Is mobile the key to success for hotels?

Spoiler alert: the answer is yes.

Today’s tech-savvy, mobile-first consumers are increasingly choosing the travel services that give them power and control over their trip – and ditching those that don’t. What’s more, they are also looking at digital platforms that allow them to research, plan and book their travel without having to navigate between numerous apps and websites.

The unstoppable rise of the mobile-first traveller is well-documented. In North America and Europe, mobile devices account for 28% and 33% of all hotel bookings respectively. In many emerging (or growing) markets, where mobile is the first device for internet access, that number is as high as 53%[1]. Additionally, Travelport Digital’s Mobile Travel Trends 2019[2] found that travellers downloaded the same number of travel apps – or more – compared to the previous year. This highlights a huge opportunity for hotels to engage meaningfully with guests through a device that they always carry.

So why are hotels still lagging behind when it comes to the uptake of mobile technologies?

Mobile in the day of the Phono Sapiens

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One thing is clear: today’s hotel guests expect relevant services to be available at their fingertips, regardless of time of day, device or location. In 2019, mobile technology is no longer a ‘nice to have’. Consumers now expect brands to deliver a seamless digital experience that is also integral to the overall experience. As such, it pays to ensure that the teams in charge of a brand’s websites, apps and social media are working together to ensure the process is as fluid and convenient as possible. This is even more crucial in mobile-first markets, such a China, where consumers are already demanding frictionless mobile payments (e.g. Alipay).

Are hotels lagging behind?

The travel industry has one of the highest cart abandonment rates – 81.8%[3] – of any industry. When you then combine the fact that a whopping 94% of leisure travellers use multiple devices when planning and booking travel[4], this means that the sector is facing an additional challenge in understanding the modern traveller. Hotel brands need to not only do more to move customers along the booking funnel, but they must also do so across multiple channels and devices. If not, they run the risk of losing out on billions to poor digital user experience.

Research indicates that travellers who use mobile devices and apps tend to be high-value customers

The business traveller is a case in point. Research indicates that travellers who use mobile devices and apps tend to be high-value customers. They typically take more trips and are, overall, more likely to book again with the same retailers. However, according to Travelport’s Digital Business Travelers Research 2019 (quoted on Phocuswire.com[5]), many business travellers have hit a wall with their devices, with 41% of business travellers describing not being able to access booking information on their smartphone whilst on the move as ‘very painful’. In simple terms: there is still plenty of space to improve.

Unlocking new direct booking channels

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Mobile-mastery has become paramount to achieving success in the travel industry. This is where consumers are demanding more joined-up ways to research, plan and book their trips. Whilst research suggests hotels could still make some progress in that respect, the opportunity for those who get it right is ripe for the picking.

Mobile currently accounts for more than 60% of all Skyscanner traffic. Our powerful Direct Booking capability connects you to a growing, engaged audience of mobile-first travellers and enables them to seamlessly search, choose and immediately book hotels without leaving the platform. Interested in effortlessly converting browsing into booking whilst also retaining ability to upsell ancillaries and own the customer’s journey?