Each Issue, we will be serialising a section of the Complete Guide to Hotel Marketing, an eBook by our partners, SiteMinder.com. This week, it’s all about Hotel Mobile Marketing.
The Oxford Dictionary defines a trend as something that is “…developing, changing, or in fashion”. And for a long time mobile bookings could be determined as all of the above.
Over the last five years there have been countless white papers, blogs, webinars, and seminars dedicated to predicting the uptake of guests choosing to book hotels via smaller screens. Google recently announced user queries completed on mobiles have surpassed desktop as the majority Google search type. This has prompted it to introduce a mobile-first indexing initiative, meaning Google will now begin to use the mobile page versions of a domain for indexing and caching in search results, and subsequently, for ranking.
Independent hoteliers need to do everything they can to adapt their marketing strategies, and take a mobile-first approach to attracting global guests.
Everything needs to start with a hotel’s mobile website. The experience delivered to guests before they’ve even booked a room is so important and the way a hotel’s website responds to small devices is the key to mobile marketing success. Ultimately, here are some aspects of your website that should be in place for a good mobile experience:
- Users don’t have to pinch, scroll, or zoom to see information
- Font is legible and content is concise
- The use of Adobe Flash and pop-ups are limited
- Click-to-call functionality is enabled
- Google Maps is integrated so people can find their way to and from your hotel
- Your logo is linked so it’s simple to return to the homepage
- There’s an easily accessible search bar and date calendar
- Forms are auto-filled for returning visitors
- There is contrast between images and colours that make the site beautiful
What this adds up to is speed and ease of use, something Google values very highly.
When it comes to mobile bookings, there are four key consumer ‘moments’ hotels need to be aware of. Findings from Google have show you need to focus on these traveller motivations if you want to convert guests:
- I-want-to-get-away moments
In Australia, 38% of travel site visits come from mobile, and even though for 60% of consumers travel is the biggest discretionary purchase of the year, one in three don’t have a specific destination in mind when they first consider taking a trip.
Hotels are advised to be present when inspiration strikes. By doing a search of common queries you can see if your property features in any of the results and optimise your search engine rankings from there. In millennial groups, up to 50% say they’ve discovered a new travel brand while researching on mobile.
- Make-a-plan moments
When a plan first begins to form travellers most often search for prices, hotel reviews and pictures, flight lengths, and available destination activities, with 69% of travellers worrying they’re not finding the best price and second-guessing their choices. However, 85% say that information sourced on their smartphone helps them make decisions.
Be liberal with the information you display to mobile searchers. While you want to keep things simple, you also want to give them all the information they need to choose your hotel over a competitor.
- Book-it-now moments
This is where travellers are still somewhat reluctant to rely on mobile devices. Only 23% are confident they can find the same information on their smartphones as they can on desktop or laptop.
You can ease the worries of guests by givingbut giving them the ability to cancel mobile bookings without incurring a penalty. You should also eliminate as many steps as possible on mobile and make it easy for people to contact you. For example, you could implement a click-to-call link or button.
- Waiting-to-explore moments
Travellers still turn to mobile even after they’ve begun their trip. Around 85% decide on their activities after they arrive and nearly nine out of 10 expect their travel provider or hotel to give them relevant information. They’re looking for weather-specific information, public transport help, exchange rates, and traffic updates along with other relevant news.
Given 67% of travellers feel more loyal towards a brand that shares useful information with them during their trip, it’s a good idea to offer travellers tips on what to do or where to eat while visiting their chosen destination.
It might sound simple but it’s surprising how many businesses fail to implement a mobile-friendly booking engine into their mobile-friendly website. Today’s booking engines are incredibly powerful and can integrate directly with both your website and channel management solution, via two-way integration, ensuring any direct bookings received are reflected automatically. This means inventory and rates are up-to-date at all times.
By putting a smart engine in place, you will be able to decrease time spent manually updating inventory and increase time spent on the more important things.