Mobile is a critical channel in today’s hotel marketing mix. 48% of people surveyed said that when sites don’t work well on their smartphones, it makes them feel like companies don’t care about their business (Get Elastic Moving Forward infographic 2013).
Why does this matter to hoteliers? Because it applies to hotel shoppers as well, in fact, 57% of US business travelers and 38% of leisure travelers reported using mobile devices to access travel information in 2012 (Google and Ipsos Media).
On Wednesday (April 24th, 2013) I hosted a webinar entitled How Mobile Devices are Changing the Way we Market to Today’s Travel Shopper and addressing how hoteliers can take advantage of the opportunities that this rapidly growing platform has created.
The webinar featured two industry experts: Mobile authority, Jed Schneiderman, President of Tapped Networks shared plenty of research and insights surrounding:
- Where and how travelers are using smartphones and tablets
- How consumers are using multiple screens sequentially and concurrently
- Differences in how consumers use mobile apps and mobile browser websites
Jed said it best, “A bad mobile experience is a bad experience with your brand.” Then Shannon Pratuch, Owner and CEO of Scene Marketing Group representing the Jupiter Hotel in Portland, shared specific examples of her strategy and implementation:
- Elements required for smartphone and tablet optimized hotel websites
- How hotels are successfully optimizing their stories for smartphones and tablets
Due to their mobile efforts, Jupiter Hotel mobile views have gone up 33.57% in one year.
We had a very active audience that asked some great questions throughout the presentation and on twitter. Thank you to everyone who participated! Here are some of the highlights from the Q&A:
Ricardo asked: “Should our mobile strategy be quite different between tablet and phone? Logistically how can we implement these strategies?”
Yes, your strategies for a smartphone should be different than a tablet because consumers are using these devices differently. Consumers use a smartphone on the go. What I mean by “on the go” is that they use it during their downtime; e.g. waiting for a meeting to begin or in their daily commute. The tablet is much more like a desktop in its usage. We know this because approximately 80% of tablet use is coming off of a WI-FI connection (Mobile Insights for Hotel Marketers). People tend to use their tablets while at home, and largely for research because of the expanded screen size.
For further information, download this guide about how to implement smartphone and tablet optimized websites: Make a Move in Mobile Marketing: A Total Optimization Checklist.
Sabrina asked: “Is there any data or examples that cover Asia and the Middle East?”
Travelers using mobile is an international movement including Asia and Middle Eastern countries. According to Prashanth Kumar, digital strategy director at Tonic International: “The MENA region has always been of interest to mobile marketers. We’ve found that clients with a presence in more mature markets like the US, UK and South East Asia are well aware of the potential” (hotelmiddleeast.com), Furthermore, Herve Humler, President & COO, Ritz Carlton explains: “When you look at the statistics of the Middle East, you see that it’s the region that is trailing, although still increasing year-after-year” (hotelmiddleeast.com). These emerging markets have a very large potential for hotels especially in the business travel sector. In order to stay ahead of the curve hotels should implement best practices for mobile optimization.
Karen, one great example of a mobile optimized site is the Georgian Terrace Hotel. In terms of functionality, your smart phone optimized website should be easy to use. Have big, easy- to- see tabs that highlight exactly what the mobile user is looking for, along with special offers that endear your guest to your property. Check out the The Georgian Terrace’s “Millionaire Monday’s” promotion, a dining offer available only to mobile users. To access The Georgian Terrace’s optimized website go to www.thegeorgianterrace.com from any smartphone or tablet to see the real experience.
Importantly, make sure your videos and images load quickly because speed is of the essence on these devices. Case in point, the average iPhone user spends 2:31 minutes on a site compared to 4 minutes on a regular desktop (webperformacetoday.com).
To learn more on this hot topic, download our whitepaper: Six critical Mobile Optimization Tactics Every Hotelier Should Know.