Mobile is Here


Before this spring, “mobile-friendliness” was just another buzzword. But Google’s Mobilegeddon in April finally shoved mobile responsiveness into the mainstream.

In case you hadn’t heard, Google now favors sites that adjust to mobile screens. You know that wretched screen-pinching that you sometimes encounter upon visiting a website that has only been formatted for a desktop? Google hates that, too. Such sites will now appear further down the search results.

All of that should tell you that mobile optimization is not a trend, or even an advantage anymore—it’s a necessity.

A smart choice for your wallet…

Between 2014 and 2015, tour operators found that mobile and tablet visitors jumped from 32 percent to 53 percent. According to booking data from Xola, an online booking and marketing system for zip tours, half of all bookings start on a mobile phone or tablet. Forty-eight percent of people complete their booking from a mobile device, and nearly 30 percent of completed online reservations come from smartphones alone.

This means that on average, mobile purchases generate almost half of the booking volume in the tour and activity industry. So if you still haven’t optimized your website, you’ve been kissing a lot of dough goodbye.

But there’s good news for zip tours: after brewery tours, you lead the way in mobile optimization. Eight of the top 10 zip tours on TripAdvisor have mobile optimized sites.


There is a flipside to this good news, however. Since so many zip lines already have mobile optimized sites, the competitive advantage of this type of design shrinks. Instead, you’re simply keeping up with the Joneses by optimizing your website for mobile.

While the jump to mobile optimization may not set you apart from most zip or aerial park competitors, it’s still worth the Google kudos and bank account boost.

…and a smart choice for your brand

If half of your online booking volume doesn’t mean a lot to you, there’s another reason why you should invest in mobile optimized design.

Your website is one of your most important business assets. For new customers that have never experienced your tour firsthand, the site offers a first impression of your business—a brand, if you will.

So what happens when a potential customer lands on a busted website not optimized for mobile? Don’t expect someone to navigate your website, let alone book a tour, while zooming and scrolling every which way.

You don’t get multiple first impressions. A bad mobile experience could not only chew away at your revenue, but also mar your brand moving forward.

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About Author

Julia Barrero is a contributing columnist for Adventure Park Insider and the head of marketing at Xola, the booking and marketing software that zip lines, adventure parks, and other tour operators. Julia is also the lead writer behind Xola University, a business and marketing blog for tour industry professionals. She claims to have a writer's heart and a scientist's brain, which makes her a natural marketer. She specializes in data analysis for tour and activity companies. Through her blog posts, she hopes to turn tour operators everywhere into Jedi Marketing Masters.

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