It is no secret that we are all using their mobile phones as part of our daily lives, and increasingly this includes researching and buying travel and tourism products and services.
Creating a successful mobile marketing strategy is quite an investment for your business, but providing a great service to your mobile customers can certainly add to the success of your business.
Travellers depend on smartphones
An October 2014 research study commissioned by Expedia has shown that 94% of leisure travellers travel with a smartphone, with 97% of business travelers bringing at least one device on every trip.
Mobile devices effectively serve as a concierge, guide and companion for travellers, who rely on smartphones and other mobile devices at every stage of their journey.
As Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia, said “Travelers are not only researching and booking trips on mobile, but they’re also complimenting their meals, complaining to providers and capturing every trip detail. This is the new normal when it comes to travel.”
Smartphones are used at every stage in the travel process: from initial inspiration and research, through to purchases and bookings, and used increasingly during the travel experience as well as following the trip.
Google’s research arm, Think with Google, has published the The 2014 Traveler’s Road to Decision and it has several chapters devoted to mobile marketing in the tourism and leisure sectors.
Google Local Results
The Google research report also finds 61% of all travelers start with using a search engine. And the search engines are tailoring the search results to correspond to the local intention shown by to tourism and leisure searchers, and in particular shows
The Google Local Search results trigger the familiar maps with red pins and tailors the mobile search results to the searcher’s intention.
Every tourism related business from small souvenir shops and local pubs to massive hotels and museums should be part of the free Google My Business service. This directory powers certain parts of the local search results, as well as influencing your website rankings.
The results are localised both geographic location searches, and in this example we can see the results trigger for the search for the phrase “places in Nottingham”
And in this example the searcher has not even included the geographic place name, but searched instead for the phrase “hotels near me”
And of course, local tourism doesn’t mean just hotels and restaurants, but concepts like best beer Nottingham will also trigger local results
Optimising the experience of your mobile visitors will also contribute to your business success by facilitating bookings, providing better customer service, and encouraging interaction.
There are a number of very simple changes you can make to your site that will improve the mobile visitor experience:
- easy to access phone numbers, maps, contact information and directions
- properly sized (generous) buttons that are easy for fingers to accurately tap
- forms that are easy to fill in on a mobile device
- simplified navigation that works and reflects the mobile visitor’s specific needs
- pages that are quick to load to meet the needs of impatient visitors on mobile connections
A practical example is always a good place to start.
Let’s take as an example a traveller that just arrived in Nottingham and is hungry for a meal. Today he has a taste for Italian food so since he has no idea about Nottingham he turns to Google for help.
Below you can see the results that are again personalised based on his location, to make sure that the results will be relevant and useful to him.
Now on the two images below we are comparing a mobile friendly site to one that has not been optimised for local. On the image on the left you can see that the website is very small and none of the information is visible make it very difficult for the visitor to find the menu or book a table.
Whereas the image on the right to do and find what is most important. With just a glance he can see the three most important bits of information for a mobile web visitor:
- a map showing where the restaurant is
- the ability to look at the menu quickly and easily
- and fast access to booking a table.
Your mobile marketing action plan
Is your business ready for the dramatics shift from desktop computers to mobile?
1. Test how well your website looks on a mobile device. The free ScreenFly service lets you see what your website looks on lots of different devices.
2. Identify how your visitors use their mobile phone when interacting with your business, and design the mobile experience to meet their needs.
2. Research how well your website ranks for mobile searchers, and ensure you have an optimised Google+ listing.