How the Future of Mobile Will Affect the Hotel Industry
For the first time ever, our clients are getting more revenue from mobile devices than from desktop! Our booking engine is leading the way in mobile conversions, which we are very excited about.
This is an absolute game-changer for the hotel industry, which has gone from relying on travel agents and third-party bookings to in-the-moment reservations made with the swift tap of a finger. The increase of travellers turning to their mobile to book stays and plan their adventures hints that the mobile revolution is well underway in the hotel industry. But what does this actually mean? And, more specifically, what can hoteliers who are keen to increase their direct bookings expect?
We look ahead to try and answer these questions.
Introducing the Mobile Revolution
This year, the global number of mobile phone users is set to reach 63.4% with people spending more than five hours a day on their smartphones. It’s no wonder, then, that more and more people are booking their hotel stays through their mobiles! If they’re doing everything else from the screen in their pocket, from food shopping to navigating, it makes sense that this activity will extend to researching and booking hotel rooms. The mobile revolution has affected every single industry, with more and more customer journeys taking place solely from smartphones.
But it’s not just booking that travellers do on their mobiles. The entire travel experience is now driven by smartphone use!
Guests are also checking in through their devices, taking pictures and uploading them to social media, leaving reviews, and researching things to do while they’re away. With an exploding number of digital interactions like these taking place, hoteliers now have the ability to learn more about each of their guests. This gives them ammunition for creating more detailed guest profiles than ever before and, as a result, they are now able to craft a truly personalised experience for each stay.
What the Future of Mobile Means For Hoteliers
The surge in smartphone use means that mobile devices now play an integral role in every single phase of the guest journey, right from the early browsing stages through to actually booking a room and checking in. Because of this, hotels are having to switch up their strategies slightly to incorporate this new trend.
A fully mobile-optimised website and booking engine are absolute necessities for today’s hotelier.
Here are a few more things to start considering as part of your future strategies in relation to upping your mobile bookings and revenue!
Create Experiences Specifically Designed For Mobile Channels
Taking action on a mobile device is different to taking action on a desktop webpage. This means hotels need to start designing experiences that are specific for mobile channels. This goes further than simply being “mobile friendly”, and instead veers into “mobile-first” territory.
What does this look like in action?
Well, it could be a specific mobile check in portal, or it could be a text notification reminder about their upcoming stay. Think about the ways you can engage your guests pre- and post-stay through their smartphones – and there are many different ways to do this. As we mentioned above, your first priority is making sure your website is designed to be fully functioning on mobile. After this, consider the likes of text messages and even push notifications.
More and more hotels are starting to put mobile first in order to win the long-term loyalty of guests. As they should be!
You see, the easier and more seamless you can make the booking process for new guests, the more likely they are to come back again. And, because most consumers are turning to their mobile devices to research and book their travel plans, you’re instantly making it easier for them by encouraging action from their smartphones. Loyalty is important for direct bookings.
Think about it this way: guests who want to return will go straight to your website and guests that recommend you to a friend are likely to send them to you direct rather than through a third-party or an OTA. What’s more, hotels that incorporate mobile-centric functionality into stays have higher levels of guest satisfaction (and, as a result, are more likely to increase their direct bookings).
Don’t Replace Traditional Hotel Services
Don’t mistake the need for mobile journeys as the downfall of traditional hotel services – these are still incredibly important in providing an enjoyable guest experience. Instead, mobile should enhance the experience while working in tandem with traditional services. You can do this by adding digital touchpoints throughout each stay that help create personalised experiences. For example, you might encourage guests to order room service via their smartphones, but your staff will deliver their meal in a traditional way. Or you might send through a push notification when they arrive offering them a free cocktail in the bar!
Looking Ahead to 2020 and Beyond!
So, where will we see the most mobile advancements going forward?
We’ll start to see more hotels leaning on mobile features to help guests find their ideal room and book seamlessly with the tap of a finger.
During the Stay
More and more guests are researching local attractions with their mobile devices while on-the-ground, but we might also see more concierge features available on mobile devices (like push notifications or the ability to order food from a smartphone). In fact, phones might become kind of like a digital concierge in the future.
Guests crave personalised experiences these days, and data tracked through smartphone activity now allows hoteliers to provide unique stays. This is helped by the arrival of tech-savvy rooms, which might include an in-room tablet that guests can use to plan their stay, or the ability to control lights and sound through a mobile device.
Mobile is Pivotal For Today’s Hoteliers
Guests today demand mobile experiences. These are the devices they are hanging out on the most, and their smartphones are where they’re carrying out most of their daily activities – including booking hotel stays.
If you’re not providing an enjoyable mobile experience, potential guests will jump ship to find a hotel that is. We’ve got the mobile revolution to thank for this.
But this doesn’t mean you need to replace traditional hotel services entirely. Instead, the mobile revolution is enhancing the guest experience and making it easier than ever for hotels to connect and interact with guests directly!
We’ll leave you with one final reminder – without a seamless mobile booking experience, all your effort into mobile-centric enhancements will go kaput. So make sure your booking engine is the right one!