Middle East travellers are embracing the mobile revolution in a significant way, according to data from HotelsCombined.
The accommodation comparison platform calculated that 70% of bookings in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in January were made using mobile devices, compared to just 54% for the same month in 2016. That represents an increase of 25%.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of travellers from the GCC who have made hotel bookings with their mobile phones and tablets. However, the data also showed that even more conversions could be attributed to mobile, with 82% of travellers using their mobiles and tablets to research hotels.#Mobile bookings more important than ever at Middle East #hotels Click To Tweet
According to Amer AlHalabi, HotelsCombined MENA regional manager, “Travellers from the GCC are moving away from desktops or laptops when making their travel plans because of the quick and easy access to their mobiles and tablets.”
Hotels in the Middle East especially need to ensure their marketing activities are geared toward the mobile market if they want to succeed.
How to optimise for mobile bookings
There are a number of quick and easy ways in which a hotel can optimise its website to attract more mobile bookings.
- Get Responsive. A responsive web design will ensure that your website reformats to the size of screen it is being viewed on. The design won’t just shrink, it will actually reconfigure to show the most important information in an easy to read format.
- Get Speedy. Internet users have short attention spans. And mobile users are the most impatient of all. Ensure your website has a good load time. Less than 3 seconds is considered a good load time. Sites need to use accelerated mobile pages (AMP) to improve loading speed.
- Get Local. Use location-specific or “near me” keywords in your landing pages and meta data. “Dubai hotel” may not be specific enough. “Hotel in Al Barsha, Dubai” is much closer to the mark. Alternatively, focus on your property’s USPs: “Jumeirah beach hotel,” “7-star Dubai hotel,” or “Halal hotel in Dubai” will help you get in front of customers most interested in what your property has to offer.
- Offer Discounts. Give your potential guests an incentive to book direct via your website with an “online only” or “book direct” discount. Guests will search around, and will look at online travel agents (OTAs), so you have to make your offer stand out. Provide tailored packages and price incentives that can’t be found elsewhere.
- Make Payment Easy. In order to take a payment, your site needs to have an SSL certificate and/or offer secure encryption via HTTPS. Provide an online-payment gateway to enable your customers to securely and confidently pay using their debit, credit or PayPal accounts.
Easily tailor your website to attract more mobile bookings using the top tips above, and then check how your conversion rate increases in Google Analytics. Remember to track mobile conversions. But also remember that last-click conversion statistics don’t always show the role mobile has played in the conversion process, through on-the-go hotel research.
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Latest posts by Sarah McCay Tams, Contributing Editor, EMEA (see all)
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