The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), in partnership with Nor1, released a new white paper entitled, "Engaging the Traveler in Real Time: Ancillary Revenue, Upselling, and the Mobile Platform." The use of mobile devices has skyrocketed. In 2014, estimates show that 40 percent of leisure travelers and 35 percent of business travelers will use mobile search engines to find hotels, and subsequently, to purchase.
The White Paper, authored by well-known travel industry writer Harvey Chipkin, reviews the three stages of mobile marketing in the hospitality industry, key strategies for upselling with mobile, and best practices for marketers that want to incorporate mobile into their overall strategy.
The paper outlines two key takeaways for mobile marketing. First, hoteliers shouldn't miss the big picture. Mobile bookings are important, but they aren't the only tools in a mobile marketing toolbox. Mobile can be used for all parts of the journey, from booking through to returning home.
Second, hoteliers don't need to worry about over communicating; they need to worry about irrelevant communications. What consumers want is timely, relevant and credible information, delivered when the guest wants and needs it. Few industries are as rich in data as the hospitality industry to be able to deliver a message at the right time for the right price to the right person.
The paper also discusses the three stages of the hotel-guest interaction.
- Booking and pre-departure: While customers may not be interested in spending more money immediately after booking, redeemable mobile offers that are good for later in the cycle of their trip could be a key strategy for hoteliers. Offers should add value and be easy to redeem, easy to find and easy to read.
- En route, at check-in, and during the stay: Providing timely, relevant offers throughout the reservation lifecycle is the key to driving the conversion rate. That's why mobile is so important to a hotelier's marketing plan. As the guest nears your location the hotel becomes their local expert. Providing information and assistance can go a long way in building loyalty and increasing chances for a repeat visit.
- Post-stay: Think beyond future bookings and keep giving your guests reasons to come back to your website. Offering discounts is not always the best option. If they had a great experience they will likely be open to returning despite the price.