Mobile marketing is a hot topic in the industry for HITEC 2011. Vikram Singh, founder of Evision Worldwide, presented an excellent webinar on Mobile Marketing for Hotels & Resorts in November that gave attendees valuable information on using mobile marketing to increase bookings using apps and hotel mobile web sites.
Before I got my iPhone, I remember trying to surf the web and check e-mail using my busted Motorola Razr, and I thought that was cool! Now, the limits of hardware, software and expensive data plans are no more — smart phones are now becoming the norm, especially among jet-setting savvy travelers.
In the webinar, Vikram reported that projected mobile travel bookings for 2010 were $160M. He also reported that intent when clicking on mobile ads is five times higher than clicking on ads on the desktop.
Vikram also shared this projection:
“More people will access the mobile web than the desktop web.”
By 2013 (according to Gartner)
By 2015 (according to Morgan Stanley)
I am not an expert on mobile web sites, online booking engines or mobile marketing, but I learned some useful basic information while producing this webinar with Vikram.
1. Mobile is NOT a desktop.
Mobile bookings are happening. If they aren’t happening for your hotel, something may be wrong with your mobile site. A mobile-friendly site is not enough to increase bookings — you need a mobile-specific site. Simplify, simplify, simplify — get right to the point. Make it smaller, and don’t depend on scrolling. It is your responsibility to make your site work well to fit the various devices — iPhone, Blackberry, Andriod, and other platforms and screen sizes.
2. Don’t forget: It’s a phone!
Is your hotel’s phone number easy to find? Make sure your mobile site has a phone number listed clearly. Vikram reported that mobile web calls are 31% more likely to result in a booking than other sources. Give your users a chance to call and book a reservation.
3. Your highly engaged customers are using apps.
Apps from OTAs, like Kayak and TripAdvisor, are very popular. Your app should be more than a simplified version of your hotel’s web site with a phone number. Think about specific functions that users need and make them work well. Then give them a little something extra.
4. Psst: Your competition is sleeping.
Hotel brands are playing the “wait and see” game. If you take care of the basics, like a decent hotel mobile web site and a phone number clearly displayed, you are ahead of much of the competition.