Why travellers now prefer to make bookings on a mobile app

  Posted in Mobile

People now prefer to make travel and hotel bookings via mobile apps. Wait, do they? The answer is yes and it will only become a bigger yes in the future.

If the statement takes you by surprise, it probably means you’re in the majority of hoteliers who haven’t implemented a mobile app into their business strategy. While over 75% of properties admit the importance of an app, only a quarter are currently utilising one. It’s no longer quite enough to simply have a mobile-friendly web experience. This is expected. Now, guests are excited about booking and managing stays on an app.

The travel industry is expected to contribute US$17.3 billion in global revenue by 2020. When every traveller is equipped with a smartphone, a mobile app domination was bound to happen. The sheer growth of mobile traffic was a precursor to this reality. In 2010 less than one percent of overall digital traffic was from mobile, and as of June 2013, around 40% of overall digital traffic was from a mobile device. Marriott International, ever at the forefront of innovation, immediately launched mobile check-in via their own app to compliment the mobile bookings they were already accepting.

Fast-forward another few years and 85% of travellers already use smartphones to plan their leisure trips with travel apps ranking seventh for the most downloaded category of apps.

For further evidence, consider these survey stats from Travelport Digital:

  • 58% of people prefer apps to search for flights
  • 53% preferred apps to find accommodation
  • 82% of travellers said they will be downloading the same number or more travel apps than they did the previous year
  • 35% like the immediacy of push notifications to keep them up to date
  • 90% of travel industry professionals said they were investing in mobile in the coming year
  • 60% of travel brands are looking to enhance or replace their app this year

Why do travellers prefer mobile apps to manage their trips?

The simple answer is that apps make things quicker and easier, providing they’ve been well developed of course. Convenience and personalisation is the order of the day and, while there may be warring debates about the role technology plays in optimising these desires, apps are proven to be effective in this area.

Here’s why:

Apps make bookings easy

With a travel app, it only takes a few taps of a finger to research accommodation, find reviews, check rates, and make a booking. With the easy user experience apps are famous for, most people could do it with one eye open.

Apps simplify transactions

Paperwork is wiped off the map with mobile apps. Travellers can keep multiple documents including reservations, emails, tickets, receipts, confirmations etc. all in one place to be accessed at a moment’s notice.

Apps are an attractive proposition for buyers

With growing number and popularity of apps, it means there’s a lot of competition between them. Travellers can carefully consider which one they want to use so often it may come down to what discounts or rebates suit them best.

Apps improve service and communication

Industry apps provide customised services which include tour packages for different purposes and types of travellers. Travel agencies have become quite conscious in paying attention to the specific requirements and priorities of their customers. There’s also travel apps that include emergency help, such as in the event of a natural disaster. For visitors, knowing where to go and what to do could be lifesaving.

Convenience and personalisation is the order of the day and, apps are proven to be effective in this area.

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How can you win travellers over on apps?

Many travel apps will operate in a similar way and, as stated, will make similar offers to remain competitive. So what can make your hotel stand out?

Storytelling

If all you’re giving travellers is a price it will be very hard for them to distinguish you from any other deal and therefore reduce the likelihood of them booking with you. Engage users with fascinating stories and beautiful photos of desired destinations. Wrap a compelling story around a hotel deal. The more you can tell them about what they may experience the more you can entice them to buy.

Local guides

If your hotel can act as a local guide and give guests handy recommendations and advice, it will significantly improve their experience. This might mean informing guests of local dining options and giving directions to nearby attractions.

In-hotel features

It’s important your app offers something exclusive for guests. For example, you might have a section where they can quickly contact the front desk or make requests, check the availability of amenities and make bookings, or accept offers like wine tasting or exercise classes.

Allow your app to stand in as the front desk

The more guests can do autonomously, the happier they’ll be when it comes to small tasks. Letting your guests check-in and check-out straight from their app is a good first step.

Give guests more control with their app

Instead of requesting certain things of your staff, it would be much better if your app could fulfil what your guest needs. Integrate the app so they can order room service, control room temperature, operate the TV and other technology straight from their mobile.

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