November 26, 2014

Five mobile strategies for hotels demystified


With mobile on its way to generate nearly a quarter of all online bookings, hoteliers need to continue to deploy, test and tweak their mobile marketing strategies to capture this growing channel. Mobile is no longer a distinct investment strategy; it must be incorporated in every digital market strategy, at every step of the way.

By 2015, mobile is expected to generate 22 percent of online bookings, up from 11 percent in 2013 according to PhoCusWright's Global Online Travel Overview. As this trend continues, it becomes even more essential to ensure hoteliers are focused on the right mobile strategy to maximize growth by prioritizing between varied strategies that may include mobile promotions, responsive design, click-to-call, rate parity and social media. To help define the mobile growth tactic that is right for a specific property, Marc Liebman, vice president of reservations at TravelClick offers insights into the truths and fallacies behind the latest mobile strategies.

Launching last minute promotions will help sell unsold inventory. FALSE
Same-day reservations grew from nine percent to 23 percent between 2011 and 2013 according to TravelClick's iHotelier Booking Engine data, 2011-2013. Most hoteliers would think in order to sell perishable inventory, they should utilize last minute promotions. However, what is most often forgotten is that the mobile channel is inherently a last-minute distribution channel that capitalizes on consumer’s confidence to book on-the-go. Discounting a hotel’s rate unnecessarily erodes average daily rate because mobile bookings would have likely happened without the discount. On this high demand channel, it is best practice to maintain price parity at all times and effectively market a hotel’s true last-minute best available rates as a way to maximize profit.

Every hotel should invest in a branded mobile application. FALSE
Consumers are increasingly comfortable making mobile reservations which has led to a surge of mobile applications. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hype, but execute with caution. Most hotels, especially independent and small-medium chains, cannot compete in this space without having the resources to drive demand, the budget to build and maintain the application, and the programs to drive repeat usage. Prioritize on enhancing a hotel’s branded mobile site while investing in marketing initiatives that drive demand to the property’s direct web channel.

Mobile marketing is an important component of a sound digital marketing strategy. TRUE
There are many facets of mobile marketing that make it an important tool in an hotelier’s digital marketing arsenal. A general rule of thumb is that hotels should be spending at least 15 percent of their marketing budget on mobile marketing initiatives. This includes a mobile website and booking engine, search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing, display advertising, mobile content and analytics.

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