Mobile Technologies Transform the Lodging Industry
By William Collins Executive Director Vertical Market Strategy, Heartland Payment Systems | January 22, 2012
Walk down any street in the United States, as well as other countries, and it is obvious that smartphones and tablets have become indispensible. Beyond conversations and emailing, consumers use them to check movie times at the nearest theater, pay for a variety of goods and services, make restaurant and hotel reservations, and much more. In fact, 29 percent (and rising) of U.S. mobile subscribers over the age of 18 have booked hotel stays on their smartphones, according to comScore Inc.'s September 2011 Custom Mobile Retail Advisor Survey.
Perhaps one of the hottest trends is the growing use of mobile payments. PayPal recently reported that during the 2011 holiday season, more than 67 percent of consumers planned to make a purchase using a mobile device. According to Juniper Research, mobile payments are expected to grow 40 percent, reaching $670 billion in transactions and 2.5 billion users globally by 2015.
Consumers are creating a veritable groundswell for mobile technologies and today's mobile marketplace is overflowing with opportunity for all service providers, particularly hoteliers.
How Does the Lodging Industry Use Mobile Today?
With mobile technology constantly evolving and improving, there are already several popular mobile uses that hotels have implemented and consumers have readily accepted. From mobile optimized websites for easier booking and click-to-call reservations, to New York City's Plaza Hotel furnishing its rooms with iPads complete with a concierge application that enables guests to order room service, make future reservations and interact directly with the hotel concierge, it's clear that the power of mobile technology is literally in the palms of guests' hands. Other solutions, such as mobile check-in, event or discount promotions, communicating with loyalty rewards members, spa appointments and golf tee times via smartphones and tablets are gaining traction as well.
As the industry recognizes the power of smartphones and tablets to engage current and potential guests at every step of the lodging experience, hotels are putting more resources toward mobile marketing. A 2011 poll conducted by TravelClick revealed that 50 percent of hotels plan to allocate more of their marketing budgets toward mobile initiatives in 2012.
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