Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Conference: Mobile followup

For those attending our Doing Mobile Right seminar at the Mid-Atlantic Conference in Baltimore, MD (as well as those who missed it) we are publishing a followup with direct links to many of the utilities we discussed during our seminar.

As we covered, all mobile sites are not created equal.  A good mobile website is more than just a simple webpage.  It adapts to fit devices viewing it, offering special features when available without alienating those with older technology.  Put another way, although it’s much cheaper to offer a one size fits all approach to mobile websites, you are doing yourself and your guests a disservice.  Why should users on a tablet be forced to see the same tiny graphics meant for the optimal experience on an early, low-resolution display smartphone?

ready.mobi offers a fantastic service, allowing you to plug in a link to any mobile website to get a great deal of data.  The utility will give you an in depth analysis of your mobile website, offering up suggestions on improving the experience as well as a simple numerical rating.

User Agent Switcher (Firefox | Chrome) allows you to impersonate various devices, from Blackberries to iPhones and many others, all from your desktop computer.  This easy to use plugin installs quick and easily to Firefox or Chrome web browsers, allowing you to see exactly how your mobile site displays on various devices.

We’ll provide additional links and information as trends continue to evolve.  Remember that all mobile devices are not created equal, and the pool of traffic visiting your website is becoming increasingly likely to come from a tablet or smartphone.

New: Link your booking engine from your mobile website!

2012 has been a good year.  After a few delays, we were excited to bring InnsMobile and all that it offers to the PAII national and Mid-Atlantic regional innkeeping shows.  In addition to bringing the most competitive mobile product available on the market to innkeepers throughout the country, we were able to get a lot of great feedback.  You asked, and we’ve listened.

Add online reservations to your mobile website!

After much deliberation, we threw the switch.  InnsMobile users may now activate their online reservations link on their mobile site.  To do this, simply log into your account, visit the Create/Edit My Listing page, and then select your homepage for editing.  About halfway down the page, you’ll see the following:


Do note that if you’re fortunate enough to have a booking engine with mobile capabilities, you may want to ensure that you do not need to use a separate web address for the mobile version.  For more on booking engines and the dangers of using a non mobile-friendly booking engine with your mobile website, click here.

Auto-Redirect is here!

Our recent reveal at the 2012 PAII National Show in Little Rock yielded a lot of valuable feedback from our customers.  By far the most inquired-about item was browser detection.  After all, you already put a lot of money and effort into having your website listed as high as possible on various search engines and directories.  When people on a mobile phone find you in that manner, it’s only natural that you’ll want them to automatically see your mobile website rather than having to look around for an icon to click.

We have your solution.  Current subscribes can log in and navigate to their “Innkeeper Resources” page to find a snippet of code which can be copied and pasted into the header area of your website’s homepage.  If you’re unsure of how to do this, your webmaster will be able to help without issue.  This code can also be fed into our Word Press plugin for full word press sites, making it easy for you to redirect new traffic directly into your mobile website.

Mid-Atlantic Conference 2012 Presentation

Our presentation, InnsMobile:  Going Mobile in 2 Hours, is available for download now.  This is the presentation we gave yesterday at the Mid-Atlantic Conference in Williamsburg, VA.  If you missed the seminar, we highly encourage you to have a look.  There’s a lot of useful information for anyone shopping for a mobile website.  If you’re at the show, be sure to drop by our booth and say hello!

Download:  InnsMobile: Going Mobile in 2 Hours

Changing your mobile website theme

Did you know that InnsMobile offers an ever-growing list of themes to choose from?  Altering the color scheme of your mobile site to better match your regular website can give it a nicer, more customized touch.  Better yet, we’re constantly adding new themes.  To browse our themes, simply log into your account and visit the Update My Listing area.  Manage your homepage.  At the bottom you’ll see a series of links divided into steps.  Step 3, Select a Color Scheme for your Listing, will take you to the theme selection screen.  You’ll see previews, all of which have a selection button beneath them.  Simply click the button beneath the desired theme, and that’s all you need to do!

Do you have a theme request?  Facebook or Email us with your request, and you might just find it as a part of the next content update.

Why shouldn’t I link to my booking engine in my mobile website?

Of all the questions posed to us, this is one of the most frequent.  Fortunately there’s a fairly simple answer.  At this point in time, no booking engine that we are aware of offers a truly mobile friendly user experience.  That’s not to say that popular devices – iPhones, Droids and tablets running on the same operating systems – cannot run several booking engines.  However, they cannot do so reliably.  Some users may experience excessive issues trying to select dates or specify other parameters within a typical reservation form, and information is not displayed in a format meant for mobile devices.

So if it “sort of” works, why not use it?

Part of the InnsMobile mobile website experience is a standardized click-to-call button.  While the functionality to add a similar button through which you can direct clickers to your reservation engine would be a simple feat.  However, until a booking engine can offer a truly mobile platform for visitors, we feel it’s not in your best interests to present it.  The last thing you want is for potential guests to waste half an hour trying to navigate a reservation system on their mobile device only to end up having to call you frustrated and flustered.  Worse, they might not even call at all.

This seems silly.  What are booking engines waiting for?

This is another remark we hear very often, and unfortunately we do not have an answer.  While going mobile is not simple for any major service provider with a need to give customers an online interface, the reality is that mobile is here to stay. Mobile is not a buzz word, and the portion of internet traffic that it represents will only grow.  With that said, it’s imperative that booking engines get with the program.  The only way to make this happen is to contact them!  We strongly encourage you to contact your online booking engine provider today, and request that they make mobile a priority!

Official InnsMobile WordPress Plugin

For our InnsMobile users with a website built fully in word press, we have a simple solution for automatically detecting mobile visitors and delivering the appropriate mobile friendly page to them: InnsMobile Official Word Press Plugin.  This easy to install plugin will allow you to plug your redirection code into your word press driven website.

Download the [self-hosted-plugins slug=innsmobile-redirect]