The Industry Has Spoken: Adaptive Web Design is the Winning Strategy
By Max Starkov, President & CEO at HEBS Digital
industry leaders discussed the prevailing two "schools of thought" regarding Responsive Website Design:
- Responsive Web Design (RWD): The "old-fashioned" way of fitting the same website into small or large screen sizes, and
- Adaptive Web Design aka Responsive Design on the Server Side (RESS): serving the right content to the right device from the same Content Management System (CMS)
RWD vs. RESS: What is the Difference?
The main difference between RWD and RESS/Adaptive Design is the type of web content served on thedifferent devices: desktop, mobile (smartphones) and tablet.
- The traditional Responsive Website Design (RWD) will serve the desktop website across all devices while attempting to optimize the "viewing" experience. This may work for some small, non-revenue-focused websites, but just imagine using simple responsive design and trying to fit Marriott's humongous desktop website (Marriott.com) and all of its 22,700,000 pages, files, folders, PDFs, images, etc. that are indexed by Google onto the iPhone 5's 640×1136 screen.
- Adaptive Web Design aka Responsive Design on the Server Side (RESS) will serve the right website content in the right device category (desktop, mobile, tablet) while ensuring the maximum user experience, relevancy of information and conversions.
Further analysis of online travel consumers and the unique characteristics of each of the "threescreens" explain the need for specialized content on each device i.e. the use of adaptive web design:
Desktop users: The traditional "desktop" travel consumers need as much information as possible,including a minimum of 25-50 content pages per property and another 50-100 specialized marketing and landing pages featuring special packages, promotions and events. Desktop users also place high value on visual galleries with photos and videos, customer reviews and other in-depth information.
Mobile Users: The always-on-the-go mobile traveler requires short, slimmed-down content with anemphasis on property location, area maps and directions, real time "smart rates" and availability, an easy-to-use mobile booking engine and a click-to-call property reservation number. Due to usability and security issues, six of every ten mobile bookings actually happen via the voice channel. Very few people are comfortable entering their credit card information into their iPhone in a public place. Very few hotel mobile websites provide an alternative to guaranteeing your booking without entering your credit card.
Tablet Users: This new breed of tablet users require deep, visually enhanced content about theproperty and its destination. A well-structured, highly visual hotel tablet-optimized website can generate conversion rates several times higher than those of mobile devices. In contrast, tablet users have no issues booking a hotel via their device. A well-structured, highly visual, hotel tablet-optimized website can generate conversion rates several times higher than those of mobile devices.
These user styles reveal why fitting the big and "heavy" desktop website into the smartphone screen orthe hi-res touch screen iPad is not a very smart idea after all, with the exception of very small B&B, inns and property websites.
The Panel on Responsive Design at the recent HSMAI Digital Marketing Conference confirmed ourviewpoint, concluding that:
- Responsive website design is here to stay in this three-screen world we now live in (desktop, mobile, tablet)
- If you want to do responsive design right, Adaptive Web design/Responsive Design on Server Side (RESS) is the better approach
"If I had more time and money, I would go with Adaptive Web Design," shared a major hotel brandexecutive at the conference.
"For those who wish to take redesign a step further and remain cutting edge, the panelists suggestedlooking at adaptive design rather than responsive design." Jason Q. Freed, News Editor for HotelNewsNow.com, wrote in his reporting from the conference. "Adaptive design lives within one content-management system but serves up different content based on what device the traveler is using. It requires sites to change the core content 'down in the depths of the systems' based on the context of the user, Kauffman said." Read Jason Q. Freed's article here.
HeBS Digital has always subscribed to the Adaptive Web Design/Responsive Design on server Side(RESS) approach. A year ago we published an article that garnered many comments on the HOTELS Magazine blog: "Responsive Design, Demystified" where we argued that desktop, mobile and tablet devices should be treated as separate device categories and Adaptive Web Design/Responsive Design on the Server Side (RESS) was the right approach in our industry. Specifically we recommend that hoteliers:
- Treat desktop, mobile and tablet, and their respective marketing and distribution channels, as separate device categories
- Upgrade to the next generation of Content Management System (CMS) to effectively manage desktop, mobile and tablet website content (copy, photos, special offers, events and happenings) via a single centralized dashboard
- Adopt Adaptive Design/Responsive Design on the Server Side (RESS) to serve the right website content in the right device category (desktop, mobile, tablet) while ensuring the maximum user experience, relevancy of information and conversions
- Use analytics tools such as Adobe Omniture SiteCatalyst to determine contributions from and the dynamics of each of the three channels
About HEBS Digital:
Founded in 2001, the firm is headquartered in New York City and has global offices in Las Vegas, London, Europe, Singapore and Auckland. Through its Smart Guest Acquisition Suite, including the smartCMS®, Smart Personalization Engine, Smart Data Marketing, and full-stack digital consulting and marketing solutions, HEBS Digital helps hoteliers drastically boost direct bookings, lower distribution costs, and increase lifetime value of guests.
Part of Hotel360 Technologies, HEBS Digital and Serenata CRM, the most comprehensive Hotel CRM Suite today, are the creators of the hospitality industry"s first Fully-Integrated 360-Degree Guest Engagement & Acquisition Platform.
A diverse client portfolio of top-tier luxury and boutique hotel chains, independent hotels, resorts and casinos, franchised properties and hotel management companies, convention centers, spas, restaurants, DMO and tourist offices across the globe are all benefiting from HEBS Digital"s direct online channel strategy and digital marketing expertise.
HEBS Digital"s technology, website design and digital marketing services have won more than 400 prestigious industry awards, including World Travel Awards, HSMAI Adrian Awards, Stevie Awards (American Business Awards), Travel Weekly"s Magellan Awards, and more.
The HEBS Digital team is comprised of thought leaders, a diverse team of experts comprised of over 33 nationalities speaking over 22 languages. Contact HeBS Digital"s consultants at 1 (800) 649-5076 (North America), +44 (0) 7730 779 213 (London), +64 (0) 9 889 8489 (Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific), +65 9005 1589 (Asia), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mariana Mechoso Safer
SVP - Global Marketing, HEBS Digital
Phone: (212) 752-8186