Imagine this scenario –
You are a small travel business, having recently taken your business online to widen your reach and attract more customers. The holiday season is approaching and you are confident that with a brand new, content rich website you will be able to get a lot of bookings from new and existing customers.
Just putting up a website is not going to get you visitors. So you start promoting, say starting with an email campaign with enticing offers to existing customers and highlighting your key offerings and expertise. You’ve even deep linked your deals, so that when a person clicks on a promotional offer in your email, say for a hotel in Vienna, they are taken to the details page of that hotel where they can book the room. You are confident that the campaign will drive a lot of traffic to your site and cause a surge in inquiries. After all, you have optimized your website and its content to match your products with customers’ demand and what’s hot. You’ve done all the hard work. Now it’s your time to shine.
It’s Monday morning and you run the campaign, positive that the inquiries will start flowing in. But they don’t, at least not as many as you expected. It’s Wednesday evening, and you’ve received only a handful of inquiries through your site. You start to wonder what went wrong. You did everything right – Built an attractive website, with great content and compelling offers, ran an awesome email campaign along with social media marketing. You did all this with two major goals in mind: To drive traffic and maximize inquiries/bookings. When you analyze your website traffic, you find out that you DID get a large number of visitors, but very few inquiries. Why did this happen? You did everything right, didn’t you? Well, everything but one thing – You did not optimize your website for mobile devices.
Why that is important: In today’s hyper-connected world all emails are read first on the mobile and then maybe on the laptop. Most probably your campaign recipients checked their email on the mobile, clicked on the links and your website looked messed up as it was not optimized for the mobile. So though you may have a presence on the web any information or link from the same you share with anyone is bound to be opened on the mobile in most cases.
Okay, so what’s the potential damage? We have good news and we have bad news. Here’s the bad news: Not having a mobile-friendly site can cost you big time. The good news though is that you’re not the only business out there without a mobile-friendly site. In fact, it’s a mistake a lot of businesses make. Today, having website is not a choice. It’s a must, as it’s often the first point of contact a prospective client has with your brand. It’s your store front on the internet if you will, a place where your prospects spend a great deal of time. Just having a website is not enough though. In the age of smartphones and tablets, where people carry the web with them, it’s absolutely vital for a business to have a website that’s optimized for these devices.
So what do we mean by a mobile friendly site? Well, it’s a site that displays correctly on smaller screens, such as smartphones and tablets and has all the important content easily accessible on these devices. A site that’s not optimized for mobiles can become a frustrating experience for a user, which can result in a high bounce rate and a heavy loss of traffic.
Many businesses seem to overlook the fact that every time they send out a business email containing a link to their website, the recipient is more likely to open it on their smartphone, than on a desktop or a laptop. So when they open the email on their mobile, they will most likely click on the your website’s link on the mobile itself. Now if your site is not mobile-friendly, it will look ugly on the user’s mobile and would take ages to load, which is likely to drive them away from it. Not only that, if your site displays poorly on their mobile screen, it will reflect badly on your business. For a lot of visitors, that visit, through their mobile, may be their first visit to your site. Do you really want it to be their last? It’s no rocket science – If a user’s first impression of your site is poor, they are unlikely to return. As they say, first impression is the last impression.
Another very important reason you should make your website mobile-friendly is SEO. Google recently announced changes to its search algorithms favoring mobile-friendly sites. According to these changes, mobile-friendliness is now one of the criteria Google takes into account when determining a site’s position in the search results, especially for searches carried out on mobile devices. So don’t be surprised if your competitor, who was a few places behind you in search results until recently is now ahead of you, because theirs is a mobile-friendly site design and yours isn’t.
Studies have shown that searches made on mobiles account for over half of all searches. This is particularly crucial for a b2c travel business as most consumers search travel on their smartphones/tablets either when they get home from work, or during weekends. Majority of their time spent on researching travel products and providers on social media such as Facebook or Twitter is also on handheld devices. So whether they land on your site via email, search engine, social media or even a referral, they are very likely to have got there from a mobile device first, and as we mentioned earlier, if your site doesn’t look good on their mobile, they will spend very little time there and go to another site which is mobile-friendly. You can check your site’s mobile-friendliness here.
So what are the main benefits of having a mobile-friendly website? Apart from improving your search ranking, making your site mobile-friendly has a number of direct benefits for a business, such as:
- Better user experience
- Increased time users spend on your time
- More repeat visits
- Faster site load speed
- An edge over your competition
All these directly increase conversions and thereby revenue. Therefore, it’s vital that you optimize your website for mobile devices today. If you haven’t done so already, you may be losing customers as you read this.
TravelCarma offers travel businesses state-of-the-art, mobile enabled e-commerce platforms with diverse content, booking portals, back-office systems and access to global inventory. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.travelcarma.com for more information.