Part 1 of the Hotel Mobile Technology Series: Improve Conversions and Capture Attention with Mobile Users

Welcome to part one of our four part blog series on hotel mobile technology! Over the next two weeks, we will discuss how to use hotel mobile technology to positively impact the entire guest experience. Part one will focus on the first stage of a guest’s travel journey: online hotel research.

 

The shift to mobile devices for planning and booking is a big opportunity for travel brands.  Mobile bookings are expected to surpass desktop transactions for the first time ever.  If you're focused on improving your hotel’s booking app, keep in mind conversions start long before the reservation itself.  Nearly three-quarters of travelers will research their trips on smartphones and tablets in 2016.

 

The Research Before Booking

Consumers no longer sit down to do all their travel planning at one time.  They've shifted their behavior to planning in short increments to fit busy lifestyles.  Idle moments, like commuting or waiting for appointments, are opportunities to plan.  Since these sessions are away from home and the office, consumers rely on smartphones.  Each brief period, they're looking for quick inspiration and information to plan their trip.  Put your brand in front of them with a strong mobile presence during each phase.

Preliminary content needs to include more than just facts, prices, and figures.  For leisure travelers in particular, travel decisions begin with inspiration.  During the explorative stage, they're still dreaming about a getaway experience.  They're open to considering several travel styles, companies, and even destinations.  This is when brand loyalty and preferences start to form.

During initial planning stages, brands and what sets them apart are unclear to travelers.  It's the perfect time to present your product or service in the context of a dream vacation.  To inspire, focus SEO on destination-based queries instead of specific brand names.  Consider broad categories your site can rank for.  For example, a traveler may search for "where to stay in Charleston" rather than "Charleston bed and breakfasts".

 

Small Ways to Think Big

Think outside the accommodation industry as well.  Can local staff create a destination overview or summary of things to do?  Introduce your brand as part of travel guide that's integrated into your website. Being a part of the full planning process is essential.  Some travelers, especially millennials, make spontaneous travel plans and purchases entirely on mobile devices. Don't miss the opportunity to be part of their trip.

Photos and videos are another great source of inspiration and influence for travelers.  According to the 2014 Traveler's Road to Decision produced by Google, 83% of travelers use photo, video, or social networking sites as a source of inspiration.  More than 42% use Youtube for inspiration, proving the power of video.  Facebook and Instagram autoplay functions don't include audio until users click on the video.  Incorporate captions or on-screen cues for better performance and to capture attention.  Travelers also relate to video reviews, live streaming, and videos narrated by everyday people.

Most leisure travelers gather information from websites instead of through apps at the beginning.  Short load times and full usability should be your first priority.  Preview and test your website on mobile devices to ensure everything works as intended.

 

Centering your hotel mobile technology strategy to fit into these short planning sessions is paramount.  TrustYou can help you gather insights and analytics on your target market.  From there, focus on the shared value of dreaming and inspire travelers early on to improve your final odds of conversion.

 

This post was contributed by Rebecca Pokora, a regular contribute to the TrustYou blog, freelance writer, and travel consultant.

Valerie Carboni

Valerie leads our fearless team of content writers, field marketing experts, and hospitality-focused marketers here at TrustYou. Her adventure has taken her from her hometown of Arlington, VA, all the way out to San Diego, CA, where the nice weather has reinvigorated her creative spirit.

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