Is Booking by Mobile Harder or Easier?
By Gerry Samuels Founder & Executive Director, Mobile Travel Technologies, Ltd. | January 01, 2012
Almost one in five hotel queries already come from mobile devices, says Google, while research firms IDC and Gartner forecast that in the US internet access via mobile devices will surpass PCs outright by 2015. For the hospitality sector, these trends are changing the mobile channel from a "nice to have" to a necessity. What's also clear is that mobile needs to be treated as a separate channel – not as an add-on to existing customer touch points, or an extension of the web channel.
Compared to the PC web, mobile sites and apps score well for convenience: we carry our smartphones with us everywhere. (Most of us even sleep with our phones!) Mobile is a personal, always-on connection – but are mobile sites and apps easier or harder to use than PC websites?
A recent study by Harris Interactive found 73% of people expect mobile booking to be easier and faster than a full-featured company website.
In reality, a good mobile site or app isn't any harder or easier to use, it's just different. The way people use mobile devices to book and manage travel is different to how they use the PC web. The challenge for the industry is to understand those differences and be prepared to offer the customer what they need, when they need, the way they need it.
To understand the challenge better, let's look at how we treat booking flows on the PC web compared to mobile platforms. A hotel website designed for a PC or laptop screen is designed to be the most comprehensive way for consumers to interact with your organization. It typically includes promotions, links to information including meetings and special events, cross-booking opportunities like car rental, social media feeds and so on.
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