360 Guest Marketing: From Booking to Check Out

By Tom O'Rourke President & CEO, O'Rourke Hospitality | April 23, 2017

Mobile devices are not only important when planning trips, they are indispensable to guests when they are on the actual trip. According to the Expedia and Egencia Mobile Index published last year, travelers rank their smartphones as their top priority when on the go. Mobile devices are so important that survey respondents ranked them higher than a toothbrush or a driver’s license.

The mobile experience extends beyond the point of booking the room—it’s now an integral part of the journey. In fact, more than half of the survey’s respondents agreed to feeling “lost” without their smartphones on a vacation, and 35% reported using their phones more on vacation than they typically do at home.

Today, most hoteliers’ marketing concerns revolve around finding new guests, enticing them to book, and getting them happily checked into their rooms. But what if you thought about how a guest’s journey begins at the moment they book a room? What if you developed a mobile marketing and communications strategy that initiates as soon as they make their reservation with you?

Be with Guests Every Step of the Way

The average smartphone user interacts with their device 150-200 times per day. If your guest books five nights, that’s, theoretically at least, as many as 1,000 opportunities for you to engage with them during their stay!

Once guests are en route to, and then find themselves firmly on your property, the opportunities you have to engage with them are nearly unlimited. You can start to encourage them to take advantage of everything you offer before they even enter your lobby for the first time.

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.