I’m what you might call an ‘early adopter’. Not an ‘innovator’ (I don’t yet own a ‘smart’ TV), but an early adopter. I have an iPhone and I run my life on at least four social media platforms. Despite the age gap, so does my Dad – he’s nearly 60 and he does own a smart TV.
Obviously we all like personal interaction but sometimes people just aren’t fast enough. We want to know the answer now and the shiny thing in our hands we sometimes use to phone people with is now one of the fastest communication tools out there. And it’s a tool a lot of people have. Age has no influence on the need for informational speed, or how you access it. That’s why mobile sites and WiFi are so important to your hospitality business, whoever your clientele are.
Let me give you two different scenarios – mine and my Dad’s.
I’m in London, looking forward to my trip to New York, practicing ROPO and showing my friend where I might stay when I get there. I’m on The Jane Hotel’s mobile site. I’m using my mobile because, of course, the restaurant I’m in has WiFi. I expect it. And it doesn’t always matter in England because I can get 3G.
But whilst I’m in New York, it’s a bit trickier. There’s no 3G. So now I’m relying on the hotel’s WiFi – which thankfully The Jane has. I can bring up the hotel’s mobile site, find a map of the surrounding area and plan my evening, because frankly all that walking around Central Park has left me too tired to walk down five flights of stairs. If I’d had to walk those stairs I may still have got good information from the friendly bell-hop receptionist, but I would have been tired and frustrated that I couldn’t verify the information with my own eyes – which I trust above all others. Unhappy traveller.
My Dad has booked himself and my Mum into a luxury hotel in Turkey. He shows me on his iPhone and I have to say I’m a little bit disappointed. The website doesn’t function properly on this device – there’s no responsive design here! – and although the photos look nice I’m worried he hasn’t done his research. Turns out they’ve been on holiday there before, so on this occasion it’s ok – but as a first timer that dodgy mobile site may have made me think twice. He’s also happy when he gets to Turkey and finds he can get his daily news fix on his mobile via the hotel’s WiFi. No WiFi might have been better for me though – I wouldn’t have been able to get jealous at the view over Skype!
Mobile and WiFi are so entangled in our everyday lives – and with each other – that they’re expected. And depending on your holiday destination (you might be less bothered in the Costa Rican jungle, we expect them when we travel too. As a hotel, make sure you’re considering all segments of your customer base and how they might interact with you online before they arrive, and how your WiFi connectivity will influence brand perception when they do.
Top Tips for Hoteliers
- Get yourself a mobile site
- Consider what you need on your mobile site and what you can cut down on
- Put yourself in your customers’ shoes – if they’re on their mobile, chances are they want the information there and then, and fast
- Less is more… less text, less pictures, less pages – providing the quality is high
- If you don’t have a mobile site, consider responsive design instead, where your website will fit to the size of different devices
- If none of the above is possible, consider how your website loads on a smaller device – if it is built in flash or has lots of pictures to load, it won’t be very mobile friendly – and make as many changes as you can
- Have free WiFi in your hotel!