There is something which is affecting every business that uses the internet to market their product – the shift to browsing on mobile devices. It is said that today there are more mobile phones on the planet than there are toothbrushes. Since many of these are smartphones, it means the way in which the world’s population, your customers, are soaking up information is via mobile devices.
While it’s always interesting to read reports and discover statistics on smartphone usage, to see it in action you just need to look around you. For starters, where are you reading this? Chances are you may be reading it on a smartphone? When you’re in restaurants, at bus stops, waiting for your train or having a coffee, take a second to look around you. If you don’t see at least one person with their nose stuck in a smartphone I’d be extremely surprised.
So what exactly does this mean for your business? It means you need to adapt – you need to adapt the way you present information to your customers and you need to adapt how you market yourself.
Publishing content in a different way…
Mobile devices are outperforming PCs when it comes to product sales and broadband subscriptions. This means mobile is going to play a huge role in the travel industry in terms of bookings.
If your site isn’t ‘responsive’ which is a techy way of saying ‘looks well on a mobile phone’ then stop reading this post and get in touch with whoever designed your site immediately. Not having a responsive website is arguably the most costly mistake any business in any industry can make.
If it is responsive, great. The next step is making sure potential customers can book your tour or activity through it (this is where we can help). Does your mobile-responsive website have a booking engine with live inventory? If not, get in touch. Without it you could be missing out on business this very second.
Marketing your business in a different way…
If your customers are moving away from magazines and newspapers when they are consuming information, this means your ad spends needs to shift too. If you haven’t dedicated any of your marketing budget towards a Google Adwords campaign or some Facebook advertising, now is the time to go back and see where your spend is going.
Maybe you haven’t done this before? If not, don’t fret – Google’s and Facebook’s advertising platforms (along with others) are designed for SMB’s that don’t have huge budgets. They’re made for people who are willing to put by a few Euros, Pounds or Dollars for a new form of advertising but need to see an ROI that warrants the financial obligation.
Why a mobile strategy is so important in the travel industry
For us in the travel industry, the shift to mobile is particularly important. While backpackers might travel with their laptop, not many other type of traveller will. Thus, almost all of their time spent on the internet is via a mobile device. When people are in line in a museum or waiting for a server to bring them their dinner, travellers are researching and booking their next activity. Statistics show this - 40% of bookings via our system come from mobile devices.
Don’t miss the boat
Having a mobile marketing strategy is single-handedly the most important aspect of any online marketing strategy today. If an activity company doesn't have a good mobile booking solution they are missing out on bookings.
I don’t think the time will come when desktop and laptop usage will become obsolete, but the number of people consuming information on the internet is going to continue to grow. Make sure your business is there to greet them.
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Written by Colm Hanratty
Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.