Shhh…There’s a New Silent Traveler in Town (And Here’s Why They’re Important)
They’re quiet, but digitally-savvy. They’re active online but their travel shopping habits might fly right past your radar. Who are they?
They’re known as the Silent Traveler, the “mobile-first” travel consumer. These are consumers who don’t just use their mobile devices to research and book hotels, but they also turn to them first to solve any problems they encounter when travelling. This is something that usually falls into the domain of the hotel customer service staff – but not for these travelers.
This new Silent Mobile Traveler, as documented recently by Skift, can be summed up in just a few words: self-reliant but extremely mobile-dependent.
Who are the Silent Mobile Travelers?
It might not come as a complete shock, but most of them are Millennials, as they’re the most digital savvy generation to date. It’s no surprise considering one key trait that defines Millennials is their love of technology. In fact, over half of them would rather give up their sense of smell than their technology.
How are They Unique and Different?
They don’t wait for hotels to answer their questions or solve their dilemmas – they’re turning to mobile and reaching out to hotels on social media for information, possibly without even contacting the hotels directly. They’re looking for highly personalized experiences on-site and off – they want hotels to tell a unique story about the type of experience they’ll have when they book their stay.
Why These Travelers are Important for Hotels
With Millennials expected to take over the travel market soon and this new Silent Traveler emerging that also revolves around mobile, a hotel must reach these travelers on the devices they’re using – and that means having a mobile site for both smartphones and tablets.
How to Appeal to Silent Mobile-First Travelers
They want to know which unique features that your hotel offers can benefit them. Of course, a traveler who uses their smartphone as their “go-to” tool while traveling sees Wi-Fi as not just a ”nice to have” but as an ”absolute must.” This is especially true for international travelers who most likely have no interest in paying expensive international data roaming fees. To appeal to these travelers, highlight features that really appeal to the Millennial traveler like your smartphone & tablet chargers (for multiple devices) free of charge, upon request; or the phone charging stations around the hotel – a relevant place would be either your lobby or computer room/business center (or both!). Reach out to these travelers with unique special offers – perhaps promoted through their favorite channel: their mobile devices.
Hotel Spotlight: citizenM
citizenM does an excellent job targeting these Silent Travelers by highlighting a feature that would appeal to them – the self check-in – in their VBrochure player (which gets syndicated to thousands of travel websites). Their self check-in is a simple digital screen that allows guests to quickly and efficiently check into their room without having to wait for hotel staff, just what the Silent Traveler is looking for.
Hotel Spotlight: Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Nothing appeals to these travelers more than being able to use their smartphone wherever they go which is why Starwood Hotels and Resorts recently launched the first truly mobile check-in experience, SPG Keyless, which allows guests to open their guest rooms by scanning their smartphone (using the SPG app). And rather than just telling travelers this new feature, they showed them – with a fun and creative video.
Make your technology and mobile-friendly features and amenities (especially Wi-Fi) a part of your hotel’s visual story. Include pictures of all the things a silent mobile-first traveler would appreciate from your hotel. Decided to add in the phone-charging stations in your business center? Include a picture in your hotel’s visual media gallery showing this off. Remember to write a quick description beside the photo which explains the feature or amenity so the travel shopper won’t miss it. Make sure to emphasize the amenities that speak to these travelers, so your hotel can win their heart – and wallet.
Want to learn more about the Millennial travel shopper? Read Let’s Talk Targeting Volume 1: The Millennial Traveler.