MOBILE APPS: What works in terms of promotions, direct bookings and CRM
In this edition’s regular installment from David Esseryk, Chief Digital & Marketing Officer (e-commerce, customer experience, loyalty, brand marketing & IT), SEH United Hoteliers, the “in the field hotel tech expert” takes a closer look at the evolution of in-room entertainment taking into account the changing habits of millennials and business travellers.
Mobile is an important travel planning and hotel distribution channel; a channel that hoteliers must embrace to be successful in 2017. One of the most notable developments this year is that the terms “mobile marketing” and “mobile technology” really evolved to
include not just mobile phones. Tablet devices such as the iPad, Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus quickly became a significant part of the travel planning and booking process. To make matters even more complicated, while mobile phone and tablet devices are considered “mobile”devices, they should be treated as separate distribution channels with their own respective marketing initiatives.
HOTELIERS MUST DELIVER A CUSTOMISED, USER- FRIENDLY EXPERIENCE ON THESE DEVICES BY OFFERING A DESKTOP WEBSITE, A MOBILE WEBSITE AND A TABLET WEBSITE
Hoteliers that recognise there is a need to deliver content tailored to each device will generate incremental revenues, steal market share from competitors, improve ADRs and RevPARs, and decrease dependency on the OTAs in 2017.
When updating each channel, it is important to remember that specialised content is needed for each device. The on-the-go mobile user requires short, slimmed-down content with an emphasis on maps and directions, an easy to use mobile booking engine, and a click-to-call property reservation number. Tablet users require deep, visually enhanced content about the property and its destination. This is one of the main reasons hoteliers serve their desktop website content on tablet devices today. However, the desktop website cannot accommodate the touch-screen navigation required by tablet devices along with the high-res photography and highly visual presentation necessary to display the hotel product in a way that users are quickly becoming accustomed to on a tablet device. The need for a website designed specifically for tablets is clear.
Once all local information across the web is accurate, hoteliers should begin leveraging the power of location, activity, demographic and time targeting.
In 2017, a hotel that only offers a desktop website and ignores the user experience on mobile devices will experience a significant decline in revenue year over year. Hoteliers that implement the latest technologies and best practices in each channel will steal market share from competitors, decrease dependency on the OTAs and generate incremental revenues that will improve the bottom line.