Travelling towards responsive design?

Responsive design is becoming even more essential as mobile starts to take a bigger slice of the action. But while many industries are adopting responsive to take advantage of new customer trends and opportunities, the travel industry is being slow to get on board. But why?

Currently, none of the top 50 airlines in the world are using responsive design. 76% are using a dedicated mobile site, whereas 22% have no mobile site at all. In the UK the picture isn’t much better. Only Thomas Cook Airlines has a responsive site, while 2 of the top 11 UK airlines don’t even have a mobile site.

Thomas Cook has reported a 30% increase in mobile conversion rates since their switch to responsive.

With more than 1 in 3 visits to travel websites now from mobile devices, it’s noteworthy that travel businesses aren’t making the most of this new and increasing demand by embracing responsive design.

There’s plenty of common-sense reasons for travel companies to adapt. Clearly, when travelling, many parts of the customer journey are on-the-go. But not only that, more people are now using smartphones and tablets to research and book their travel as these devices become more affordable.

Travel operators have always been slow to adapt to changing technology. While the internet has gone a long way to open up the industry, making changes to booking and IT systems has the potential to cause real headaches and disrupt any number of customers. This might be why so many operators are putting off making changes to their current systems.

If travel operators want to get ahead, responsive design is the way forwards.

Rather than adopt a whole new approach with integrated mobile design at the heart, travel companies and airlines have been retrofitting mobile onto their existing systems. Many airlines are adopting apps, but even this can be hit and miss; for example Emirates, the largest airline in the world, currently doesn’t have one.This means customer journeys can become fragmented across online, apps, email and phone. While apps are useful for engaging customers and giving them an offline port of call, it’s important for travel companies to start taking advantage of the increasing customer demand for mobile online options or they risk getting left behind.

With airport Wifi slowly improving and tablet and smartphone use taking a bigger share, responsive websites will not only give the customers a smoother journey but will also benefit operators. As Thomas Cook shows, responsive design also opens the door to more bookings. Making sure that customers, and the devices they’re using, are supported throughout their journey will not only make customer service smoother but also has the power to improve conversion rates.

Source: Econsultancy.com