Three Reasons for Hotels to Go Mobile

Your hotel’s guests are inherently on the go — shouldn’t your marketing and loyalty strategy travel with them?

Regardless of whether you operate a quaint, boutique hotel or play host to hundreds of travelers a week, it’s highly likely that your guests are connected to mobile devices. A report by Cisco reveals that as of 2014, there were 7.4 billion connected mobile devices in the world; smartphones account for 88 percent of that ownership. The typical traveler checks into a hotel armed with at least two mobile devices.

Here’s a look at three reasons all hotels can benefit from by going mobile:

The competitive landscape has changed

Your competitors are actively shifting their operations and services to accommodate the mobile guest. According to mobile research compiled by The University of Denver Daniels College of Business, 91 percent of hotels have a mobile website in place, or will by the end of the year. Echoing the importance of having secure and functional apps and mobile sites that accommodate the mobile guest experience, the 2015 Lodging Technology Study revealed that the biggest challenge hotels face is how to meet guest demands with the appropriate technology; the top priority is how to offer relevant and impactful guest-facing mobile solutions and communications.

Consumers are constantly connected during travel

The data aggregator Statistics Brain reveals that 65 percent of same day travel arrangements are made from a smartphone. AdWeek reports that nearly 80 percent of consumers ages 18-44 carry their mobile devices with them for 22 hours a day. And, research from the University of Denver found that aside from using mobile devices to visit a hotel’s website, guests are using their devices to book hotel reservations and pay for rooms and services during their stays. The potential revenue opportunity you can capture with a mobile strategy includes guests at your hotel, along with visitors to your area.

Mobile marketing strategies allow your hotel to target prospects based on behavioral data and geolocation. As a result, you can both stay connected with travelers physically in your hotel, and reach nearby travelers who use mobile devices to find local information, but aren’t staying at your hotel. At minimum, such efforts can increase brand awareness. But ideally, targeted mobile marketing strategies will deepen your relationship with your guests and help you attract new customers.

Mobile can enhance the customer experience

As mobile users become more accustomed to highly relevant online search results, businesses must adapt their strategies to connect with the customer on a deeper level. When hotels leverage mobile marketing strategies based on an emotional, experiential and relevant experience, customer convenience is heightened, and in turn, loyalty cultivated.

For example, guests at Starwood hotels can now bypass the traditional front desk “check in” model to pay for their rooms with the mobile wallet. When their hotel room is ready, they can receive a notification delivered to their mobile device.

Embassy Suites also found success driving loyalty with an experiential mobile gaming initiative that rewarded customers by incentivizing them to collect “badges” (which amounted to free items or points earning potential) on social media. Guests could collect badges by using their mobile devices to “check in” to hotel amenities like restaurants, the fitness center or spa. As a result, the hotel brand collected invaluable customer behavior data, and the customer received highly relevant communications and marketing offers.

Mobile payments are increasingly important for hoteliers looking to capture direct bookings and cultivate brand loyalty. Your guests are always on the go, and mobile payments are a quick and convenient way to meet their needs.

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