In case you haven’t noticed, the world is rapidly moving from desktop to mobile.
In many countries (including the US and Australia) sales of web enabled mobile devices outstrip computer sales, and this trend is accelerating! For the young the world has already moved from the desktop and the laptop to the smart phone and iPad.
The implications of the rush to mobile are especially pressing for tour and activity operators due to the nature of their customer base and the purchasing preferences of their consumers.
Here’s why a mobile-friendly website is essential for tours and activities:
The switch to mobile search is rapidly changing the relative effectiveness of websites. If your website is not mobile friendly, potential customers arriving by mobile will simply “bounce” off to other sites which work better on their mobile device.
Indeed many traditional websites present so poorly on mobile that those potential customers who actually arrive with a purchase intention drop off without buying through sheer frustration at the difficulty of navigating the site.
According to new data released by search engine giant, Google, Australian online shopping related searches via mobile devices and smartphones have spiked 40% year-on-year!
If your website is not mobile friendly and you spend money driving traffic to it then you are wasting money to get visitors who will just bounce away because you don’t load well on their mobile device. As the market moves more and more to mobile this effect will become more and more marked.
Getting customers to your website is one thing. Getting them to engage and make a purchase is another. The rate at which your visitors convert to customers is crucial to your profitability. However conversion rates vary widely depending upon the type of device being used by the visitor and the type of product in question.
The Q2 2012 Global Digital Advertising Update by Adobe notes that for most products conversion rates from mobile phones are lower than for computer searches but “in the case of tablets, CPCs are 30% lower even though they convert 20% better than desktops. Thus, ROI on tablets is 70% better than desktops. This represents a significant opportunity for the savvy marketer.”
This insight is likely to be particularly pertinent to tour and activity operators due to the purchasing behavior of their customers. People increasingly tend to travel with phones and tablets rather than computers. Having a website attuned to wireless mobile search is thus particularly important for websites selling tours and activities.
Mention has already been made of the disproportionate importance of mobile for tour and activity operators due to the increasing propensity of people to travel with phones and tablets rather than computers. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The purchase of tours and activities is generally an optional luxury. Creating a user interface with the right “look and feel” is known to be particularly important when it comes to the sale of discretionary and lifestyle products/services; especially those prone to impulse buying.
If the website of your 3rd party motor insurer doesn’t work too well you will probably transact with them anyway. But if an activity website doesn’t look attractive……well there are other things to do!
In July 2012 Google undertook a survey of 1,088 smartphone users. Sixty-seven percent said they were more likely to make a purchase when visiting a business’s mobile-friendly site, versus 61 percent who said they’d most likely leave a site that wasn’t optimized for mobile.
Mobile friendly also means that it must be easy to transact through your website from a mobile device. This means a whole variety of design features such as minimizing the keystrokes required to make a booking (ie. because people are much less prone to typing on mobile devices).
If potential customers want to find out about tours and activities when they are on the road then it is a smart move to give them just what they want.
Another finding of the Google research cited above was that 74% of people said that “If a site works well on a mobile phone I am more likely to return to it in the future”.
Correspondingly a website which presents poorly on mobile devices actually does brand damage with fifty-five percent of respondents agreeing that, “A frustrating experience on a website hurts my opinion of the brand overall.”
Since word of mouth is so important, getting people to see you as professional online is essential in getting them to recommend you.
Does your online booking system support mobile bookings?
You need to make sure that not only is it possible, but it’s efficient and easy to do.