Mobile Technologies: The New Powerhouses for Increased Hotel Revenues And Guest Engagement

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | December 28, 2014

What is emerging as the biggest mobile-powered technology opportunity for the hotel industry in 2015? To borrow a phrase from the real estate world, it's "location, location, location".

Hotels -- by their very nature – are about location. And location within the context of hotel marketing today is increasingly defined by the mobile device: a smartphone or tablet (and increasingly both) that now always accompany a traveler or guest into a property or resort. Free to email, text, chat, shop, search, snap or even sketch from almost anywhere through their mobile device, today's travelers and hotel guests expect the places they visit – including hotels – to reciprocate.

Why is this behavior so important to hotels? Guests who are more satisfied and engaged are the avenues to higher occupancy rates and RevPAR, higher satisfaction scores, and more positive customer reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations - not to mention greater opportunities for ancillary revenue generation from other hotel services.

This mobile-empowered guest behavior presents tremendous opportunities for hoteliers in 2015 for what's known as in-location marketing – promotions and communications delivered directly to guests' mobile devices within a specific geographic area -- by hoteliers in 2015. Results from a Magnani Caruso Dutton (MCD) hotel survey on loyalty indicate that 74% of guests want "substantial digital involvement" during their hotel stay, while 80% want the ability to personalize their hotel-stay preferences and save the information so that future experiences are seamless from visit to visit, hotel to hotel, location to location.

The same MCD survey found that 70% travelers say the quality of a hotel's web site or app is a determining factor in whether to book a stay or not – making the relevance of the mobile interactions even more critical and impactful.

These kinds of preferences and behavior shifts should give hotel executives and their marketing teams the impetus to adopt the best practices, know-how and technologies involved with in-location and "on-site" proximity marketing. Well-tailored proximity marketing campaigns in hotels can provide not only what guests and visitors want on their mobile devices, but also can do so in ways that are meaningful, satisfying, relevant and personalized.

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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.