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By Max Starkov & Sara O'Brien

In our article earlier this year, "The Truth is in the Numbers: 2013 is Undoubtedly the Year of the Three Screens in Hospitality," we outlined the rapid growth in hotel website visitors and bookings from mobile (smartphone) and tablet devices at the expense of the traditional desktop.

The results from Q3 2013 are in, and the shift from desktop to mobile and tablet devices is even more massive than it was at the beginning of the year. There is no doubt: 2013 is undeniably the year of the three screens. 

The Shift is Massive: 

The results from Q3 of 2013 demonstrate a tremendous and continual shift from desktop to mobile and tablet devices. Across HeBS Digital's hotel client portfolio, consisting of thousands of hotel properties, we saw this shift occur in every data category. 

Sources of Traffic and Revenue by Device Category:

The most notable developments in Q3 2013:

  • Over 35% of web visitors and nearly 32% of page views were generated from non-desktop devices (mobile and tablet).
  • Over 12% of bookings, roomnights and revenue came from tablets and mobile devices (not including voice reservations originating from the mobile websites of our clients).
  • Tablets generated 210% more roomnights and 603% more revenue than "pure" mobile devices. 
  • The iPad outperformed all other tablet devices and was responsible for 88.2% of page views and nearly 97% of tablet revenue.

The Shift Away from Desktop is Accelerating Year-over-Year: 

The year-over-year growth in the mobile and tablet device categories is staggering, while the desktop continues to lose ground. 

Percent Increase/Decrease in Results in Q3 2013 vs. Q3 2012:

The most notable developments in Q3 2013 compared to same period in 2012:

  • Hotel website visitors to desktop websites declined by 17.11%, while increasing by nearly 85% via mobile.
  • Desktop bookings declined by nearly 6% while increasing by over 57% via tablet and more than 86% via mobile.
  • Mobile pageviews more than doubled, while desktop pageviews declined by over 16%.
  • Revenue from mobile devices nearly doubled as travel consumers are becoming more comfortable transacting via their smartphones and as smartphone penetration reaches an all-time high - nearly 50% in the U.S.
  • Revenue from desktop devices is on the decline, year-over-year, by 4.34%.

What Should Hoteliers Do About the Three Screens?

So what should hoteliers be doing to drive the most conversions from this dynamic shift from desktop to mobile and tablet? They should be treating the desktop, mobile and tablet as three separate channels:

  • Desktop Channel: Make sure your desktop website is in good health and complies with best practices in hotel distribution, design, site architecture and SEO. 
  • Mobile Channel: A hotel mobile website generates incremental revenue through mobile and voice reservations.
  • Tablet Channel: Utilizing new content management technology enabled for responsive design on server side (RESS), present tablet users with an enhanced, highly-visual version of the desktop website enabled for the touch-screen tablet environment.

Hotels should serve the right website content in the right device category (desktop, mobile, tablet) while ensuring the maximum user experience, relevancy of information and conversions. This is achieved via RESS (Responsive Design on Server Side). 

All three channels must be integrated in the hotel's multi-channel marketing strategy. Use analytics - such as Adobe Omniture SiteCatalyst - to determine contributions from and the dynamics of each of the three channels. 

For a detailed action plan, please read our article, "The Smart Hotelier's Guide to 2014 Digital Marketing Budget Planning." There we outline this game-changing trend, what it means for hoteliers, and discuss concrete steps to improve your presence on the three screens.

About the Authors and HeBS Digital

Max Starkov is President & CEO and Sara O'Brien is Marketing Manager at HeBS Digital, the hospitality industry's leading full-service digital marketing and direct online channel strategy firm based in New York City (www.HeBSdigital.com). 

HeBS Digital has pioneered many of the best practices in hotel Internet marketing, social and mobile marketing, and direct online channel distribution. The firm has won over 250 prestigious industry awards for its digital marketing and website design services, including numerous Adrian Awards, Davey Awards, W3 Awards, WebAwards, Magellan Awards, Summit International Awards, Interactive Media Awards, IAC Awards, etc. 

A diverse client portfolio of top-tier major hotel brands, luxury and boutique hotel brands, resorts and casinos, hotel management companies, franchisees and independents, and CVBs are benefiting from HeBS Digital's direct online channel strategy and digital marketing expertise. Contact HeBS Digital's consultants at (212) 752-8186 or success@hebsdigital.com.

Contact: Mariana Mechoso Safer

mariana@hebsdigital.com / 212-752-8186

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