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How To Increase Hotel Bookings And Ancillary Revenue On Mobile

Posted on Sep 22, 2017 12:35:52 PM

 Traveler Insights Part 2: Mobile User Search Queries

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Mobile search and direct mobile bookings have increased sharply over the past several years and are expected to continue growing. Although consumers still tend to research across devices, and continue to prefer to make bookings on desktop devices, the growing importance of mobile can’t be denied.

These trends reveal powerful opportunity to increase direct bookings -- especially from travelers already in-destination.

Mobile Channels Are Dominated by Search

Studies by both Sojern and Google have shown that mobile is now the dominant channel for hotel searches, especially in the economy and midscale segments, were 73% and 62% of all searches are performed on mobile, respectively.

Meanwhile, luxury hotel searches saw the fastest rate of growth between July 2015 and December 2016 with a 23% increase in their share of searches. Upscale and economy hotel brands saw slower growth during the same period, growing 19% and 14% respectively, but their slower pace can be at least partly attributed to the fact that such a large proportion their searches already take place on mobile.

 

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Sojern and Google concluded that, although the traveler’s path to conversion is complicated and often crosses devices, the growing importance of mobile cannot the ignored.

Here are 3 things you can do to increase mobile search traffic, direct bookings, and ancillary revenue.

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1. Optimize For Mobile Users In All Stages Of The Booking Process

Most hotels already have mobile-friendly websites. However, they’re often missing key optimizations for mobile users.

One of the most common problems is related to the use of 3rd-party booking engines. Many hotels use software that provides a subpar mobile booking experience or don’t take the necessary steps to ensure a seamless booking experience for mobile users moving from the hotel website to the booking engine. The result is a clunky user experience that increases cart abandonment rates.

Fixing these issues is one of the easiest things a hotel can do to increase online bookings

Of course, ensuring a smooth and pleasant mobile booking experience is not going to mean much if the rest of your mobile website is difficult to use on mobile. To really capitalize on changes in mobile browsing behavior hoteliers need to tailor their mobile experience to the needs of consumers in all stages of the booking funnel (not just those who are ready to book) and embrace seamless payment options, which have been shown to facilitate mobile conversions.

2. Beware Of The Booking Blinders

It’s not surprising that hoteliers focus strongly on putting heads in beds, but research also shows that focussing on bookings to the exclusion of other revenue streams and value-adds for guests is akin to leaving money on the table.

The customer journey doesn’t stop when the booking process is complete. In 2016 Phocuswright valued the global in-destination travel activities marketplace at $112 billion. Their research also shows that in 2015 more than 60% of travelers researched in-destination activities on mobile, and that in 2016, 24% of them went on to make bookings through their mobile devices

The in-destination activities marketplace is too big, and the opportunities for hoteliers to capitalize on it are too great, to be ignored. Some forward-thinking accommodations brands are already moving aggressively to build market share, such as Airbnb with their new Trips offering.

Hotels are in a uniquely strong position to add value and upsell guests searching for in-destination experiences on their mobile devices. Here are a few ways hotels can increase ancillary revenue and add value for guests all through their phones:

  • Guests would rather learn about your property while lying on the bed with their phone than by looking through a binder at a desk or calling the concierge. Make sure your website enables guests on mobile to easily discover key information about your property, such as dining facilities and  happy hours, tours, gyms, spas, dry cleaning, and any special offers.
  • Make sure your local SEO is perfect. Google and other activity-related websites often provide recommendations to users based on their locations. If a guest is in your hotel and searching for a local place to eat or a tour company -- and you have one of those in your hotel -- there is absolutely no reason that the business on your property should not show up at the top of their search results.
  • Capitalize on your free WIFI. Many hotels will automatically send guests to the hotel website after they’ve logged in. That’s good, but it’s not optimal. Instead, go one step further. Create a mobile landing page that’s designed to draw in a guest on their phone with a virtual tour of in-house facilities and special offers, and give your guest the tools they need to improve their own stay at your property.
  • Consider the value of a mobile concierge. An app requires a large initial investment, but it can result in a service that improves the guest experience and reduces your reliance on hourly employees that guests only interact with in the lobby. The Marriott and Hilton have both developed their own hotel app or mobile concierge services.

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3. Create In-Destination Content With Mobile In Mind

Hotels can work with local content providers to create unique travel content for their website, which will help them to capture traffic in the research or “in-the-moment” stages of the travelers journey and provide them with valuable local expertise that will help them explore your destination.

Google insights shows that half of of international travelers use smartphones to look for things to do once they’ve arrived at their destination. This is a rich opportunity to attract travelers to your website, your property, and your ancillary services.

Positioning your hotel as a local neighborhood expert by creating mobile-friendly content about local tours, activities, and attractions is both a smart SEO strategy and an excellent way to attract travelers already in your neighborhood, even those who are not staying with you, to your property so they can learn about your offerings


Sources:

From Search Engine to Booking Engine: Sojern’s 2017 Hotel Report

https://www.sojern.com/travel-insights/2017-hotel-report

What Hoteliers Can Do To Leverage Mobile Booking Trends

https://www.sabre.com/insights/what-hoteliers-can-do-to-leverage-mobile-hotel-booking-trends/

 Think With Google: 4 Mobile Moments Changing the Consumer Journey https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/travel-trends-4-mobile-moments-changing-consumer-journey.html

Think With Google: Data Reveals Hot Spots And New Consumer Insights

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/mobile/travel-trends-2016-data-consumer-insights/

TravelTripper: Four Important Mobile Strategies For Hotels

http://www.traveltripper.com/blog/four-important-mobile-marketing-strategies-for-hotels/

 Phocuswright: The Year Ahead In Digital Travel

http://www.phocuswright.com/Free-Travel-Research/2017-Phocus-Forward-The-Year-Ahead-in-Digital-Travel

Think With Google: Data Reveals Hot Spots And New Consumer Insights

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/mobile/travel-trends-2016-data-consumer-insights/

Topics: Ancillary Revenues, Hotel bookings

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