Smartphones dominate our attention throughout the day. They have come to change the very nature of how we interact with the world around us, including the way we do business.
When it comes to space for travel and hospitality, mobile phones have dramatically changed their operation, which also benefits the consumer. And with increasing expectations regarding mobile interactivity, consumers have become more demanding of the types of services they have on hand.
Here are some statistics to help you understand how mobile the industry is:
TripAdvisor is the most popular mobile app in the travel industry, with over 230 million downloads and 150 million active users per month.
Mobile travel bookings grew by 1,700% between 2011 and 2015, increasing from 1 to 18 percent of online revenue.
40% of travel sales are accounted for by mobile in 2017, which is expected to reach 50 percent by 2021.
88 percent of holidaymakers switch to another app or website if yours doesn’t fit their needs
More than 50 percent of travelers do not have a specific destination in mind when planning a trip – and 60% will be looking for their next trip from a mobile device.
1 of the 3 boarding passes will be delivered via mobile phone by 2019
66 percent of users prefer restaurants with a reward scheme, and 78% will use the mobile app if they are offered discounts.
The bottom line is that mobile stays here. In fact, it will only matter more in the daily life of the consumer, so fine-tuning your hotel business to most mobile devices is essential.
The hospitality industry invests heavily in Internet marketing (about $ 6 billion in 2016 to give you an idea) and uses it to attract customers and drive conversions. However, interacting online using only paid advertising is rapidly losing its appeal.
More and more companies are rethinking their strategy and trying to incorporate a mobile experience at every stage of the journey – from research to sharing feedback on travel and hotel stays.
The role of mobile phones in the research phase
Previously, your travel research did not necessarily involve surfing the web. You will call a travel agent after a brief search on the Internet and trust him to get you a discount on the entire “package”.
Nowadays, travelers are proud of their “research skills” and ability to prepare a great experience, as well as gather the best suggestions for themselves. And much of their research directs them to social networking sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, and user review platforms such as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet.
This means you need to encourage existing customers to share their travels online. Registering, reviewing, sharing photos, using individual hashtags, and writing blogs are popular reporting strategies.
But don’t leave everything to guests alone. Hotels should also be actively involved in the creation and distribution of high quality content. Focus on the valuable things that make your potential consumers think. “These guys seem to know what they’re talking about when it comes to travel, so I’ll check them out!“And don’t forget to optimize content for reading on smartphones, because searching on a PC is so old-fashioned. Also, collaborate with professionals, professionals and influential people to enrich your content and give it credibility.
Now that you’re creating valuable content, make sure you can find it on Google. You have a robust SEO strategy so you can engage in top search results. Also, get a list of Google business companies for your hotel and provide NAP compliance support (name, address and phone number) on platforms such as Yelp, Yahoo, Foursquare and TripAdvisor.
Virtual concierge is even better. Guests can access this service on their mobile phone, allowing them to see the amenities of your hotel, check out local attractions or even see upgrade options. You have to use the power of video to your advantage to arrange for them and online tours.
From booking to arrival
There is always a time gap between how guests book and the time of arrival at your hotel. This period is rarely used by businesses, but upon reflection, you can approach the guest and offer value-added services.
Communicate with guests on your mobile phone, but in a way that is not considered spam. Give them useful information about the area, get acquainted with the excursion opportunities and inform about the events taking place around the hotel. And if they like something, let them reserve seats using their smartphones.
You can even eliminate the registration line and other procedures using the mobile app. Guests can choose a room, choose extras and register for free to give them more control over their stay. This will not only free your employees for other aspects of the business, but will also earn points for impregnation for activity.
Hotel lobby and accommodation
People will ignore your lobby as there is nothing to capture their interest other than relaxing seating and awful silence. You can change this and use this space for real interaction with guests using mobile phones.
The humanoid robot SoftPank Pepper is one of those innovations that really caught my eye. This robot perfectly helps customers use the scale of mobile services that you might have in place, and paves the way for affiliate services and programs.
Pepper can be programmed to chat with customers, answer questions and give directions – its functionality is similar to Alexa Amazon. However, Pepper in front of customers has a robot that can dance, look around, play music, light up, blush and even take a cool selfie with passers-by.
Pepper can even record email addresses and phone numbers, and can be programmed to send messages to customers with links to a mobile app, loyalty programs and other things held before and after a hotel stay. With Pepper you can collect the data needed to create a truly individual experience for your guests the reason is that most hotels now look good on mobile phones.
Finally, your app
You may have been wondering when we get to that, since we’ve covered almost everything else. We won’t try to convince you why you need the program, but know that having a mobile website is not enough. The applications themselves take your interaction with customers to a new level, and given the competition in this area, you should make the most of your mobile advantage.
An ideal application should have the following characteristics:
Ergonomic design, intuitive user interface
Careful selection of the necessary features
The consistency of the brand
Cross-platform compatibility (iOS, Android, etc.)
Convenient booking options
News – Local and industrial
Analytics on the back
Image gallery / virtual tour
Loyalty program integration
Calendar of events
Flight information, weather updates, dynamism
Hint for social network sharing
As technology becomes more personalized and mobile, your hospitality interaction should not lag behind. While these suggestions are broad, think about implementing a few (if not all) to see what impetus you get during your participation – personal experience – best teacher.
All said and done, mobile interaction really allows you to interact with guests in a personalized and more active way, which works wonders for your brand image. In addition, it also allows you to rise above the competitive hustle and bustle, which to me sounds like a win-win option!