Mobile Sites versus Mobile Apps: What hotels need to consider when developing a mobile presence

By David Millili Chief Executive Officer, Runtiz | January 22, 2012

Before we get to the question of whether you need a mobile site or a mobile app, there are two things you should know.

1. Mobile does not replace Desktop

First, while mobile adoption is accelerating in terms of the number of users researching or managing travel, we're not seeing attrition in desktop website demand. Rise in use of mobile does not translate to a drop in the use of desktops for shopping. Consumers are actually using both – maybe initially researching on mobile, deciding and booking via desktop, then revising on mobile.

Mobile site or mobile app, you better make sure your main website is working for you before you can expect returns on your investment in another channel – it will always serve as your foundational sales tool in mobile, social media, and even OTA shopping.

2. Mobile requires connectivity

Secondly, your mobile presence relies on connectivity, which ultimately will be the most important determinant of whether your mobile strategy succeeds or fails. I don't care how well designed or deployed your mobile site is, if it isn't supported by solid and reliable connectivity, then it's not worth it. Servers have generally pushed content based on what platform is being used – smartphone, desktop, tablet, etc. However, the emerging use of responsive web design for hotel sites has ushered in an era of greater efficiency and consistency in the sale of rooms via mobile.

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.