How the Hospitality Industry Can Use Mobile Marketing

01 Aug


New research from Omnico indicates that UK consumers are less likely to use mobile devices to engage with hospitality service providers when compared with other industries. Just 13% of consumers said they would use mobile to interact with hoteliers and travel agents.

Consumer reticence is understandable. Booking a holiday is a complicated affair. With so many factors to consider and cross-reference, small screen devices are given short shrift. Negotiating a variety of websites and filling in multiple fields on car rental, flights and hotels is a hassle even on a desktop browser; on a mobile device it makes for a positively unpleasant user experience. There’s simply too much information to divest

Thankfully for the hospitality industry, the point of purchase is just one step in the process. There is still plenty of scope to create a compelling mobile marketing campaign that simply hands off to desktop at the point of sale. 

And despite the apparently-negative data collated in the UK, mobile engagement has been steadily growing in the hospitality world. A Forrester survey from last year identified a 450% increase in mobile bookings since 2009. Some analysts predict mobile sales will be worth $26 billion by the year’s end. That’s one in five online travel dollars! 

The biggest strides have been made post-purchase, with 75% of travelers using a mobile device to shop and book activities while on holiday (according to Forrester). Clearly, this is where the industry is benefitting most: reaching consumers who are already on vacation and for whom smartphones and tablets are the only readily-available web-connected device.

If you’re trying to create a mobile marketing campaign that works, focus on enriching the entire experience, not just selling vacations. Offer portals for booking restaurants. Provide information on local tourist sites. Gather user reviews that could help future customers. Break your mobile marketing strategy down into three key practices:

  • Promotion. Offer last minute deals, hotel discounts or coupons. Mobile – and especially SMS messaging - is perfect for issuing time-sensitive information.
  • Loyalty Rewards. Offer loyalty points with personalized incentives attached. Track data to give reward customers with the things they like. If they’re clocking up thousands of miles, offer air miles. If they use the same hotel chain around the world, try to partner with that hotel to offer discounts.
  • User Experience. Keep customers up to date on new destinations. Send weather forecasts, or travel directions. Stay engaged throughout their trip and solicit feedback in the form of reviews.

A balanced mobile marketing strategy is crucial in such an aggressively competitive industry. The beauty of mobile is the ease with which you can subdivide customers according to personal preference. So even if your primary booking platform is your desktop website, stay plugged in to mobile and you’ll reap the benefits in the long term.

The Hotel and Resort Text Message Marketing Playbook

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