During the course of the last several years, there has been a global explosion in the technology and usage of mobile devices. According to figures from Google for example, 21% of all hotel searches originate from mobile devices. This includes both tablets (7%) and smartphones (14%). These are the latest figures available from 2012 and indications are that the numbers will be even higher in 2013. For many types of businesses, especially the hospitality industry, it is absolutely crucial to embrace the opportunities presented by mobile and integrate the technology into everyday operations, hotel reservations, and hotel marketing.
Hotel Mobile Marketing
Having a hotel app is the key to leveraging mobile technology for the hospitality industry. Conventional, desktop-optimized hotel websites are very difficult to read and understand on a mobile device, especially a smartphone. A specifically branded hotel app that is available from the app stores for each corresponding technology is the best way for hotels to take advantage of mobile technology. At the very least, hotel websites must be optimized for mobile users. This means it looks good and functions well when used on a mobile device. With the different sized devices, it is also critical that none are overlooked. Hotel websites must be created for desktops, mobile smartphones, and tablets.
An important feature of mobile technology, from a hotel marketer’s perspective, is their geo-location capabilities. Location-based marketing has grown right alongside the mobile phenomenon. Hotels can easily distribute hotel marketing messages and services to customers based on where they are. Having your hotel listed on local listing websites will steer customers, who are already looking for a hotel reservation, while being helpful at the same time. Special offers can be made through social media sites like Facebook or Foursquare with “check-in” features, for guests who tell others about the hotel they booked. Another facet of mobile marketing is the use of Quick Response or QR codes. QR codes can be used to steer mobile users to specific landing pages on a hotel mobile website featuring more detailed information or for the redemption of coupons, among many options for their use.
Hotels must meet their guests and potential customers where they are spending their time and increasingly this is on mobile devices. Travelers now expect to be able to change their travel arrangements and make hotel reservations on-the-go via their smartphones and tablets. In the next part of this series, we will examine the ways that mobile technology is transforming how guests experience their time at a hotel and day-to-day hotel operations.
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