Why hospitality brands need to care about the importance of mobile in a post-pandemic world

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By Matt Brooks, Product Delivery Manager – Mobile Applications, Zonal


For most of your customers, their mobile device will probably never be more than a few metres away from them, so it’s likely that a customer’s first, last, and possibly only digital experience of your hospitality brand will be on their mobile device.

In fact, the 2020 Ofcom UK benchmark found that over four-fifths of time spent online is now spent on mobile devices in the UK. What’s more, the world’s biggest search engine, Google, switched to mobile-first indexing in March 2020, which means that it primarily uses the mobile version of a site’s content – instead of the desktop version – to rank pages from that site, proving just how important the experience of your brand is on a mobile device.

On top of the natural growth of mobile devices, the pandemic has accelerated usage even further in our everyday lives, including how we now work remotely, browse and shop online, and stay in touch with our family, friends, and colleagues.

What is a mobile-first strategy?

 A mobile-first strategy is a term that has been around for just over a decade and is used to describe an approach where digital interactions are designed and created with mobile devices front-of-mind. Mobile-first, however, doesn’t mean mobile-only; it should mean that the experience has been optimised and tailored for a mobile device.

We’ve included some top tips and pointers below, to help you ensure your guest journey is mobile-optimised:

  • Walk through a typical guest journey, considering the points of engagement with your brand that would take place on a mobile device
  • Validate Google’s mobile-first indexing – check your website on mobile – how does it display? Can customers easily and clearly do all the things they need to do such as look at menus, access directions and book?
  • Ensure that all email communications are mobile-optimised and easy to read without pinching or expanding the screen to read the text
  • Remove any potential barriers on your website, your order and pay at table service, mobile app or any other digital platforms that would prevent the customer from completing their task
  • Ensure that ‘guest checkout’ is available for transient or infrequent customers
  • Ensure that a consistent brand experience is shared across the real world (in-venue) and digital world (online on your website, your digital platforms and 3rd party services).
  • Ensure that privacy is put front and centre
  • Include mobile as part of an overall technology strategy

And the benefits if you get it right?

  • It will meet the needs of your customers, who primarily access your brand using a mobile device
  • It can help simplify interactions, shortening the number of steps needed to be taken to perform an action
  • It will allow you to prioritise the most important content that you want to show and your customers want to see – this is sometimes referred to as “content-first”
  • You will build stronger customer relationships, leading to improved loyalty and retention
  • The experience of your brand and guest journey will be consistent, regardless of the platform used, leading to better brand awareness and positive customer sentiment

The future of mobile will continue to be dictated by customer behaviour and tech innovation, but one thing the pandemic has shown is that the hospitality industry is more than capable of adapting quickly to these needs.

Get in touch with Zonal today to discover how our connected technology solutions are helping hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes to understand and enhance their customer journeys, make significant service improvements and exploit new revenue streams.

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