By now it’s become clear the future of the travel industry will see hotel marketing and mobile devices go hand in hand, if it isn’t already the case. With this in mind, hotels need to start making mobile marketing a priority and keep mobile users front of mind with mobile-only strategies.
There is tremendous value to be had in running mobile-only promotions and rate restrictions for your hotel, that is supported by some interesting insights. Implementing smart and effective mobile strategies will boost customer experience and keep your hotel competitive within an industry that never stops innovating.
Year on year, nearly every statistic points to an upsurge of mobile usage on hotel, travel, and booking websites, with projected numbers even more prominent. As quick as online booking overtook more traditional and outdated methods, mobile is starting to usurp desktop.
Here are just some of the stats
- 42% of travellers worldwide use a smartphone to plan or book their trip.
- Mobile searches via Google surpassed those on desktop for the first time in 2015.
- 70% of mobile searches result in an online action within an hour of the original search.
TripAdvisor has also uncovered some very important data showing the difference between ‘connected travellers’ and ‘overall travellers’. Their research included these findings:
- Connected travellers plan activities in and advance and book directly, 45% of them on mobile.
- 45% want a mobile app with booking functionality yet only 16% of accommodations provide this and 34% want mobile check-in, however this is only available with 11% of providers.
- Connected travellers consistently place more emphasis on the importance of ratings on review sites, TripAdvisor reviews, recommendations from friends, amenities, and discounts or promotions.
- Connected Travellers are more influenced by user-driven content such as TripAdvisor, travel guide websites, word of mouth, online content from friends
- Connected travellers were most likely to visit China (61%), Australia (57%), and Thailand (55%).
Why should you run mobile-only promotions
Perhaps the most pertinent statistic comes from Adobe, who analysed some 15 billion visits to US travel, airline, and hotel websites from 2014-2016. They discovered that while 52% of travellers used a mobile device to find information, only 21% converted that into a booking.
This means that the traffic is there, very soon the vast majority of engagement on booking sites or your website will be via a mobile device or smartphone, so it makes sense to tap into this market and entice more bookings with exclusive offers.
How will these promotions help and how do you make it happen?
Mobile-only promotions will encourage more bookings
If so many people are streaming through your channel via mobile you need to make sure you’re securing revenue from it. Offering a mobile-only promotion will convince them to make their booking as soon as they see it rather than planning to book later on a desktop, which may not eventuate.
Mobile-only promotions will speed up conversions
Offering a deal that is only accessible when browsing on a mobile device will lead a customer to believe they’re getting ahead of other shoppers, which they will be, and they don’t want to miss out if they don’t take advantage of it immediately. This is similar to but more specific than other practices such as online-only discounts.
Mobile-only rate plans mean direct bookings
By restricting a rate plan to mobile-only, users will only have one choice if they want the deal. They won’t be able to book via desktop or an OTA, only through your booking engine meaning you reap the rewards of an ever increasing global mobile market.
Mobile-only promotions will provide you with powerful data
When guests are using their mobile to book and using it during their stay to interact with your hotel, you can track their preferences and analyse how you can further personalise your service, improve guest experience, or attract more business.
You’ll also be more flexible with your strategy and better see the impact mobile is having on booking behaviour.
How to take advantage of the opportunity
There are a couple of reasons less than half of mobile users are choosing not to make their final booking on their device.
- One is that a hotel’s website is dysfunctional and frustrating to use on mobile.
- The other is that the booking engine simply doesn’t have the capability to run mobile-only restrictions on promotions or rates.
First things first, you’ll need a mobile optimised website which will attract traffic and remain as user-friendly as a desktop browser. Ideally, you want navigation to be as simple as possible, loading time to be almost instant, and a seamless booking process that is as quick and easy as the guest wants. Investing in a modern website builder will eliminate this worry for you.
Secondly, your booking engine needs the capability to run promotions with restricted rates to mobile-only, while keeping a painless two-step booking process. A product such as SiteMinder’s TheBookingButton has this ability while also integrating with your website and The Channel Manager.