Interacting and Marketing with the Mobile Guest

By Mike Murray Co-Founder, TripCraft | February 20, 2011

Mobile commerce or "mCommerce" has created a whole new mindset for interacting with mobile consumers and hotel guests. Never before has so much communication power been in the pockets of so many people, and never before have hospitality brands been faced with so many opportunities to engage guests and offer better services, products, and brand experiences.

When marketing through typical channels like the desktop Internet, you have to broadcast special offers, brand messaging, customer service responses, etc., and hope that guests see (and react to) your dialogue. The obstacles are that guests have to be at their computer, and they actually need to see your message in the jungle of eMails, ads, and general spam they receive from other companies trying to engage them.

Mobile on the other hand, provides a more direct and personal means of communicating with customers. This is due to the simple fact that mobile devices are already in the pockets of your guests and (usually) always on. You therefore have many more chances to engage them - especially important during a stay at your property.

Options for Mobile Interactions

The real mobile question is not if, but how you utilize this channel. This should be guided by your overall mobile strategy and which options meet you and your guest's needs. If you don't have a mobile strategy - you need one. There are almost endless possibilities for communicating with mobile guests, but your business needs to adopt a strategy to be successful. It goes beyond simply identifying all possible revenue and service touch points. You need to understand guest preferences for interacting with your brand and what they expect in return. Mobile guests are maturing quickly and have high expectations. So the longer you wait, the greater the chance someone else will fulfill their needs.

Defining a mobile strategy is beyond the scope of this article, so I will simply present a quick overview of typical options available. Just remember these options can be combined into an overall strategy and are not meant to be a list of disconnected possibilities.

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.