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The Major Mistake that Most Hotels Make

publication date: Feb 16, 2016
author/source: Jean Francois Mourier

By Jean Francois Mourier

Today, hoteliers know that it is imperative to have a booking engine in your property's corporate website; if you don't, your property would be losing out on bookings, and relying solely on the (costly) OTAs to gain bookings through the online channel.

But now there is a new update to a property's booking engine that all hotels MUST have, or else they are losing out on valuable online revenue and falling behind the competition: a mobile-compatible booking engine.

Now, you may be thinking: "But I already have a mobile booking engine. When you go to my site on my iPhone, I can see the booking engine. Problem solved!" Not quite!

It is imperative that hotels create websites and booking engines that are optimized specifically to be viewed on mobile devices, including both tablets and smartphones. The reason is simple, a large percentage of consumers are booking their hotel reservations online via their smartphone/tablet; in 2012, 30% of people who used the mobile web booked travel products (including hotels and flights) on their mobile phone[1]. And this trend will only continue over the coming years.

Not quite convinced about the importance of a mobile-compatible booking engine?

  • Booking.com recently reported that its mobile bookings rose from $1 billion in 2011 to $3 billion in 2012[2] a 200% increase in only one year.
  • Almost 15% of TripAdvisor¹s revenue comes from mobile channels[3].
  • PhoCusWright forecasted that mobile bookings will account for one in five online travel dollars by 2014, with total mobile spending exceeding $25 billion in the year 2014[4].

With the rapidly increasing number of people booking via mobile devices, the revenues that you will be losing if you don't offer mobile-compatible booking tools will also skyrocket. There are two mobile tools that every hotel should be offering to potential customers: a mobile site with built-in mobile-compatible booking engine or Facebook booking engine integration.

Mobile Website with Mobile-Compatible Booking Engine

If you have ever tried searching for or booking a hotel on your smartphone through a website that isn't mobile-compatible, you know how frustrating an experience it can be. If you haven't, it is worth taking the time to try it out so that you know what your potential customers will experience firsthand.

As we all know, consumers have a VERY short attention span so if searching for and booking a hotel through your site is time-consuming or frustrating, it is a safe assumption that potential guests will choose to book elsewhere. Especially since most of the large OTAs have mobile-friendly sites and/or mobile apps which make it quick and easy to find a hotel room, a property is practically encouraging customers to book through the (expensive) OTAs if their site isn't mobile-compatible.

Facebook Integration

Most hoteliers have now recognized the importance of Facebook as a means of communicating to past and potential guests; however, the majority of hotels have not yet monetized this important channel, making the ROI on social media marketing very low.

Today, it is possible to integrate a booking engine into your Facebook page, so consumers search for and book a room without leaving your page. Due to Facebook's immense popularity and the high percentage of users who use the site via their smartphone/tablet (78% of US users use Facebook via mobile daily[5]), Facebook has become a very important mobile booking channel for hotels to implement.

These options are fantastic ways to enable potential guests to book a room with your property, from anywhere, anytime, on any device; of course, having both would be the best case scenario and one that your hotel should be striving for over the coming year. By enabling your customers to book via smartphone and tablet through your mobile-friendly site and/or Facebook profile, you will increase the number of direct bookings that your property receives, decrease OTA commissions and increase your property's overall revenues.

Some other mobile booking facts from Hotels.com:

  • 60% of mobile bookings from the first half of 2013 were made for same-day check-in, while 68% of bookings were made within two days of check-in.
  • 70% of bookings made via mobile were for one-night stays and 89% of rooms were booked for two days or less.
  • iPad users were more likely to book longer stays (three days or more) than iPhone or Android users and stayed at hotels with higher star ratings.
  • 42% of mobile bookings are for two-star hotels.

Source: http://www.hotel-online.com/press_releases/release/mobile-bookers-are-impulsive-and-short-term-travelers-with-74-being-for-sam

[1] http://www.phocuswright.com/research_updates/us-mobile-travel-bookings-to-top-us25-billion-by-2014

[2] http://news.booking.com/booking-com-mobile-bookings-triple/

[3] http://skift.com/2013/10/23/tripadvisor-to-take-direct-hotel-bookings-on-smartphone-apps-in-2014/?utm_source=Skift&utm_campaign=01c62697d7-UA-28362693-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fe7fb4248c-01c62697d7-58011753

[4] http://www.phocuswright.com/research_updates/us-mobile-travel-bookings-to-top-us25-billion-by-2014

[5] http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/13/facebook-mobile-user-count/


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