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Why hotels need responsive websites

19 November 2012


As you begin preparing for the busy festive season, before you know it you’ll be pouring over spreadsheets preparing for the budget and wondering how you can maximize your revenue for next year. Reducing your commission rates with the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), driving more direct bookings through your website, building a better brand relationship with your guests… All these sound promising, but which has the best Return On Investment (ROI)? Well, before you send your wish list of to old St. Nick, you might want to consider asking for a brand new responsive website!


What is Responsive Web Design?

Is it an App? Is it .m domain? NO! It’s Responsive Web Design (RWD). In it’s basic form, a responsive website simply changes it’s layout to fit the device it’s being viewed on. ‘What so special about that?’ I hear you ask. It means that anyone trying to access the content on your website will be able to do so whilst eating their lunch on the desktop computer at work, sitting on the sofa with their tablet planning a weekend break, or on their mobile in the taxi on the way to your door.


Why is that better than the site I’ve already got?

There are a number of reasons why a regular ‘designed for desktop’ site doesn’t stand up to a responsive site, outlined as follows.

Usability and experience

Once your potential guest has waited 10 minutes for those great shots of your beautiful rooms to render on their mobile, they scroll down only able to read the left hand side of the screen. Sure they can scroll from left to right, but in order to read two lines of text, but once they have they are completely lost whereas on your desktop site they were gently being pushed towards your carefully position booking from. When they do eventually find the booking form they find that their thumb is just that little bit to fat to select the date of that weekend they were hoping to book. Responsive website use very clever media queries to reposition the layout of your content so that the user simply has to scroll down to read everything as you intended. Good responsive design also takes into account those touchscreen devices and has buttons and navigation large enough to be selected with the podgiest of digits.

3 sites for the price of 1

No need to design that app or create a mobile version to sit on that .m subdomain, a responsive site means that you get all that and the desktop site all in one. Which means that you only have to update the content on one CMS (Content Management System) and you only have to apply your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) know how to one site. Which also means that your hotels presence on the web isn’t diluted between separate mobile domains and off the grid completely on a mobile app.

Get into bed with Google

Now that we have mentioned the Holy one, it’s worth mentioning that in the wake of solving the mobile dilemma, RWD is Google’s preferred solution.

Sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.


Although it may seem like an unnecessary cost, having a website that serves all mediums of web browsing makes sense when the modern trend is to stand on your own two feet against the OTAs. If your site allows the user to browse and book efficiently, they will be reluctant to hop back onto the OTA’s site to book, and more importantly, bounce back to the OTA and book at a different hotel entirely.


Still not convinced?

If you’re still struggling to understand exactly what a responsive website is and you don’t happen to have a tablet and smartphone to hand, then you can use this very clever tool from Typcast. Simply go to this link and click on the devices at the top of the screen to see how this site we designed for The Pink Hostel in Ghana reacts on different devices.

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