Improving the Mobile Travel Experience One Check-in at a Time
By Ashley Eckel Director of Marketing, Zoove/StarStar | January 12, 2014
Due to the near ubiquity of smart phones in America, there are roughly 150 million people in the U.S. alone with a GPS in the palm of their hands, and knowing where your audience is -- especially for a travel brand-- is invaluable information. It allows companies to customize content, be it mobile video, discounts, apps, sweepstakes, etc., and deliver it to a specific audience in a specific location where that content will be most relevant and actionable for the customer.
A company like Hilton, for example, that has properties across the country can use mobile GPS technology to identify a New York City or Los Angeles audience member instantaneously in response to them checking-in with a mobile prompt and immediately deliver coupons to incentivize a stay in a nearby hotel. They could also use the same information to deliver apps or other kinds of content to enhance the experience of travelers already staying in a location. The limitless potential of mobile technology is changing the advertising game and helping travel brands deliver compelling and, most importantly, relevant information to on-the-go audiences.
How is the Check-In Evolving?
While the mobile check-in as we once knew it enjoyed its time in the spotlight, it didn't quite have the staying power everyone initially banked on. Even the almighty Foursquare reconsidered its game plan as evidenced by its latest platform update, which features expanded app functionality prioritizing non-check-in features like recommendations, comparisons, and insider tips to drive people into businesses. This doesn't mean, however, the check-in trend is over; it's simply getting smarter. And the travel industry is taking notice.
The main difference in this next generation of check-ins is defined by the value both the user and the businesses receive from one another. In its original form, check-ins provided only the social value that came from reporting one's whereabouts to friends or being in the hippest location. In this new iteration, however, the value of a mobile check-in shifts away from the social realm and toward the commercial arena where businesses and consumers can use the check-in for mutual benefit. Powering this evolution is a new concept that combines geo-fencing technology with on-the-go mobile prompts that can only be activated via consumer's cell phones to deliver relevant content and customized experiences to the proper audience the moment they request it.
OK, So How Do We Use It?