The Mobile-First World Creates Tremendous Revenue Potential for Hoteliers
February 14, 2019 11:41am
By Max Starkov
Hoteliers face a challenge in 2019: Creating and managing a robust digital presence in an increasingly mobile-first environment. This means investing in mobile technology and marketing that enables the best user experience while achieving maximum engagement, regardless of device. The explosion of mobile customer engagements creates a tremendous upside opportunity for smart hoteliers who invest in and take advantage of this rising tide of mobile-obsessed travel consumers.
The shift from desktop to mobile and tablet devices continued its steady pace in 2018. More than 58% of web visitors and more than 51% of page views were generated from mobile devices last year, compared to 38% of web visitors and 40% of page views only three years ago. In 2018, nearly 28% of bookings and 25% of room nights came from mobile devices, compared to 21% of bookings and 17% of room nights in 2015 (HEBS Digital client portfolio data).
It’s clear that we’re already living in a mobile-first world. Mobile devices dominate the travel planning journey: up to half of all desktop bookings worldwide are preceded by a click on a mobile device, and 94% of leisure travelers use multiple devices (mobile, tablet, desktop) when planning and booking travel (Criteo).
In hospitality, up to 30% of hotel bookings are done via mobile devices, a percentage dependent on whether the property is branded or independent, its location (rural or metro area), complexity of hotel product (golf resort vs. major city hotel), availability of a loyalty program, and composition of its customer segments (business vs. leisure, transient vs. group).
The hospitality industry, by default, has lower mobile booking share compared to the overall projections for the travel industry due to the complexity of managed corporate travel and SMERF group segment procurement, such as mandated GDS bookings for managed corporate travel and the offline RFP process for group travel.
The mobile-first world is here to stay:
Across HEBS Digital’s hotel client portfolio, consisting of hundreds of hotels and resorts of every size, we saw this shift occur in every data category. The most notable developments in 2018:
Compared to 2015, mobile devices generated:
Or, compare to 2012 when mobile devices generated:
How Should Hoteliers Approach the Mobile-First World?
As we continue to experience this shift to mobile and increased complexity in the travel planning process, hoteliers need to find ways to engage their best potential guests across multiple touch points and across all devices, especially mobile. Today’s typical online travel consumer is exposed to more than 38,983 micro-moments in any 60-day timeframe. They also visit an average of 18 websites via multiple devices in eight sessions before making a hotel booking (Google Research). This journey results in some serious competition for the travel consumer’s attention and has become increasingly dominated by mobile micro-moments and touch points.
Here are the top two action steps for hoteliers to address the shift to mobile-first user behavior:
#1. Invest in a responsive, mobile-first website.
Hoteliers need to keep the property website, which is the foundation of their digital marketing and distribution strategy, up to the mobile-first standards demanded by today’s travel consumer. With nearly 59% of website visitors now viewing on mobile devices, a fully responsive mobile-first website design is a must.
If your property website is older than two years, it’s due for a redesign. Websites older than two years are often lacking the latest best practices in technology, design, and UX, such as a mobile-first design, content merchandising, Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), schema, and technical SEO considerations. An outdated website leads to lower conversions.
The website download speeds across various devices also inevitably affects conversion rates on the hotel website: fast download speeds drastically improve the user experience and increase the user’s desire to purchase on the site. According to Google, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. Mobile-first responsive websites with cloud hosting and CDN (Content Delivery Network) provide far better server response times and faster download speeds across geographies.
A hotel’s website must also be backed by a website technology platform that includes mobile-first functionality specific to the hoteliers’ needs, such as:
A highly-secure cloud hosting platform.
The property website must incorporate the right balance of beauty and science. An excellent design combined with a state-of-the-art website content management system (CMS), supported by a strong merchandising strategy and engaging visual content and copy, all while providing an optimum user experience from top to bottom on all possible devices. This type of website will result in a boost in conversions and revenues from the direct online channel.
#2. Engage the mobile-first travel consumer with multi-channel, multi-device marketing.
Keeping travelers engaged and reaching them at various touchpoints throughout their journey requires integrating all marketing channels across all possible screens. Effective multi-channel marketing campaigns utilize the full spectrum of digital marketing (SEO, SEM, display, paid social, and email) to promote one cohesive message across channels and devices. This strategy is the most effective way to increase reach and boost revenues for a need period.
Campaign Strategy Recommendations for 2019:
To achieve mobile-readiness, hoteliers must invest adequately in a mobile-first website and digital marketing campaigns. Bying, and future guests, hotels can drive more direct bookings throughout the entire path to purchase, especially from the mobile channel.
hebs digital research,
Founded in 2001, the firm is headquartered in New York City and has global offices in Las Vegas, Tallinn, Munich, and Asia-Pacific. Through its Smart Guest Acquisition Suite, including the smartCMS®, Smart Personalization Engine, Smart Data Marketing, and full-service digital consulting and marketing solutions, HEBS Digital helps hoteliers drastically boost direct bookings, lower distribution costs, and increase the lifetime value of guests. Its diverse client portfolio consists of top-tier luxury and boutique hotel chains, independent hotels, resorts and casinos, franchised properties and hotel management companies, convention centers, spas, restaurants, DMO and tourist offices.
Part of NextGuest Technologies, HEBS Digital and Serenata CRM, the most comprehensive Hotel CRM Suite today, are the creators of the hospitality industry’s first Fully-Integrated Guest Engagement & Acquisition Platform.
Contact HEBS Digital’s consultants at 1 (800) 649-5076 (North America), +64 (0) 9 889 8489 (Asia Pacific) or email@example.com.
Contact: Garrick Lee
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