Before we left our home to travel to Colorado, I went online to identify interesting places to go. My son William was a bit scornful. He picked up his phone with a helpful air and said, “Siri, find me a restaurant.”
“There are 15 restaurants fairly close to you,” Siri replied, equally helpfully. He chose one and pulled up their nice mobile website and checked the menu. This, William said, was the modern way to do things on a vacation.
True, my phone doesn’t double as a butler, but William wasn’t completely correct. We tried this trick in the middle of Kansas and got nothing. Apparently, the people of Kansas eat at home.
We used the same method all the way across Kansas and in Colorado as well, and found that perhaps 20% of the places we looked for had mobile friendly websites. Museums, shops, restaurants, tourist attractions, hotels, What to Do in Our Town sites — we peered at tiny words, scrolled across the screen, and searched bootlessly for hours and directions.
Google Maps was great, providing walking, driving, and biking directions quickly and accurately. But most of the places we as tourists looked for in the car and on the street were completely unprepared for people using mobile devices.
Josepha shared that some research recently done at MMGY confimed that most travelers now do their preparation on the fly. Just as college students text, “Going to the club” at the last minute, travelers now tend to have a general plan and refine it with their phones once they’re at their location.
Not everyone relies so heavily on their smartphones. If you check your analytics, you’re likely to find that most of your website’s visitors still use a desktop computer to access your website. You might not think mobile is a priority. But travelers use their phones.
One of the places we visited tucked a card in with our purchase and encouraged us to shop with them after we got home. That was smart — we probably will. The others? In many cases, we couldn’t even find a place to leave a positive review.
Do your products and services appeal to travelers? Maybe they would if your website encouraged them. Here’s how:
- Make sure your website has information not only for local people, but also for travelers.
- Make sure your website looks good on mobile devices — and that the mobile version of your site immediately shows the info travelers need .
- Consider the purchase path not only for local people, but for tourists as well — before, during, and after their visit.
- Train team members to remind people of your e-commerce options, explain how to find your product in their home state, or offer to add their names to your mailing list.
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