As 2016 draws to a close, there has been one movement that has surpassed them all during the last 12 months – mobile.
There are more than 128 million Google search results for ‘mobile hotel bookings’ – and guests are increasingly shifting to smaller screens.
More than 52% of travellers booking trips in 2016 will have done so using a mobile device, according to eMarketer.com. And that’s a year-on-year increase, up from 43.8%.
Google is the dominant driving force behind this shift and has made strong hints around its development in this area.
Recently, Google made headlines with the news that it’s testing a new mobile-first index. The search giant wants its results to reflect the majority of users, who are searching on mobile devices.
As a result, Google’s mobile-first index will rank hotel websites on the mobile versions – even for listings that are shown to desktop users.
With almost two out of five mobile consumers abandoning a travel booking due to a poor user experience, the recommended action for hoteliers to improve is to get responsive.
Google says if your website is already mobile responsive, then you won’t need to change anything. However, if your website doesn’t look great on a smaller screen, the time to act is now.
Mobile micro-moments and dayparting are the ones to watch…
A new report from ‘Think with Google’ suggests that dayparting and mobile micro-moments will inspire new hotel marketing and distribution strategies in 2017. But, how are they defined?
Micro-moments = An immediate response to an impulse driving your guests to act on their needs in-the-moment on a smartphone
Dayparting = By dividing the day up into parts hoteliers can pay closer attention to strategies and be extra-relevant to guests in their micro-moments.
Smartphones allow your guests to act on any impulse at any time. They take immediate action whenever they want to learn, find, do or buy something. When guests act on their needs in-the-moment, their expectations are high and patience is low.
This makes the quality, relevance, and usefulness of hotel marketing more important than ever. Your guests preferences and purchases are shaped in these ‘micro-moments’.
Ultimately, the hotel brands that do the best job of addressing a guest’s needs in each moment will win the booking.
Dayparting changes how hoteliers, just like you, shape your sales and customer relationships. Hoteliers are typically trained to be sensitive to the seasons of the year and how booking demand fluctuates during those peak and off-peak times.
But Google says that when time of searches and bookings are analysed on a daily basis, incredibly relevant insights and moments are realised.
Google’s report urges the hotel and travel industry to pay attention to the seasons of the day. Hoteliers can divide the day into parts – dayparting – and be extra-relevant to prospective guests as they shop around in their micro-moments.
How to tailor your hotel distribution strategy for mobile-first travellers…
We believe there are three key steps for ensuring your hotel’s marketing and distribution strategy is set up to be mobile-first:
1. Create a mobile-friendly website
Your website should have a responsive design that adapts to mobile platforms, and offers simple mobile booking options. It’s important that your content remains the same page-by-page from your desktop to your mobile site. Google recommends this approach.
2. Fill it with useful information
Above all, make sure that your website is informative. Transform your website into a local guide. Provide information about transportation, local restaurants, shopping options, excursions and day-trips.
3. Implement a mobile-friendly booking engine
The booking experience has to be just as mobile-friendly as your website. So make sure your software provider has a responsive booking engine. It needs to be as simple as possible for guests to complete their reservation using their preferred device.
Why seamless integration from looking to booking is the missing piece of the puzzle…
To increase your bookings and generate more revenue using micro-moments, you need to make it as simple as possible for guests to book directly with you on mobile devices – as quickly as possible.
For example, a website builder such as SiteMinder’s Canvas, allows you to create a search engine optimised website. And paired with a fully-integrated online booking engine, you’ll be in the best position to accept direct online bookings to attract and convert those impulsive travellers online.
Use these top 4 tips from SiteMinder for direct booking success:
1. Make sure that the booking experience is seamless
2. No more than two steps is recommended for a quick reservation process
3. Do not redirect your guests to another website, or force them to wait for a confirmation.
4. Allow them to book directly with you and provide them with automatic confirmation of their booking.
Register today for our joint webinar with our partners Duetto and StayNTouch in December when we’ll be discussing the three most important hotel technology trends that you need to capitalize on in 2017.