The Growing Importance of Mobile Marketing Strategies for Hotels

By Jennifer Dunphy Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Vayu Media | January 05, 2014

Over the past two years, multiple studies have confirmed the importance of mobile marketing and the improved performance metrics of mobile vs. other avenues of digital advertising, especially as it pertains to the hospitality industry and hotels. Now, newer studies are starting to reveal more subtle insights into mobile consumer behavior. One study even revealed that an overwhelming 50 percent of travel-related mobile queries result in a purchase.

With society's hyper-connected mentality and with over 75% of the world having access to mobile phones, and over 50 million people using tablets in the US alone, the possibilities of where mobile is poised to go is infinite.

So why is it that mobile communications are able to yield such tremendous returns for marketers? It is because effective mobile campaigns allow you to speak to your guests personally, targeted to the right time with a sense of urgency when they are ready to book their accommodations. Studies have shown that up to 42% of US consumers prefer to get offers delivered via text and 97% of mobile subscribers will read a text within 15 minutes. Can you imagine the power this could have to turbo charge your current marketing efforts?

The Facts

The number of smartphones in use worldwide has now exceeded the 1 billion mark. To put things into perspective, last year, more people purchased smartphones than PCs. Even with the glaringly obvious potential for marketers to capitalize on this skyrocketing growth of mobile device adoption, only a dismal 15% of companies have a mobile optimized site. To further magnify marketers' mobile sense of urgency, Google estimates that there will be more Web traffic via mobile, than through PCs this year.

With infinite ways to chop and dice data, the one thing all the results have in common is that the numbers are all in favor of mobile' role in the future of hotel marketing. For good reason, the mobile travel behavior and mobile usage of hotel guests have been receiving a lot of attention over the past few years. Millennial Media published data showing that the travel category has moved from ninth to third position in terms of mobile ad spending in the course of one year from 2011-2012.

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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.