According to global research firm, eMarketer, in 2015 there were 1.91 billion smart phone users, and that number would increase by 12.6% in 2016 to touch 2.16 billion. In many countries most Google searches take place on mobile devices rather than on computers and the hospitality industry is no different. ‘Mobile hotel bookings’ have seen more than 128 million Google searches.
Google announces mobile-first index
Recently Google announced that it is testing a new mobile-first index which shall reflect results based on the searches via mobile users. As more searches happen on mobile, Google wants the index and results to represent most their users — the mobile searchers.
Mobile friendly sites are a necessity
Hotels need to ensure that their websites are mobile- responsive and easy to navigate. To keep up with the consumers, mobile minutes (when people reflexively turn to a device, often to a smartphone—to learn or do something) and dayparting trends (breaking a day into parts, hoteliers can implement strategies and marketing plans to engage their potential guests during the mobile-moments) need to be strongly integrated in the 2017 marketing plans for all hotels.
A Smartphone user generally has high expectations with extremely low patience levels, hotels need to ensure that these mobile sites are well-equipped to give relevant information with minimal navigation. Information literally must be on your fingertips.
Analysing mobile experiences
For hoteliers to capture their customers at the mobile-moments, they should first have a mobile version of their website and preferably have the payment gateway integrated into their website. With almost 40% of mobile consumers abandoning a travel booking due to poor experience, hotels just can’t afford to be flippant regarding their websites.
The timing of searches during the day is just as relevant as the seasons of the calendar year. On a typical weekday, most searches happen on mobiles rather than other devices for 15 out of the 24 hours in a day. Computer and tablets are used during office hours but before and after work and during afternoon hours, mobile surfing is the preferred choice.
Close to 70% of all leisure travellers, search for travel ideas in spare time. Like when they’re commuting, waiting for something or are on a break.
Hotels should ensure that they are paying attention to the device patterns for their hotel. Which time of the day do they receive maximum traffic and bookings. Are there specific times when people are just browsing as opposed to the times when bookings are being made?
2017 is the year to focus on dayparting and mobile-moments, with the right strategies and marketing plans in place, the hotels can see an increase both in bookings and in revenue for their properties.