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In May there were 2.5 million searches for hotel-related keywords on Google.co.uk, of which 522,115 were made on mobile devices.
According to a new report from Greenlight Digital, queries for hotels in domestic destinations accounted for 54% of all searches using desktop and 59% of all queries made using mobile devices.
And with 33,100 searches the term ‘hotels’ proved to be the most common query, accounting for 6% of all mobile searches.
Stats from Google show that 55% of mobile search conversions take place within an hour and the use of mobile search is constantly growing, so it’s too big an opportunity for hotel brands to ignore.
But are they properly set up to take advantage of this user behaviour by optimising for mobile? I searched for the term ‘hotels’ on my Android smartphone to find out...
Some more stats from the report...
- Laterooms.com was the most visible website for hotel-related searches on laptops/desktops, achieving a 46% share of voice.
- Booking.com was the most visible advertiser for hotel-related searches on mobile devices, achieving an 88% share of voice.
- Laterooms.com was the most visible website on mobile, achieving a 76% share of voice through ranking for 450 keywords, including the search terms ‘boutique hotels Istanbul’ and ‘cheap hotels in Oslo’.
- Lastminute.com attained a 62% share of voice through ranking for 496 mobile keywords, including the search terms ‘Singapore hotels’ and ‘cheap hotels in Barcelona’.
Which sites are optimised for mobile?
These are the brands that appeared on the first page of Google search results in the paid and natural listings...
Booking.com came top of both the natural and paid search listings. It has clearly thought about the needs of mobile users and has a mobile optimised site with a prominent and user-friendly search tool.
I particularly like the ‘Hotels for tonight near me’ which makes it incredibly easy to search for hotels nearby.
Hotels.com has a mobile optimised site but still hits you with a pop up asking you to download its app.
Once you’ve got past that hurdle the site itself is quite simple to use, though the data fields are a bit fiddlier than those on Booking.com
LateRooms has a great search function with big fields that give fat thumbs a lot of room for error.
I also particularly like the fact that you are able to choose the number of nights you want to stay for rather than having to input the day you will be checking out.
Another travel site with a decent search tool and big buttons that make it easy to use. The prominent click-to-call button is also a useful feature for mobile users.
Trivago has attempted to create a mobile optimised site but it hasn’t quite worked properly, meaning that you have to scroll left to right to read all the content.
This obviously means that it doesn’t deliver a very good user experience.
Another brand with an excellent mobile site, complete with a handy click-to-call button on the homepage.
Travel Supermarket doesn’t have a mobile site meaning you have to do a lot of pinching and scrolling to try and find a hotel.
It also has a bizarre search tool that forces you to select the number of guests and the number of rooms in the same field.
Hotel brand Ibis has a decent mobile site, with a simple search function and click-to-call button on the homepage.
TripAdvisor is another culprit for hitting you with a pop up the moment you arrive on its mobile site.
You can’t actually book hotels through the site though, and weirdly its search tool doesn’t allow you to specify your travel dates.
Secret Escape is the only paid search result from the bottom of the page that doesn’t also appear in the natural results.
In order to use its service you have to first sign up to be a member, which I’m not interested in doing.
Overall the hotels industry has done an excellent job of catering for mobile users, with all but Travel Supermarket having a mobile optimised site.
The hotel sector probably stands to be one of the main beneficiaries of the increase in local search on mobile, so it’s perhaps not surprising that these companies have put in so much effort to make sure they deliver a decent user experience.