The Final Verdict: Mobile Apps or Mobile-Optimized Sites? (Part 2)

A mobile app or a mobile-optimized website? After some in-depth research, we here at Leonardo bring you a two-piece blog listing the pros and cons of each mobile platform and explain why one is the better choice for your hotel.

Earlier, we took a look at the pros and cons of mobile apps. Today, we’re looking at the pros and cons of mobile-optimized websites and we’ll give you our final verdict on which one is right for hotel marketers.

Mobile-Optimized Websites


  • Immediately accessible – There is no downloading, installation, and/or fees (like there is with apps) when accessing a mobile site.
  • Cost – Optimizing your site for mobile is definitely cheaper than creating your own app (don’t forget you have to create a different app for each unique mobile operating system!).
  • Local search advantages – Mobile-optimized websites appear in search engine results and have a better chance to rank in local search results!
  • Scalability – Sites that are mobile-optimized offer simple cross-platform scalability (can work across a variety of platforms and do not need specific, individual adjusting).
  • Instantaneous updates – Unlike apps, you can update your mobile website instantly – with no red tape or formal approval procedures.
  • Life cycle – The life cycle for mobile-optimized sites tends to be much longer than a mobile app life cycle. Mobile-optimized websites last you longer.


  • Multiple URLs – Instead of just having one URL, you now have two to deal with. This also means that you may require additional SEO work for your new mobile website.
  • Accessibility – A mobile website cannot be accessed offline like an app can be.
  • Limited creativity – Graphics and effects are limited by technology and bandwidth.  You cannot get as creative as you could with an app.
  • Less control – There is less control over how the site looks on different handsets. For example, there are two types of mobile devices: touchscreen and keyboard navigation; how the site will look will differ based on the type of handset.

The Verdict: Mobile-Optimized Websites


Mobile websites are the winner – and some argue companies should ditch the app entirely. Consider these statistics. When it comes to bookings within the travel industry, more travelers are using browsers on their smartphones rather than apps (Tnooz). Also, twice as many travelers reported using a mobile website rather than an app when researching a holiday! (Tealeaf eBooker). In addition, when it comes to shopping, people prefer using mobile websites over mobile apps – and this includes travel shoppers too! (See image below).

mobile chart

Based on our research, mobile-optimized websites are the winner of this battle due to their cost, reach, and convenience. If you would like more information on optimizing your hotel’s website for mobile, download this free eBook on the Best Practices for Mobile Optimization!


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