The Search Agency released another edition of its mobile scorecard analysis, but now for the travel and hospitality industry. What it found was that of the 100 travel sites studied, 8 percent implemented responsive design, 67 percent served dedicated mobile sites, and 25 percent served desktop versions of the site.
The Search Agency rates a website's mobile experiences based on factors like load time, site format, search functionality, click-to-call features, social media presence, and more. Here's a snapshot of the scorecard:
When it came to winning verticals within the travel and hospitality industry, the highest scoring vertical was hotels and casinos, and The Search Agency says it's partly due to "the fact that the top seven highest scoring travel sites on the list are within this vertical."
The top three sites with the best mobile score included:
- Choice Hotels International
- Comfort Inn
- Quality Inn
The Search Agency says those three aren't at the top by accident:
In our analysis, the six highest-scoring sites are all identical. Why? They're all owned by Choice Hotels International, which serves the same mobile experience to separate mobile URLs. In this case, Choice Hotels discovered a mobile formula that worked for them and replicated it across all of their sites.
Here's a snapshot of the top 30 establishments and their scores:
In its research, The Search Agency found that dedicated mobile sites loaded faster on average than those that implemented responsive design.
"Google may recommend RWD as the best way to serve a site on smartphones, but few companies are using it, especially when compared with dedicated mobile sites," the report says. "Our reports consistently show that dedicated mobile sites load significantly faster than RWD sites and desktop sites. With this in mind, Google's additional recommendation that sites load in under one second may perhaps be slightly incompatible with using RWD."
In its report, The Search Agency pins dedicated mobile sites against responsive design using several key factors like speed, maintenance, SEO, and more:
When it comes to targeting the travel and hospitality audience, The Search Agency says be mindful of the demographics, and optimize for that. Using data from Hitwise, The Search Agency determined visitors to travel sites tended to be older:
- 38 percent of visitors are older than 55 years old.
- 22 percent are between the ages of 45 and 54.
- 21 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44.
- 14 percent are between the ages of 25 and 34.
- 5 percent are between the ages of 18 and 24.
Cruise lines showed the greatest proportion of visitors older than 55 at 54 percent.
"Knowing your target demographic is absolutely essential for determining what type of mobile experience to build to match your audience's intent," the report says.
However, does the older demographic suggest that desktop would be the device of choice? Not exactly, said The Search Agency.
"Having an older audience doesn't mean you need to ignore mobile, nor does it mean you can automatically assume that older visitors are mobile-phobic," said Delia Perez, SVP of account delivery and strategy at The Search Agency.
"What’s more, creating a great mobile experience for a smartphone device doesn't mean you can’t also have a great desktop experience. Making sure your site looks great on all types of devices means you won't miss out on the full range of customers visiting from any number of devices."
For more information on mobile performance within the travel and hospitality industry, get the full report here.