Staking a Claim in Mobile Travel: Not Just Popular, Pragmatic and Profitable

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | January 01, 2012

Mobile a Must: Pragmatic trumps popular

If 2011 for hotel owners was all about learning from and joining the mobile masses simply because it was the "in" thing to do for our tech-savvy patrons, 2012 is rapidly shaping up to be the year where mobile becomes a must. In other words, the mobile marketing landscape has rapidly matured and the training wheels are coming off. This coming of age can mean only one thing: The time for hotels to launch their mobile presence is now. Not after the post-holidays' travel slow down, and not in the run-up to Valentines Day or the season's first spring breakers.

Right now.

From Training Wheels to Two-Wheeler: Mobile Matures

As with other trends in the hotel industry, it is customers who are driving mobile's niche-to-need changes. Today's on-the-go traveler expects to be connected wherever they are throughout their trip experience and that connectivity is expanding at a staggering rate. Earlier this year, more than half of all mobile phone sales (56%) were smartphones, and the total number of US smartphone owners jumped to 82.2 million people this summer – that is 35% percent of the 234 million Americans who use mobile devices 13 and up. Think about that statistic for a few moments…

Even a lighthearted (but with serious implications) October 2010 survey by Mashable highlights just how connected consumers have become. When asked what they would give up to keep their mobile phones for a week:

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.