Before we get into how travel reviews fit in, let's have a reminder of some key statistics about mobile.
In 2014, approximately 40% of leisure travelers and 35% of business travelers will use mobile search engines to find hotels, and this number will only grow, with 72% of travelers worldwide saying that the ability to book via mobile device is useful.
NB: This article is written by Margaret Ady, marketing director at TrustYou.
The rapid move to mobile research and bookings means travelers require easier ways to access content.
As travel sites evolve to accommodate mobile users, so must content-heavy online travel reviews.
A recent article about Adaptive Web Design reiterates what we already intuitively know about mobile users: tablet users "require deep, visually enhanced content" while mobile users require "slimmed-down content".
This means that to increase mobile conversion rates, you need less text and more graphics.
A typical look at a hotel on a review site (via laptop) will bring up reviews from 50 to 400 words. Yes, 400 words.
This is digestible on a laptop, but on any other device, even 50 words may be too much. At the same time, travelers need more than the standard "4 dots out of 5" rating system to feel that they really understand a property.
They need some mobile-friendly middle ground.
Here are a few things to consider when presenting travel reviews on mobile devices:
Reviews are necessary to increase mobile conversions
According to Bazaarvoice, mobile shoppers who view customer content show a 133% higher conversion rate.
Not only are travel reviews critical in decision-making, it’s now a requisite to make them easily accessible on your hotel’s mobile optimized sites and apps.
Summarize and optimize reviews for mobile users
As mentioned above, most reviews are just too long for the mobile traveler. Meta-Reviews distill thousands of reviews down to the most important details and then present them to the user in a super digestible format.
These review summaries do the heavy lifting for the traveler. Instead of reading review after review, travelers can see the big picture - service is exceptional but the food isn’t, the swimming pool is dreamy but the drinks are expensive, and so forth.
This is a much easier way for travelers to get the information they need, in general, and especially on mobile devices.
Visualize review content
Consider how review summaries are presented. There are many options that offer more information than the current five-point rating systems but less detail than the lengthy written reviews travelers are dependent on now.
Reviews can be summarized in a bulleted list, as bar charts, highlights of "tops and flops", and more. Ensure that no matter how you choose to summarize and present reviews, they look good on all mobile platforms.
Here’s how Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts present Meta-Reviews on an iPhone, for instance:
And here is a great example from Wego. So much easier than reading even a fraction of those 6,764 reviews about this property!:
Bottom line: to increase mobile conversion rates, it is important to provide travelers with reviews in a format that fits the platform. On mobile, this means summarizing reviews in an easy to digest and visually appealing format.
NB1: This article is written by Margaret Ady, marketing director at TrustYou. It appears here as part of Tnooz's sponsored content initiative.
NB2:More information about Meta-Reviews.
TrustYou aggregates millions of online reviews, social mentions and other user generated content and boils this data into usable, actionable insights that allow hotels, restaurants, destinations and intermediaries to improve their services and positively influence travelers’ decisions.
NB3: Mobile review image via Shutterstock.