Mobile travel websites – that is, travel oriented websites that are available to mobile users – have become critical for any destination looking to attract visitors. Hotels, resorts, summer camps, arts districts, and even entire cities are now realizing that they need these sites as part of a larger strategy to compete for attention . . . and of course, tourism dollars.
Think About It: Mobile and Travel = Peanut Butter and Jelly
Mobile and travel go together like peanut butter and jelly. Visitors to your website – and destination – are more likely than ever to use a device. Statistics on mobile usage and adoption are (not surprisingly) through the roof. But, for the travel and hospitality industries, aggressive adoption is even more of a no-brainer.
After all, just like their devices, the travel audience is mobile: They are on the go.
What’s surprising is that so many in the hospitality and travel industries still have websites that aren’t even mobile-friendly. Worse, Google even dings you for that now – one reason they offer a free mobile-friendly test for web sites.
There is really no reason to ignore the mobile-friendly requirement. There are many tools to help ensure that website content is handled automatically according to device and screen size. This practice is called responsive design.
If you’re using WordPress, a third party theme such as those provided by StudioPress can do the responsive design work for you. And, they do it extremely well.
The Different Forms of Mobile Travel Websites
There are many forms that mobile travel websites can take. Depending on the intention of your site, consider providing different flavors and amounts of content types. Reviews, ratings, blogs, deal finders . . . the big thing is keeping content engaging. Over time, you may find that your audience is looking for certain content over other kinds. If so, adjust accordingly. Keep it flexible, and take time to understand your audience.
The Importance of Visual Content for Mobile Travel Websites
Whatever the content, one thing is for sure: A mobile travel website must include lots of photos. User expectations are also shifting in such a way as to expect new and different images regularly. It’s understandable. In the age of Facebook and Instragram, it isn’t too much to expect regularly updated content.
And, let that serve as a reminder – be sure the website ties in social media. But, don’t rely solely on social media. There are still a lot of things that websites do better than a Facebook page or Twitter account can do.
And that brings us to what is often still thought of as a virtual tour or walkthrough . . . a smart tour. This format can help attract new visitors or help others better understand what you like or don’t like about a particular destination.
Our next portion of this series – Part 2 of Tips on Building Mobile Travel Websites – will be dedicated to incorporating smart tours using the Whitepoint framework into a mobile travel website.
Do you like (or dislike) the ideas above? Other ideas? Questions? Drop us a comment below or reach out on Twitter @WhitepointMobi.
Updated August 25, 2016.by