Becky Power, director of travel, Google UK on how to ‘spark joy’ for travel customers
Obsessed with cleanliness and organisation since her youth, Marie Kondo recalls a life-changing moment as a child. “I had kind of nervous breakdown and fainted. When I came to, I heard a mysterious voice, like some god of tidying. And I realised my mistake: I was only looking for things to throw out. What I should be doing is finding the things I want to keep.”
This moment of enlightenment laid the foundations for Marie to become an international bestselling author with The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Japan’s reigning queen of tidiness has hit new levels of fame with her recent Netflix series, in which she implores audiences to only keep hold of the items that “spark joy” in their lives.
Our tendency to hold onto things we don’t need, needlessly cluttering our lives and slowing everything down, is as true in digital spaces online as it is with our own physical spaces at home. If Marie Kondo thinks that our bedrooms are full of too much stuff, wait til she sees the internet.
For travel brands, mobile is a crucial space to engage new customers and drive purchases. The latest Global Ad Trends report from WARC details exactly how rapidly digital channels are growing. In particular, the report notes that mobile, currently the second largest ad medium by spend, will overtake TV across a number of key markets this year. The report also revealed that “almost three quarters (72.6 percent) of internet users will access the web solely via their smartphones by 2025, equivalent to nearly 3.7 billion people.”
Meanwhile, we know that there are already more searches for some travel categories such as family holidays and luxury travel on mobile than on desktop. In fact, over 90% of travellers using mobile devices will switch to another site or app if their needs are not being met. People expect their experiences online, and particularly on mobile, to be faster and more seamless than ever before, with 65% of all UK adults using their smartphones as the primary device to go online. But although around 50% of Brits think sites should load in less than two seconds, the UK average load time for a travel brand is a whopping 9.1 seconds.
Many travel brands are already getting ahead of this trend – Trivago invested in Progressive Web Apps (PWA), and saw a 97% increase in clickouts to hotel offers for users of the PWA. Meanwhile, Expedia increased its share of repeat mobile visitors to US and UK landing pages by 10% year on year after an industry benchmarking review followed by a full user experience and site speed audit to pinpoint, test and implement key improvements to its mobile site.
From the initial holiday booking to planning activities whilst at their destination, mobile is now key for travellers who want easy and swift experiences on the web. The good news for travel brands looking to improve their mobile conversions, however, is that our analysis showed that the travel sector was one with among the most room for improvement – all made possible through a few simple steps.
To address and combat this lucrative gap between consumer expectation and current site performance, travel brands should take a stance akin to Marie Kondo’s KonMari method and focus on decluttering the mobile experience. As the expert purger of clutter says, “The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t”. With this in mind, here are three simple ways to speed up mobile experience:
Identify the essentials first
Prioritise above-the-fold content over anything else. That way, users consider your site fully loaded earlier on, and can start browsing faster. Having multiple files concerned with font, size, colour and spacing can have a big impact on site speed, so have these load later on.
Box things together
Each resource on your mobile site requires additional requests from the server, so try to group similar files together. Small images under 10KB can also be combined into a sprite format. Sprite formats allow a collection of images to be filed under a single image, reducing the amount of server requests and speeding up loading times.
Keep the boxes light
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on the road to sparking joy for your customers.