If you’ve been following Google’s many updates, you’ll notice that they’re becoming increasingly mobile-centric. These updates have significant impacts to your hostel marketing efforts.
Keep reading to learn what they are, and how you can start adapting to these changes to attract more guests to your hostel.
What were Google’s recent mobile updates?
Accelerated Mobile Pages was launched to help speed up the load times for mobile users.
Google is indexing the mobile version of websites first, over the website’s desktop version.
Text ads have been expanded by 50%, giving hostel marketers more space for ad text.
Hostel marketers can place ad bids for specific devices – smartphone, tablet, and desktop.
Responsive native display ads were launched, allowing ads to suit various websites, apps, and screen sizes.
How can your hostel adapt to Google’s mobile updates?
If you’re currently investing in paid search engine marketing, take advantage of expanded text ads and targeted bidding capabilities. Start segmenting your audience beyond location, time of day, and audience, and include device in your segmentation strategy.
However, before you start to adapt your paid search efforts, the first cab off the rank is to make sure that your hostel’s website is mobile-oprtimised. The user experience must be seamless – otherwise any mobile advertising will be ineffective.
Use the following checklist to make sure that you’re in the best place to achieve that.
Is your hostel’s website mobile-friendly?
First of all, use this free tool by Google to check how well you score on Google’s standards of mobile-friendliness.
Then, ask yourself the following questions to make sure your hostel’s website is as mobile-optimised as can be.
Speed to load
Mobile users are extremely impatient – so how quickly your website loads is an important factor in winning over that booking.
So how quickly do they want it to load? eConsultancy reports that 60% of mobile users expect a site to load within 3 seconds.
Hopefully, your site is already loading within in that time frame.
However, if your hostel is trying to attract Chinese travellers, then it probably isn’t. Consider that 85% European websites take 33.1 seconds to load in China, thanks to its firewall!
One quick thing you can do to speed up your website’s load speed is to make sure all image files are as compressed as possible.
User-friendly navigation
Nothing is more irksome for mobile users than landing on a website that’s difficult to navigate.
Make sure that:

  • You use big buttons, as people are using their thumbs to navigate.
  • It’s not too cluttered – use a lot of white space.
  • Use lots of high-resolution imagery.

Those searching on mobile are usually more ready-to-book than those on desktop, so make sure that your ‘book now’ button is easy to find on every page.
A seamless guest experience
From start to finish, your guest’s impression of and experience with you needs to be seamless. This means that the online booking process is quick and convenient, and the follow-up is professional.
Your hostel’s property management system (PMS) needs to have capabilities like:
Rock solid channel manager interfaces to a variety of providers who can connect OTA’s 2-way and provide industry leading booking engines so you can increase direct bookings on your own website.
E-marketing out of the box, so that you can send automated emails or SMS to guests leading up to their stay with useful information, and even an upsell on extras. After their stay you can send them a promo code to build loyalty or pass onto their friends.
In-depth guest profiles, so that you know all of the details about each past guest, and you’re able to segment them for your marketing efforts. You should be accessing this information from one central place – your PMS (not spreadsheets).
Groups management with ease! Rooms can be allocated with gender, exclusive dorm use (great for school or youth groups) and auto bed assignment
Yield & Revenue controls allowing you to set availability caps to specific OTA’s while also maybe holding bed/rooms back for your own direct channels.
Gender management – making sure your guests are safely accommodated in the right bed
If your current PMS can’t do this, consider GuestCentrix, a feature-rich PMS software solution being used across 25 countries to date. Get a free demonstration to see how it works.