Once upon a time, mobile was a platform used purely for research – and research only. Fast-forward to 2018 where smartphone penetration is reaching peak highs and travel trends continue to point towards mobile.
Between all mobile devices – smartphones, tablets and apps – the changing pace of technology is making it a difficult platform for hoteliers to get right.
We chatted with Expedia Group about how to make the most of mobile, with the least amount of resources.
- ‘Shrinking down’ your desktop site
Developing a mobile strategy isn’t just taking your desktop platform and shrinking it down to phone size.
Expedia Group Area Manager Jamie Griego said hoteliers should optimise the mobile experience to ensure highest priority content is displayed on hotel search results.
“Hoteliers need to play to the booking curve, and without trying to sound self-serving – leveraging the advanced capabilities of OTAs can help smaller hoteliers, without oodles of their own tech resources, to do just that,” he said.
“It’s also important to have the ability to go back and review which features are capturing attention and bookings.”
For example, Expedia Group’s data shows that images generate more than half of total engagement (51 per cent), with mobile customers viewing between 30 and 35 photos before making a transaction.
“Images have a significant influence upon the purchase choice, ahead of other mobile booking features such as the availability wizard (18 per cent), map (12 per cent) and reviews (7 per cent).”
“Some of our hotel partners who do very well on mobile say they apply the insights provided by some of our partner marketing tools, which are available through Expedia Group Partner Central across their own channels for better results across the board.”
Interestingly, mobile users come back to a platform twice as frequently as the typical desktop user.
- Misunderstanding the ‘browse versus buy’ mentality
Technology is growing at a rapid pace and it’s imperative that hoteliers evolve the mentality that mobile is solely a research channel. Instead, adopt the new-age mindset that mobile is an effective conversion tool.
Expedia Group’s data shows the average booking window – the time between the date of a booking and the date of a stay – on mobile both internationally and domestically has increased. With mobile accounting for 81 per cent of global internet usage, the truth is that more and more bookings are being made on handheld devices.
According to the experts at Expedia Group, the best opportunity for hotel partners is to implement a mobile strategy. Expedia Group Q1 2018 data reveals that nearly 45 per cent of mobile demand in Sydney came from bookings made with a deal, while 88 per cent of Australian travellers are actively seeking deals on mobile.
“What we’re seeing is that exclusive deals and offers provide a great way to capture customers early on in the booking journey and, in most cases, our hotel partners who are tapping into mobile-only deals are those that perform best across the channel,” Griego said.
- The ‘set and forget’ approach
Let’s face it – hoteliers are under the pump and constant innovations in technology that make things easier for consumers can sometimes actually put more of a squeeze on hotel resources.
Many hoteliers fall into the trap of establishing a great mobile strategy but then cross it off the list and fail to continually test, learn and evolve.
It might sound like more work, but Expedia Group is seeing its hotel partners get big results for little input by utilising Partner Central’s self-service tools, such as Rev+, Conversations, rate competitiveness and guest engagement solutions.
“We are investing in the next tech revolution like chatbots, natural language processing and Alexa voice activated bookings to ensure our hotel partners stay ahead of the pack with the latest mobile and technology features,” he said.
It’s never been easier to attract new customers by tapping into the power of mobile. Expedia Group’s easy-to-use tools, paired with world-class sales and support teams, help you optimise your mobile strategy to fill your rooms and increase revenue.
“It’s a really exciting space and another area where Expedia Group will be able to provide real value to our hotel partners beyond distribution and transactions.”