Ever seen the woman on the train who is on her way to work, talking on her cell phone and typing away on her tablet at the same time? Our society is becoming increasingly mobile. Everything we do is on the go so there is a high demand for mobile applications and software that allow us to do what we need to do quickly, efficiently and wherever we want. With an increased response to this desire, our society is beginning to expect this functionality in everyday tasks. While it may not have been one of the first to respond to the trend, the hospitality industry is no exception.
Hotel mobile apps and mobile websites are beginning to take shape. As travelers turn to their phones more and more to book their stay, hoteliers are responding. Most major hotel brands have developed applications that allow guests to browse the property, book rooms, monitor rewards programs and review their stay. In 2012, bookings through mobile devices jumped to about 7 percent of bookings through hotel-owned channels, according to PhoCusWright. The study projects such bookings will make up 20 percent of bookings through hotel websites. With such an increase on the horizon, by ignoring the mobile market, you could lose a large portion of your guests.
The influx of mobile bookings isn’t solely from hotel-owned sites and apps. Third party booking sites are also looking into the mobile market to generate buzz and bookings. Being responsible for such a large portion of bookings, OTAs need to stay on top of the trends. Although it would not hurt hoteliers if hotel-owned bookings saw an increase, they do rely on OTAs for a large portion of their bookings.
With this new medium of bookings there is a lot to be discovered. Information is still being gathered and synthesized so hotels can best utilize this new way of booking. Some hotels have seen a decrease in revenue from same-day booking services. Until the kinks are all ironed out, it may be wise for small hotels to sit back and watch. Let the big name brands do the experimentation with bookings on the go so you don’t waste your breath. But don’t be too late on the uptake, because when the applications get it right, this could be a huge game changer.
You can also read our other articles on Top 10 hospitality industry trends and how clients view cloud based solutions as an opportunity rather than a cost.