5 Essential Components for a Successful Mobile Strategy

By David Tossell Vice President, DataArt | January 03, 2016

The past 24 months have been dominated by technology companies aiming to improve the on-property experience via the adoption of guest-facing, mobile-based technologies within the hotel environment. On-property guest experience apps and their enabling platforms have attracted the most attention as the leading-edge example of how mobile is helping to evolve hospitality technology. Much focus and industry press coverage has been given to companies producing platforms and apps that enhance the guest experience. Admittedly, check-in, keyless entry and check-out offer exciting prospects for the industry and companies like iRiS, Monscierge, Fingi and Intelity are leading the way to this mobile enhanced future.

Where is the One-Stop Hospitality Technology Mobile Vendor?

What is lacking in the hospitality industry is a one-stop vendor for all things mobile. The platforms provided by the guest experience platform vendors were not intended to be a complete mobile strategy. These platforms do, however, each provide 1-2 components of a comprehensive solution. Until these companies either expand their product lines, or, are acquired or merged into a larger company that provides the missing pieces, the hospitality industry will continue to lack a one-stop vendor for all things mobile. The impact to hoteliers is that they are on their own to create a complete mobile strategy.

The Mobile Building Blocks Are Familiar

In beginning to craft a mobile strategy for hoteliers, let's identify the five "building block" components essential to a successful mobile strategy. They are:

1. Search Engine Optimization
2. E-Mail for Mobile Devices
3. Customer Acquisition
4. Mobile Friendly Booking Engines
5. On-Property Guest Experience

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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.