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Industry Pulse Poll Analysis: the Numbers Prove Hotel Mobile Websites are a Core Marketing Initiative
By Asher Fusco
Smartphone use continues to rise this year, especially in regards to using smartphones to participate in social media channels. 2012 has truly been the year of SoLoMo and hoteliers are acting accordingly by focusing on mobile initiatives such as website development.
According to a HeBS Digital Industry Pulse Poll performed last month, hoteliers are more interested in mobile website development than any other aspect of mobile marketing, including mobile app development, mobile banner advertising and other initiatives.
HeBS Digital Industry Pulse Poll Results, August 2012
Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed were most interested in mobile website development, while just less than one-third were most curious about mobile apps. A combined ten percent of respondents chose mobile banner advertising, analytics, SEO, SEM, and SMS marketing.
Hoteliers’ interest in mobile website development signals their endorsement of a mobile marketing initiative supported by HeBS Digital from the start of the mobile channel’s emergence. As HeBS Digital President & CEO Max Starkov wrote in his “Hotelier’s 2012 Mobile Marketing MUST Dos and Don’ts,” developing and maintaining a quality mobile website is much more important than building, maintaining and promoting a more labor-intensive mobile app.
The results of the Industry Pulse Poll largely mirror that of the 6th Annual Benchmark Survey on Hotel Digital Marketing Budget Planning, where the highest percentage of hoteliers fit a mobile site and a mobile booking engine into their budget planning.
The Mobile Website: An Integral Piece of the Puzzle
Mobile sites generate substantial numbers of incremental bookings. As more and more people turn to smartphones as their primary channel for on-the-go purchases and convenient information-gathering, the numbers of bookings will continue to grow.
It’s crucial for hoteliers to cater to today’s hyperactive travel consumer by creating and maintaining an optimized mobile site that downloads quickly, provides easy-to-digest text, minimal (and yet eye-catching) visual content and a simple mobile booking system. With a fully functioning mobile website, hoteliers can deliver relevant information to and derive bookings from a fast-growing segment of on-the-go customers.
The Mobile App: An Unnecessary Expense
More than 90 percent of users prefer mobile browsing over using a mobile app (CEM4Mobile Analytics). Not only are apps very expensive to build, maintain and promote, but many are usable only on specific devices. Travel apps simply cannot compete with more popular apps such as social media, entertainment and game apps that users favor. It’s no surprise the industry is turning away from mobile apps in favor of the affordability, efficiency and ROI-driving potential afforded by hotel mobile websites.
Other Important Aspects
While hoteliers were less interested in other mobile marketing initiatives, these remain important linchpins in any successful mobile marketing strategy. Optimized local content, SMS marketing, mobile banner advertising, SEM and SEO are efficient customer-engagement avenues, and examining mobile analytics offers crucial insights to the success of these initiatives.
Take Action and Realize ROIs
By this point, the mobile channel has already become a prominent travel planning and hotel distribution channel, especially in drive-in and last-minute travel markets. The U.S. hospitality industry has seen staggering growth rates in leisure and unmanaged business travel bookings via mobile devices, with projected totals of $1,318 million in 2012 and more than $2,155 million in 2013 (63 percent year-over-year growth).
The numbers prove it — hoteliers must integrate mobile marketing with the rest of their hotel’s marketing initiatives or risk losing market share. Building an optimized mobile website with a mobile booking engine should no longer be considered an ‘extra’ in the budget; it should be a core marketing initiative. Once a mobile website is in place, consider utilizing mobile SEM, analytics, banner advertising and SMS marketing to capture incremental revenue through mobile and voice reservations that would have otherwise gone to the competition or the OTAs.
The first step toward realizing ROIs through the mobile channel is to reach out to a leading mobile marketing and full-service hotel digital marketing firm for advice.
Source: HeBS Digital Blog
About the Author and HeBS Digital
Asher Fusco is Senior Copywriter, Copywriting & SEO Department at HeBS Digital
HeBS Digital has pioneered many of the best practices in hotel Internet marketing, social and mobile marketing, and direct online channel distribution. The firm has won over 190 prestigious industry awards for its digital marketing and website design services, including numerous Adrian Awards, Davey Awards, W3 Awards, WebAwards, Magellan Awards, Summit International Awards, Interactive Media Awards, IAC Awards, etc.
A diverse client portfolio of top-tier major hotel brands, luxury and boutique hotel brands, resorts and casinos, hotel management companies, franchisees and independents, and CVBs are benefiting from HeBS Digital’s direct online channel strategy and digital marketing expertise. Contact HeBS Digital consultants at (212) 752-8186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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