Operations

Why You Need A Mobile-Friendly Website

Lexi Tucker
Posted on October 14, 2016

Picture this: A businessman is out to lunch and surfs the web on his iPhone. He’s planning to take his wife on a date for their upcoming anniversary, and wants to travel in style. He presses the link to your website and what he sees is unpleasant — small font, difficult navigation bars, and no option to book or request rates directly from the site instead of having to call. He then moves on to the next link he finds on Google.

You don’t want to be that website. In today’s world of on-demand madness, people want one thing: simplicity. To satisfy this desire, you must have a page that will adjust to whatever platform customers prefer to browse on and book from. LCT spoke with experienced members of the industry to provide you with the information you need to improve your homepage “curb appeal.”

The Great Transition

Brilliant Transportation’s website can be viewed easily on any device.
Brilliant Transportation’s website can be viewed easily on any device.
Although many people still use laptops or desktops for work, mobile devices often dominate our free time. “Mobile now represents 65% of digital media time, while the desktop is becoming a ‘secondary touch point’ for an increasing number of digital users,” according to website Marketing Land. This means when people are browsing for luxury ground transportation, it’s likely they are looking at your site on a smartphone or tablet.

Bill Faeth, founder of Limo University and Inbound Marketing Agents, says this is why having a mobile-friendly website isn’t important — it’s required. “If you don’t have a site that is responsive from a 27-in. iMac all the way down to a mobile phone, you’re going to lose search engine optimization (SEO), and there are penalties (lower website search rankings based on updates to search algorithms) implemented by Google based on poor user experience of non-mobile websites,” he explains.

It’s a necessity for customer service as well. “Everybody has their phone with them, always. People expect it to be able to do more and more. If you’re building anything for the future, the next generation

Richard Fertig, president of Brilliant Transportation
Richard Fertig, president of Brilliant Transportation
doesn’t have a desktop and may not even have a laptop,” says Richard Fertig, president of Brilliant Transportation in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Anuj Patel, director of strategic development at Pontarelli Worldwide Ground Transportation in Chicago, says the importance of a mobile responsive website is obvious, considering how many customers use iPhones even when sitting in front of computers. “It shouldn’t even be an option; it should be the standard. If you asked this a few years ago, I would have said you should do it because it’s going to be the future. But now we are here.”

Mobile Responsive Website VS. Mobile Version Of A Website

The mobile version of a website is almost like a different site because it’s stripped down to all the vital information, but the design is different than your normal desktop site. Making a website mobile responsive will take the elements you see on a desktop, but depending on screen size, will scale them down and enlarge the text.

Steps To Success

Anuj Patel, director of strategic development at Pontarelli Worldwide Ground Transportation
Anuj Patel, director of strategic development at Pontarelli Worldwide Ground Transportation
While there are no defined directions to optimize a website for mobile, operators should remember a few points, Faeth says, “Understanding user intent on mobile is step number one. Step number two is to design it based on what the users want.”

Before building a new website, Faeth would only recommend it if you have more than 1,500 visitors a month. “If you have a smaller sample size than that, you won’t get enough ROI and you’ll have to continue to invest in Facebook advertising or building content,” he says. To track your website traffic, look into downloading Google Analytics, which is free to use.

Weighing Your Options
  1. If you don’t know if your website is mobile-friendly, click here and input your company’s URL.
  2. If you used content management software like WordPress to build you website, you may be able to select a mobile responsive template or theme.
  3. If you don’t use such software, consider hiring a web developer. If your website was created several years ago, a new developer might recommend starting from scratch. This is because new web development techniques and themes may make it more efficient to re-do — rather than modify — your site.

Source: Google

Fertig suggests smaller operations use a content management system such as WordPress or HubSpot to create mobile responsive webpages with ease. “One of your focuses should be on user experience. Is your site clear and easy to navigate? Is it straightforward? Does the user get the information they require?”

If you already have an established webpage, you should contact whoever built or hosts it and ask for a price quote to make it mobile responsive, Patel says. “You might also want to ask your website host why they haven’t told you or suggested converting your site to being mobile-friendly in the first place,” he says.

Michael Campos, sales and marketing executive for Grech Motors, suggests making a list of websites you really like to better understand what look you prefer when speaking to a developer.

“Ask yourself what kind of experience you want your clients to have,” Campos says. “A lot of operators don’t get many people walking into their brick and mortar shop — your website is essentially your storefront. You are trying to create an experience, and investing in your website is another part of that experience for a customer. You want to make it fluid, easy to navigate, and be clear on what you offer and who you are. You don’t get to say, ‘Hey! Come back!’ if they decide to leave.”

Where Do Operators Get Reservations From?
  • Company website 66%
  • Company mobile app 23%
  • Third-party limo websites/lead referral services (i.e. Limos.com) 42%
  • Specialty websites (weddings, proms, special events) 17%
  • Travel booking websites 14%
  • Regional/local travel/tourism sources (CVBs, Chambers, etc.) 19%
  • Industry association directories 55%
  • Phone 29%

Source: LCT 2016-2017 Fact Book

Worth The Cost

Bill Faeth, founder of Limo University and Inbound Marketing Agents
Bill Faeth, founder of Limo University and Inbound Marketing Agents
Unfortunately, optimizing your website for mobile devices isn’t cheap. What you need to remember is although it may be expensive at first, it’s likely you’ll be getting a greater ROI. Also, your customers will thank you.

Client satisfaction alone is a good enough reason to make the investment, Patel says. “If you don’t optimize your site for mobile, you will lose customers. A few thousand dollars is nothing compared to losing an account or making an executive very upset to the point where he starts telling others. At that point, not only are your sales at risk, your online reputation and brand are too. It can trickle down to multiple negative aspects.”

Faeth reiterates building a new website won’t be worth the money if you don’t have the SEO infrastructure as part of it. To see an ROI, you need conversion opportunities. He suggests watching a few Google Analytics videos to understand its potential, and then decide what you want to do with your website. “You have to find someone you can trust who will do it right,” he adds. “Go through the process, get multiple quotes and proposals, have everyone educate you, and then make the decision.”

Find someone who can do it right. “If an operator is getting a website built from scratch and speaks to the designer, and the designer doesn’t seem to understand what a responsive site is, I would run away in the other direction,” Campos says.

Michael Campos, sales and marketing executive for Grech Motors
Michael Campos, sales and marketing executive for Grech Motors
As far as justifying the cost, he believes the same goes for websites as it does for your customers — you get what you pay for. “I would look at the price because it’s important to work within your budget, but I would err on the side of making sure you’ve looked at the designer’s portfolio and the quality and aesthetics of the designs they’ve done before you get too concerned about money.”

 Too many people get burned by hiring someone on the cheap, Campos says. “When the site goes live and there’s a problem, the designer won’t answer your calls for help. Depending on the functions and design you want, prices can range from just under a grand to several thousand dollars. There’s a lot of work involved to get it right.”

Finally, follow your gut when choosing who you hire, Fertig says. “Pay attention to your own preferences when it comes to websites you like and dislike on your phone. Don’t outsource this blindly to some supposed expert. Partner with someone who can show you a portfolio of products that suit your needs.” 

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Related Topics: customer service, Millennials, mobile technology, smartphones, web marketing, websites

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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