responsive-desktop-tablet-phoneThe Holiday season is upon us and chances are if you’ve been watching TV lately, you’ve been hit with dozen’s of ads for smarter phones and sleeker tablets. If you check your website analytics, you’ll likely see more than 25% of your visitors are visiting your website with these devices.  You might even see numbers passing 50%! Many analysts predict that in next 6-12 months, mobile (smart phones and tablets) will overtake desktop web browsing.

So the question is, how well are you serving your mobile guests?

Now is the time to answer that question.

Ducking the Mobi Rope for Full Site Freshies

Years ago, when mobile was gaining popularity, standard websites were difficult to navigate and a number of resorts opted for mobile-specific websites, offering a condensed version of their full sites. While a smart move at the time to save bandwidth, scrolling and screen pinching, the time has finally come to punt the mobile sites into the digital trash bin. Users are now ducking that rope and clicking the “View Full Site” option for the freshest, most complete information on your primary website.

To verify, take a look at your analytics. Check your referrer report to see how many visitors are coming from your mobile site. One of our clients offers a mobile version of their site that drives 42 percent visitation to the full site. Those are all visitors who didn’t get what the needed from the mobile site and came over to the desktop site. We attribute this to guests wanting the full scoop, something they are not getting on the slimed-down mobile site.


Is Responsive Website Design the Solution?

The short answer is yes! Responsive Web Design (RWD) is quickly becoming the go-to format and gaining in popularity because of the way it scales for any type of screen size, whether it's a desktop or an iPhone.

Using a single website that responds to screen size allows the resort to provide all guests with the content they want on any device.  While the design and build process for RWD does take more time and money, it may not be more than the cost of the stand-alone mobile site. Plus the single site approach reduces administrative burden and hosting costs.

Responsive does have challenges. The primary challenge is reducing server calls and file size associated with delivering a desktop site to a mobile device with limited bandwidth. There are solutions though [Read Responsive + Server Side]. However, what is really important and will need a collective industry shove/push/kick is to force ecommerce providers to step it up and provide mobile ecommerce solutions. Many of these providers have yet to get the desktop experience right, so this is clearly a long shot. The only mobile friendly solution we’re aware of is Liftopia Cloud Store.

As we cross the 25%-50% mobile user threshold, it’s pretty clear that the mountain resort industry needs to focus on mobile, and that the mobi site no longer cuts it.