Why Doesn't Your Hotel Get Mobile Bookings?

By Pedro Colaco President & CEO, GuestCentric Systems | January 24, 2016

Mobile technology transformed our lives in a way we never imagined a decade ago. According to comScore, compared to 2010, mobile usage has grown +394% and eMarketer predicts that smartphone users will exceed 2 billion in 2016. If you think these numbers are unrealistic, just look around, you probably will see someone using a smartphone. Mobile has become the starting point for most everyday activities, from texting to checking your office mail or online shopping. Chances are that some of these mobile shoppers may be looking for your business, and if you aren't there, you are missing the party.

The rapid adoption of mobile technologies – 8x faster than Internet adoption in the 1990s and the early 2000s, according to Nielsen – puts in the hand of millions of consumers instantly and permanently connectivity, changing the online shopping scenery. Some recent data shows that 55% of all time spent in online stores takes place on a mobile device. Globally, mobile already represents 34% of e-commerce transactions and by the end of this year mobile share is expected to reach 40%. As consumers are increasingly becoming comfortable in spending their money through mobile transactions, figures are expected to quickly grow. A report by GSMA predicts that by the end of 2017 mobile payments will reach $516B worldwide.

Mobile Technology and the Hospitality Industry

Mobile technology has allowed us to have everything in our pocket: instantly global communication, GPS, restaurant and cultural guides and even high resolution cameras. It is to our closest device, normally our smartphone, that we turn when we need immediate answers and travelers are no different.

Mobile devices are increasingly taking over desktops functions and becoming a traveler's personal assistant, being present on travels from start to finish, from dreaming, planning, booking and experiencing phases.

Data from Google shows that mobile queries in the travel category have grown 50% in the past year. eMarketer's latest forecast of digital and mobile travel researching and booking predicts that in 2016, 51.8% of travelers who book trips online will do so using a mobile device – mostly via smartphones, says the same study.

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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.