Mobile Marketing: Enriching and Monetizing Today's Guest Experience
By Brenda Fields Founder, Fields & Company | February 13, 2011
Contending with today's powerfully evolving mobile landscape, small chains to independent hoteliers are faced with a new challenge of quickly acquiring expertise in a 24/7 marketing environment, created by the rapid evolution of technology and the never-ending opportunities to deliver higher levels of customer-centric initiatives with more efficiently generated revenues.
Throughout 2010, internet-enabled mobile enjoyed immense growth, primarily due to the rapid ascendancy of smartphones. In the U.S. alone, they are now at 61MM in the U.S. and climbing. Smartphones have played a sleek and trendy "star role" in defining today's "hand-held" remote on multiple professional and personal levels, with the core areas focused on guiding, organizing and communicating, all to support increasingly "wired" lifestyles.
Statistics bear out that one of the industry's most sought after segments, the business traveler, is also increasingly reliant on mobile devices to search, plan and book their trips, whether on the road, at the airport or on the train. According to PhoCusWright, 67% of all travelers and 77% frequent business travelers use their devices to find local services such as lodging and attractions.
Now with the new year, it is apparent that a paradigm shift is happening in consumer-direct marketing, eCRM and alternative "hand-held" distribution channels, due primarily to the immense popularity of smartphones. These gadgets are a hand-held computer, TV, phone, game and video player, all in one.
A mobile strategy can be a stand-alone or part of a comprehensive digital strategy program. According to Kathleen Taylor, CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. "…digital wasn't even on our radar fifteen years ago. In 2011, it represents more than half of our total marketing budget."
Mobile Commerce Daily, January 12, 2011 stated that InterContinental Hotels Group's fastest-growing revenue channel is mobile commerce. Driving the growth rate right now seems to be the adoption of smartphones, as call-centric phones continue to be replaced by more multifunctional mobile devices where calling is just one thing you can do on it. Del Ross, vice president of sales marketing for the U.S. at IHG, Atlanta stated "We continue to see improved functionality and incredible growth for the foreseeable future. The adoption rate of our apps is great, and the booking rate and transaction volume is growing like crazy."