How do your guests book a room in your Hotel?
Do they go through a third party booking site on their laptop? Do they use a mobile app? Maybe some people even still phone your reception!
Even though many guests are now using technology to book rooms for the night, the Hotel industry can still do more to attract mobile users to not only book a room once but also return and do so again. More people used a tablet or a smartphone to book a Hotel room last year than a desktop computer.
Japan leads the way in terms of the number of smartphone users who use their device to book a room (33%) while the USA (24%) and UK (13%) lag behind.
It raises the question of how Hotels can use mobile devices to boost not only their business but also customer loyalty as well. We want to look at 3 ways in which your Hotel can do this and help reach out to a much larger audience to grow your business and customer base.
Being Listed On Mobile Booking Apps
Many, if not most, Hotels these days have a listing on a third-party app where a guest can look up information about the hotel, read reviews, see pictures and then book a room.
For a lot of Hotels, it provides a much easier way to process bookings and it gives them a very visible presence for guests to find their business. Although it can be incredibly beneficial to have your own app as we find out later on.
Being listed on a mobile booking app not only gives a high level of exposure from a trusted booking service but it takes a lot of the administration work away from the hotel itself. While they do charge commission on any booking made through their site – this can typically be between 20% and 30% – for smaller Hotels, it can be less hassle than developing their own app.
Create Your Own Hotel App
On another hand, building your own app where clients book rooms directly can give your hotel a much more professional image. This can be completed either by yourself or for a small fee by a developer. While in some cases hiring a developer to create a native app can be expensive (although the benefits are worth it) there are more affordable options out there so even small hotels can have their own app.
A native app helps to create a brand name too. Whether your app is for iOS, Android or another mobile platform, it gives you a consistent presence on a users’ smartphone. They will see your app on their home screen and it offers a much easier way for them to rebook with your hotel which in turn increases loyalty. Instead of having to go to booking.com for example and try to remember the name of your hotel, it is there on their screen. You can also offer loyalty points if a client books through your app too which can bring the same guests back again and again.
One thing that is often overlooked about having a native app is data gathering. Through the user’s consent, you can gain insights into their behavior which in turn can greatly boost your marketing strategy. Eye for Travel goes into detail about this in their report The Mobile Travel Market in 2016 to demonstrate how data gathering can have a big impact on the success of your business and how you can offer additional services to users based on their mobile usage.
Optimize Your Site For Mobile Search
Finally, if you want your hotel to make the most of the growing mobile market then you need to optimise your site for mobile search.
Before you even get into mobile SEO, make sure that your site is responsive if you don’t have a native app. There is nothing more off putting than trying to browse a site that is formatted for a desktop computer on a mobile device. ‘Design for the fat finger’ is a good tip so make use of all the space you have available.
When it comes to helping users to actually find your hotel then optimise your site for local search. Have your hotel name and location in title tags and heading tags, set up Google My Business and have your site listed in local directories. Make sure that your site can be locally found. Moz has a comprehensive guide to conducting local SEO which will massively help your hotel appear when someone searches for a place to stay in your city or town.
Get The Best Out Of Mobile For Your Hotel
The mobile market, in general, is growing every year. More people are now using mobile devices to buy everything online from a new TV to a car. Hotels and holidays are no different and sitting in the comfort of your own home and booking a room on your smartphone is a much simpler and less time-consuming action than going to a travel agent.
This is why your Hotel needs to not only be mobile ready but it also needs to make the best use of mobile searches and apps too.
Affording your own mobile app isn’t as difficult as you might think and it puts a real professional tint on your business. It makes guests realize that you are serious about your hotel and it also does wonders for loyalty and brand recognition too. Even having your hotel listed on several third party booking apps will ensure that you gain an entry into the mobile market.
We are moving into an age where smartphones and tablets are being used more than laptops and desktop computers to buy goods and book hotel rooms online. If your hotel isn’t making the best use of the mobile market then you are missing out on a serious market share that will give the edge to your competitors that are probably making inroads and reaching out to mobile users.
Don’t put the future of your Hotel and livelihood at risk by ignoring the power and reach of the mobile market – start boosting your mobile presence today to attract a whole new range of guests and repeat clients.
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Izaak Crook is a Digital Marketing Executive for AppInstitute, a SaaS App Builder platform that allows anyone to create their own iOS and Android app without writing a single line of code.
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