We at Sojern have seen the use of mobile devices for travel searches and bookings increase. According to a report launched last year by AdColony, nearly two-thirds of US consumers say that it’s extremely important for them to use a smartphone when searching and planning travel. Mobile is now ubiquitous throughout the traveller’s path to purchase. How can hoteliers make the most of this reality?
Sojern recently participated in a webinar hosted by our partner, Oaky, alongside D-EDGE, Quicktext, HotelResBot, and H-Hotels, on how hoteliers can use mobile to maximise their direct bookings. Here are our top findings from that webinar.
Nearly three-quarters of travellers use metasearch engines in their search process, making it one of the most important channels in travel marketing. A metasearch engine will direct a user to your website, so long as you have a presence there. If you aren’t using metasearch to advertise your property, you can be sure that OTAs are. Just like with SEM, OTAs are bidding on your hotel to drive travellers to book with them. Therefore, it is critical to have a metasearch presence.
Christoph Peppers from H-Hotels suggests working with a channel manager to automatically push availability and rates across your metasearch engines. This ensures your offering is always updated. Including details about amenities and services will also help potential guests easily find what they are looking for.
For the best results, especially on mobile, Lea Vernet from D-EDGE Hospitality Solutions suggests bidding for higher placement. That way guests see your direct listing immediately, without having to scroll, which will lead to a higher click-through rate (CTR).
For more tips and tricks to help in your metasearch efforts, check out Sojern’s Complete Guide to Hotel Metasearch.
Travellers spend 5X more time on Facebook and Instagram than any other travel-related touchpoint. Social media is one of the most crucial places to engage and inspire potential guests.
While social media is helpful during the dreaming stage of travel planning, it can also be used to drive direct bookings. To achieve this, Vernet of D-EDGE Hospitality suggests including a link to your website or booking engine in your social media efforts.
Benjamin Devisme from Quicktext explains that people have short attention spans, and don’t want to waste time searching and scrolling for answers. Chatbots can solve for this across mobile and desktop.
And today’s Chatbots go beyond answering simple questions. They can even complete reservations if they are integrated with your booking engine. If done right, they can guide guests through the entire booking process, providing a smooth and personalised experience.
Brendan May from HERA Reservation Bot shared that one quarter of direct bookings in Germany come from email. And while it may be an overlooked channel, it’s clearly one that hoteilers can’t afford to ignore.
And because over half of emails are opened on mobile, it’s crucial that emails display well on various screen sizes. People are more likely to delete emails that don’t look right on their screens, so optimising for mobile is key.
When it comes to mobile optimisation, it’s about making it easy to navigate. Visitors to your website should be able to find all the important information they need, and the booking process should be easy and intuitive.
Your payment provider should also support traditional credit cards as well as options like Google Pay or Apple Pay. Finally, the whole process must be compliant with the latest security standards, PCI DSS and PSD2.
Even a 2-second delay in load time can result in website abandonment rates up to 87%. Luckily, there are things you can do to combat this. Remove old, obsolete content because it slows down your website. Optimise images by reducing their size before uploading them. This ensures they display properly and keeps your website running fast.
Sojern also has a guide to creating a website that converts if you are looking for more tips.
Mobile is key for creating a memorable, personalised guest experience after the booking occurs. “On average, 65% of upsell bookings happen on mobile devices. 65% of that comes via iPhones,” explains Erik Tengen of Oaky. “That means you must absolutely optimise your upselling interface for mobile, and more specifically for iPhones.”
Oaky also recommends optimising the seven core deals, noted in the image below, that make up 80% of upsell revenue. Beautiful images and engaging copy will make your offers more attractive.
Understand your target market to further improve results. What’s most important to them? How do they perceive value for money? Create different guest segments to target them with customised deals they’re most likely to be interested in.
The ubiquity of mobile and its role in travel planning and booking creates a lot of opportunities for your hotel to generate more direct bookings, drive revenue, and improve the guest experience.
Ready to get started using mobile to maximise direct bookings? We are here to help? Download the step-by-step checklist to get started now.