In the past few years, mobile usage has hit some important milestones.
- Mobile phone and handheld device use have begun overtaking desktop use globally
- Online shopping—including mobile—has continued to gain popularity across most demographics
These rising trends prove that in order to effectively win over customers, hotels need to get into the palms of their hands. We look at the reasons why mobile is crucial to the hospitality industry—and how your hotel can take advantage.
Mobile Websites Get Higher Search Rankings
Since April 2015, Google has given search ranking preference to sites that are optimized for mobile. What’s more, leisure travellers often use search engines on their smartphones to look up information. That means your website needs to look good and work well on a handheld device to earn a higher volume of visitor traffic. Work with your web developer to create a mobile-optimized site that’s sized and scaled properly to both a phone and a tablet in order to be attractive and easily navigable on either device.
Leisure Travellers Book on Mobile Friendly Sites
According to a Google 2014 travel report, leisure travellers tend to book via mobile sites, but very few (only 23 percent) will stay on a site with a poor mobile experience. They also rely on their smartphones when choosing leisure activities. Ensuring that your site is easy and convenient to use on a mobile device is key to converting online bookings.
Business Travellers Prefer Booking via Apps
Google’s report also indicates that business travellers, who do more online bookings than leisure travellers, use a mobile app to make hotel reservations. If your budget allows, consider incorporating an app into your mobile strategy.
Apps are Convenient For Guests
When it comes to developing an app, consider customization rather than an off-the-shelf vendor. Be sure your brand is reflected in your app—include quotes or photos of your staff, specific property maps and frequently updated information.
Your app can offer much more than online bookings; for example, you can allow customers to choose their room, participate in a survey, sign up for a VIP program or explore a directory of services and activities near your property. Some hotels have even introduced apps that replace traditional room key cards with digital keys.
Mobile Tech Can Optimize Guest Lifecycle
Besides encouraging more guests to visit your hotel, you can also use apps and other mobile tools to enhance their stay. Hotels have begun embracing concierge apps, which replace the typical functions of a hotel phone and instead put the power of choice and information into the hands of your guests. For example, your app could share restaurant recommendations and allow customers to request in-room dining or even order a drink poolside, with a simple tap on their phone screen. Some hotels have even placed tablets in rooms so guests can look for information, order services or set wake-up alarms, all from the same in-room device.
As a bonus, a mobile presence gives you access to customer behaviour data that can be funnelled directly into your property management system. You’ll have access to another layer of rich feedback and statistics to make sure you continue making every guest’s visit the best it can be.
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