Your Hotel Website May Be Broken On Tablets

By Brandon Dennis VP of Marketing, | October 27, 2013

At this point in 2013, I don’t need to convince anyone that tablets are a crucial marketing channel for hotels. This year we learned that 40% of tablet users earn over $100,000 a year, and that nearly 60% of hotel mobile website visits come from tablets —not smartphones. For the first time ever, Q2 of this year saw tablets eclipse desktop computers as the preferred device to make purchases from. This data suggests that many tablet users are affluent travelers who like making purchase decisions on their tablets, which begs the question—are our hotel websites tablet optimized?

It’s tempting to nail smartphone optimization and think we’re done with it. After all, tablet screens are large, making it easier to navigate traditional websites on them than from smartphones. However, there are hotel website quirks that are incompatible with tablets, which, when seen, cause the affluent tablet user to “bounce” away and go to a competitor.

The following are common website characteristics incompatible with tablets. How do your hotel websites measure up?

Mouse-over Effects

Rollover or mouse-over effects are seen when the guest hovers his mouse pointer over an object. These could be messages, like image titles, or even navigation elements, like sub-menus that fly out when you hover over a navigation link, or links that only reveal themselves when you hover over them and they change color. Tablet users never experience these hover events because they don’t have mice. You can’t “hover-tap”.
Hover events must be removed from hotel websites, especially if they are part of the website’s primary navigation. Any website functionality tied to the mouse is inherently incompatible with tablets, and makes the website less useful or tablet users, who must be able to quickly understand where on the site they can find the info they’re looking for. Hover-events make this much more difficult to do.

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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.