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?
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.