It’s vital for accom marketers to shift their outdated thinking on smartphones, says bookings giant Expedia.
The assumption that mobiles are only used for research and not to make bookings is now obsolete, the online travel agency told Accomnews.
“Technology is growing at a rapid pace and it’s imperative that hoteliers evolve the approach that mobile is solely a research channel,” said area manager Jamie Griego.
“With mobile accounting for 81 percent of global internet usage, the truth is that more and more sales are being made on handheld devices.
“Mobile should be a key part of every hotelier’s distribution strategy.”
Expedia recorded a 15 percent year-on-year growth over the first quarter of 2018 in mobile demand amongst international and domestic travellers to popular Australian destinations.
Top feeder markets booking via mobile included USA, UK, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, with mobile app users come back to the platform twice as frequently as the typical desktop user.
The bookings platform experienced an increase of 40% to 250 million-plus cumulative mobile downloads last year.
According to Jamie Griego, developing a mobile strategy isn’t just taking your desktop platform and shrinking it down to phone size.
He says the hotels enjoying the greatest mobile success are those that optimise the experience to ensure highest priority content is displayed on hotel search results.
Advocating fee-charging online travel agencies like Expedia as one way for smaller hotels without “oodles of tech resources” to adapt to the market, he said: “Obviously mobile has far smaller real estate in terms of what can be put forward, so often hoteliers need to be mindful of what the smartphone shopper wants to access.
“It’s also important to have the ability to go back and review which features are capturing attention and driving bookings.”
According to the group’s data, images generate more than half of total engagement (51 percent), with mobile customers viewing between 30 and 35 photos before making a transaction.
“Images have a significant influence upon the purchase choice, ahead of other mobile booking features such as the availability wizard at 18 percent, map at 12 percent and reviews at seven percent,” said Mr Griego.