Best Practices of Mobile Website Usability in the Hospitality Industry

The key to ensuring a positive user experience for your guests on your hotel, resort or vacation rental mobile site is to simplify and streamline. Smart phone users are often on the go and are looking to quickly and easily complete their goal. Ask yourself, “What goals would my guests like to complete on my mobile site?” Is it to book a stay on the mobile site? Is it to call in to book a stay? Or is it simply to improve their stay by having easy access to relevant information?

More often than not the mobile user on a hospitality site is looking for your contact information. This could be a phone number to call for booking or other information, or this could be a physical address to use to navigate to your site. The number one rule for hospitality mobile sites:

  • Have your address and phone number boldly displayed on every page of your mobile site and make sure it they are clickable!

Next, since this is not every mobile user’s goal, there are a few more important usability rules to follow. Whatever your guests are looking to accomplish, the first step is to make all goals easier to achieve by cutting down as much excess media and content as possible. Make sure you provide enough content to support your goals but don’t overload the site. Keep in mind while designing your mobile site:

  • Nobody spends much time reading online anymore, never mind on a mobile site. Often times your user is multitasking while scrolling through your mobile site to find something.
  • Cut down to only the information essential to completing the possible objectives of your site so the user isn’t sifting through pages and pages.
  • Help the user find what they are looking for by making text reader friendly with bullets, bolding etc. Use legible fonts in a decent size.
  • Think load time! The quicker your mobile site loads, the better the user experience will be. Reducing media and content helps improve this.
  • Reread your content and eliminate wording or phrasing that is not necessary.

In addition to reducing content on the site, streamlining the design in general is also very important. Your user is all thumbs – literally! The majority of smart phone users don’t have a trackball and must navigate using their fingers.


  • Make navigation buttons and links in general large and easy click.
  • Keep navigation buttons to a minimum to prevent decision paralysis. Make the next choice or step an easy decision for the user. Again, what’s the goal of your mobile site, and does your navigation easily lead your customer to this end?
  • Remember all mobile devices are different. The more simplistic you make your mobile site the more likely you are to avoid issues. One key thing to keep in mind is to avoid tables since many devices display them differently.
  • Because we want the mobile site to be easy to use but would still like users to be able to access the information you have cut down, make your mobile theme easy to turn off. Also, let your visitors know when you are taking them off the mobile site.

Finally, if one goal of your mobile site is to have your guests book on your mobile site, be sure to apply all the above rules to the booking pages:

  • Make the booking process as simple and streamline as possible just like the rest of your mobile site.
  • Only ask for the bare minimum of required information to be entered on a mobile site. Nobody likes entering massive amounts of text on a smart phone.
  • Again, make sure your phone number is prominently displayed so the user can easily call in to reserve.

Photo courtesy by William Hook

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