Hotels target mobile-centric 'silent traveler'

Hotels have been seeing the mobile shift of its customers, as they increasingly use smartphones, tablets and apps prior to their hotel stay and during their visit. Many hotels are catering to these mobile-centric travelers.

Skift recently released a report on this “silent traveler,” who eschew traditional modes of customer service in favor of digital options.

“The silent traveler is a customer who is conversant and comfortable with online and mobile functionality, all manner of it, and in a first-screen capacity. While the silent traveler undoubtedly turns at times to a dot-com channel. . .chiefly they are among the individuals for whom tablets and smartphones solve in-destination quandaries much of the time,” according to the study.

The most tech-savvy customers tend to skew younger. Based on a Skift survey of 1,500 consumers in June, those aged 25-34 were mostly likely (39.6 percent) to use mobile search and social media “to resolve a travel problem,” reports MediaPost.

Hilton Suggests, Hilton’s social media-based service, allows mobile-equipped customers to ask questions or provide feedback as well as letting the hotel chain scan social chatter for any problems that might arise at one of its properties.

“Because of connectivity levels, because of the adoption of the smartphone, because of the data that is available — and people’s willingness to share data,” Chris Silcock, senior vice president of Commercial Services at Hilton Worldwide, told Skift. “We, right now, have the opportunity to reimagine the hospitality experience, combining the physical and the digital.

Marriott executives indicated that the release of its check-in app last August has freed up staff to provide higher-level service.

“As we see our hotels spend less time having to physically check our guests into a room, or physically check them out, it’s freeing up our hosts to take care of customers better, and to deal with more complicated service issues,” Matthew Carroll, vice president of Global Brand Management for the company, told Skift.

The Skift study overall recommends that brands stay attuned to customer input in their social platforms, where they might be more likely to sound off than in person. That’s where the silent traveler becomes more vocal.

“They share and express their experiences. Reaching them, and understanding what the self–reliant customer needs is about proactively listening to this exchange,” it states.