Why Mobile Is Crucial To Hoteliers In 2016
Mobile technology has become nearly ubiquitous around the world. It is a safe assumption that at this point in time nearly all hotel guests travel with some form of mobile device. Either a smartphone, tablet, or both. These smart devices have empowered the public to literally have the world at their fingertips. This has created a number of expectations on the part of consumers. The demands of consumers for user-friendly mobile apps and the ability to compare prices is driving the increasing share of direct hotel bookings garnered by online travel agencies (OTAs). In other words, the market is deciding how they will plan and book their hotel accommodations.
According to figures from Phocuswright, OTAs are winning the battle for hotel bookings share. Mobile devices are beginning to dominate, with Phocuswright predicting the bulk (51%) of U.S. hotel bookings will be made on them by 2017. The ascendency of OTAs has paralleled a considerable rise in hotel prices in recent years. OTAs have gained control of direct hotel booking because of customer price shopping, in response to those increases, to find the best values in hotel accommodations. Some hotels are leading the way to the future, however most are not giving the traveling public compelling enough reasons to book directly on hotel websites.
Mobile Booking Engine
Hotel customers expect and demand their hotels to make their traveling lives easier and simpler through the conveniences afforded by mobile technology. One means for hotels to offer what the traveling public is seeking is to offer a mobile website with a booking engine. Hotel customers should be able to view and book their hotel stays from their mobile devices. The user experience should be every bit as seamless for customers on a smartphone or tablet as it is on a desktop/laptop computer. All functionality available to web desktop/laptop users should be offered to mobile users as well. This includes checking rates, viewing room accommodations, booking, paying for and confirming reservations.
Some hotels are utilizing mobile technology to take their guest’s experience to new heights. Mobile apps, for example, give hotels the opportunity to interact with their guests and offer services directly through their devices. In part 2 of this series we will examine a few more ways in which hoteliers can leverage mobile technology to gain a higher percentage of direct booking revenue.
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