Should Hospitality Embrace or Ignore Google AMPs?
May 17, 2017 10:22am
By Max Starkov and Samra Seifu
Introduced in 2016 as Google’s response to other mobile publishing platforms like Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles, Google’s AMP (short for Accelerated Mobile Pages) began to spark interest amongst online retailers across industries.
In hospitality, some website developers have been trying to convince hoteliers that they need to have AMP version of their website.
What is Google AMP? It is an open platform with the sole objective to help publishers create mobile content (articles and commentary, quick opinion postings, etc.) that download fast on mobile and other devices.
AMPs are characterized with stripped down mostly textual content and simple, no-clutter page layouts, and are hosted by Google, which at least in theory ensures fast downloads. Google has restrictions on what type of content can be included on AMPs, utilizes special HTML and coding, and allows only very basic styling (read: Design) of the page.
What should hoteliers do about Google AMPs?
It is immediately clear that AMP pages feature simple, textual/blog-like page layout with stripped-down content. Obviously, the mere objective of the hotel website as the main “digital face” of the hotel and its product and services, and the main direct booking source for the property, goes beyond what an AMP layout can offer.
Today’s hotel planning and booking customer journey is becoming increasingly complex in this multi-device, multi-channel and multi-touch point environment we operate in. On average, the travel consumer goes through 19 different touchpoints before making booking (Google Research). Each one of these touchpoints presents an opportunity for the hotel to build a brand connection, influence intent, and be there for every step of the way. Nine out of ten people are “cross-device” Internet browsers and researchers, using multiple devices sequentially (mobile, desktop, laptop, tablet, wearable devices, etc.) and moving from one device to another at different times.
This is the reason why travel consumers and hoteliers alike prefer fully responsive hotel websites that feature the same in-depth content (visual, textual, promotional) on every device. Having an AMP version of the hotel website for mobile users goes against today’s best practices and is like going “back in circles” and moving away from fully responsive website to the old days of adaptive websites with separate versions for desktop, tablet and mobile.
Here are only a few questions hoteliers must consider before contemplating AMPs:
One of the most promoted features of AMPs is that it promises fast download speeds on mobile devices. We believe that fast download speeds are no longer an issue with today’s CMS technology and in this day and age of 4G LTE and cloud hosting. Any fully responsive hotel website, supported by up-to-date cloud hosting and CDN (Content Delivery Network) and advanced CMS technology should have no issues with download speeds. As an example, here at HeBS Digital we do not launch a hotel website with lower download speed of 95/100 in the Google Page Speed test, even without being an AMP site. In other words, you do not need an AMP site for your property website to download fast.
AMPs are not designed to maximize hotel’s direct online revenue. A stripped down, Google hosted version of the hotel website (i.e. AMPs) goes against the mere objective of what the hotel website is all about. Hotel websites are not news sites or blogs, but complete ecommerce websites featuring rich visual content that have the singular objective of presenting the hotel product in the best possible light, engage the online traveler and generate maximum direct bookings.
accelerated mobile pages,
Founded in 2001, the firm is headquartered in New York City and has global offices in Las Vegas, London, Europe, Singapore and Auckland. Through its Smart Guest Acquisition Suite, including the smartCMS®, Smart Personalization Engine, Smart Data Marketing, and full-stack digital consulting and marketing solutions, HeBS Digital helps hoteliers drastically boost direct bookings, lower distribution costs, and increase lifetime value of guests.
Part of Hotel360 Technologies, HeBS Digital and Serenata CRM, the most comprehensive Hotel CRM Suite today, are the creators of the hospitality industry’s first Fully-Integrated 360-Degree Guest Engagement & Acquisition Platform.
A diverse client portfolio of top-tier luxury and boutique hotel chains, independent hotels, resorts and casinos, franchised properties and hotel management companies, convention centers, spas, restaurants, DMO and tourist offices across the globe are all benefiting from HeBS Digital’s direct online channel strategy and digital marketing expertise.
HeBS Digital’s technology, website design and digital marketing services have won more than 400 prestigious industry awards, including World Travel Awards, HSMAI Adrian Awards, Stevie Awards (American Business Awards), Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards, and more.
The HeBS Digital team is comprised of thought leaders, a diverse team of experts comprised of over 33 nationalities speaking over 22 languages. Contact HeBS Digital’s consultants at 1 (800) 649-5076 (North America), +44 (0) 7730 779 213 (London), +64 (0) 9 889 8489 (Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific), +65 9005 1589 (Asia), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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