Hotel Mobility Strategies that Work - As Presented at HTNG Asia

By Floor Bleeker Vice President Business Solutions, Jumeirah Group | March 25, 2012

Mobility ranked at the top of every technology trend list last year and the opportunities for the hospitality industry are endless. Whether it is revenue enhancement, customer engagement or efficiency gains, there is a broad understanding and acceptance that mobility is on the rise. During the last HTNG Asia conference, which took place from 6-8 February in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Dubai-based luxury hospitality group, Jumeirah, shared its views on strategic mobility issues such as ROI, browser versus app and 'bring your own' versus standardization and integration to existing systems. Here are some of the most important opportunities and issues as Jumeirah sees them.

Mobility ranked at the top of every technology trend list last year. Whether we talk about mobile searches, mobile commerce, mobile productivity, mobile entertainment or location based services.

According to Gartner, more than 500 different models of mobile devices were launched in 2011 and 2.2 billion devices shipped to end consumers. Accenture,in its 'always on, always connected' study, states that from all consumer electronics people are most likely to purchase a new smartphone in 2012 and emerging markets like China and Russia are expected to lead this trend.

Wireless Intelligence predicts that by 2015 there will be 7.7 billion mobile subscribers around the world. Emarketer expects that 70% of the world's population will own at least one mobile device by 2015. Imagine the possibilities.

Google says that the number of searches from mobile devices has already overtaken desktops at nighttime and during weekends. This growth is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. More than 20% of all online travel related queries are now made via mobile and both hotel stays and airline tickets are in the top 5 of items purchased online using mobile phones in the UK alone.

The UAE has the highest number of mobile phones per 1000 people, almost two per person. In contrast, the USA has 'only' 0.8 mobile phones per person. With the UAE being our home base, focusing on mobility as one of our core strategies was an obvious choice.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.