When it comes to hotel marketing, mobile has become more important than ever before. The global hotel industry revenue is predicted to reach $550 billion US dollars in 2016. 51.8% of travelers who book trips via digital means will do so using a mobile device, according to eMarketer’s latest estimates of digital and travel research and booking. That's up from 43.8% in 2015.
Guests increasingly rely on smartphones to research information and book hotels. Fortunately, there are four solid ways that you can better tap into this mobile market and deliver your guests an experience that your rivals never can. By using these 21st-century strategies, you'll make the competition seem like they are stuck in the past!
1: Accessibility for Everyone
When designing your hotel website, it's tempting to add many bells and whistles to fully show off the property. There's just one problem with this approach: the flashy website may not load (or load too slowly) on certain cellphones, particularly older ones. Instead, focus on a simple, streamlined design that will load quickly on most devices. This is important not only to help guests who wish to book a stay at your hotel but for the guests that are already staying there, too, because "Cornell Hospitality’s 2015 Mobile Innovations Survey found that 80% of travelers use their smartphones to look for activities and things to do during their stay." This means it's important for your simple design to offer information on local attractions, fun activities, and useful navigational directions.
2: Give guests more mobile power
For better or for worse, one of the hallmarks of the smartphone-reliant 21st-century is that many people (and especially younger demographics like Millennials) prefer to use their smartphones in place of interacting with another human. This is why it's important to let your guests be able to not simply book a hotel room online but to request particular rooms, particular amenities, and to access important information like the room service menu. Such mobile empowerment has the dual benefit of attracting more guests by making it easy to book and impressing them with how much they are able to do with just a few taps of their phone.
3: Create an app
While streamlining the design and accessibility of your website while featuring relevant information is a must, taking the next step in mobile marketing means creating a unique app for your hotel. Doing so is very important because a recent Forrester Research study revealed that "consumers now spend over 85% of their time on smartphones using native applications." Creating an app that guests regularly use is an amazing way to help you market your hotel, but it is crucial that the customer sees value in the app. For instance, the app might let customers order room service, request concierge services, request a taxi, or other useful services. When your app offers solutions to problems many guests have not even thought of, they will see that your hotel is dedicated to accommodating their needs.
Geofencing is one of the best ways to target specific guests with specific marketing and offers, especially when combined with any existing customer relationship management software you are already using. Once customers who have downloaded your app cross the perimeter of the "fence," it can trigger certain actions or messages: for instance, allowing someone to automatically check in as soon as they walk into the lobby. Geofencing can also be used to detect when guests are in their rooms and to send them suggestions, such as "check out our room service menu." You can also trigger specific messages after a certain time, such as offering guests information about the hotel's happy hour when they walk in during those particular hours.
It's important to think beyond the “reservations” function in your mobile app strategy. To make the most of your mobile marketing campaigns you need to show a genuine interest in interacting with your guests and accommodating their needs. Your app should bring something fresh and exciting to the table, enhancing the guest's experience and boosting loyalty and brand affinity.