal, of course, but if this isn’t possible, we encourage click conservation. Focus on putting as few clicks as possible between the guest and the confirmation. Also, ensure that the check-in/check-out calendar feature is very easy to use. You don’t want a booking date mistake to be the result of a less-than-stellar user experience on a clunky mobile calendar.
A Google study found that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if the page takes more than 3 seconds to load. Further, a clear correlation seems to exist between load time and revenue. Google reports that mobile sites that load within 5 seconds earn up to double the mobile ad revenue. Fancy designs have a place, but on mobile, it’s more important that the site/app load quickly. Simple is better if it comes down to shaving valuable seconds off of loading speeds.
Though the three-screen world of the last decade seems to be merging into one mostly mobile environment, mobile devices still require a different approach (for the time being). Admittedly, most of the 4 C’s apply to desktop sites, but we still must acknowledge that on mobile, travelers are expecting a different experience and hotels must deliver. The old idea of repurposing a traditional website for mobile—modifying it to make it “mobile-friendly”—is a setback. Increasing conversions requires creating a mobile experience that, while it is brand consistent, has its own distinctive goals.
 The Mobile Travel Landscape. Phocuswright. May 2016.
 The Need for Mobile Speed: How Mobile Latency Impacts Publisher Revenue. DoubleClick by Google. September 2016.