Your Hotel Website May Be Broken On Tablets

By Brandon Dennis VP of Marketing, Cloudbeds.com | 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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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.