Part 2 of the Hotel Mobile Technology Series: Why Your Hotel Should Be Prepared for Mobile Bookings
Mobile devices are a powerful tool for travelers, providing access to information and sales. Travel research on mobile devices continues to grow. This year will be the first time mobile bookings are higher than desktop reservations.
Shoppers make a growing number of decisions in micro-moments. They often have only a few moments to spare and rely on their phone for online information. In fact, smartphone bookings outpace tablet bookings, supporting a transition to on-the-go transactions.
Mobile bookings include a large segment of last-minute purchases. Impulse purchases depend on one main thing: making a great first impression. Websites won't get a second chance with travelers making on-a-whim decisions. They want the facts, fast, and don't need extra information weighing their decision down. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking to drive more mobile bookings.
Content is King
As with all types of bookings, providing the right information leads to higher conversions. More than 95% of travelers use reviews as a factor in their booking decision. With mobile bookings, when time is precious, review summaries encourage quick decisions. Tablet bookings often correlate with more research. Take advantage of this opportunity by supplementing information with review quotes and photos. Check out part 1 of the Hotel Mobile Technology series for more tips about mobile hotel research.
Consider the User Experience
Regardless of mobile booking channel, a poor experience creates a negative brand image. Smartphones are a central part of today's lifestyle. Companies that can't keep up may be seen as outdated or out of touch. Additionally, hard to use interfaces force travelers to book elsewhere. Customers booking on-the-go don't have time to wait for slow-loading websites. Make transactions quick and painless by remove non-essential steps and streamlining mobile checkout.
Business travelers often need to make or change reservations without much notice. Their frequent need for convenient bookings makes apps their preferred mobile channel. Leisure travelers more often use mobile websites and arrive from search traffic. They place less emphasis on loyalty and don't have an ongoing relationship with brands. Knowing your target customer is important to optimize the relevant booking interface(s).
Honing in to your customers' preferences helps mobile visitors interact with your brand before their visit. Optimizing information and interfaces across different devices and channels is key. Although it requires more work up front, it ensures that you're meeting the right needs. Make sure you're catering to business and leisure travelers in ways that suit them. Above all else, make sure you're staying relevant to today's mobile booking trends.
This post was contributed by Rebecca Pokora, a regular contribute to the TrustYou blog, freelance writer, and travel consultant.