The importance of the mobile experience in travel marketing can’t be understated. As I’ve written about before, the inspiration to travel (and the need to book it!) strikes at all times of day, in all environments – and with our mobile devices always on, always nearby, and constantly in use (the average person checks their phone 150 times a day), inspiration usually starts becoming action via the mobile channel.
This recent article in Mobile Commerce Press (highlighting a study by Magnani Caruso Dutton) further illustrates the need for a strong mobile experience. Some of the most interesting points from article:
Those are pretty strong numbers – and they point to a significant change the hospitality industry is facing: Most travelers want to walk into a hotel, check in as they enter via mobile device, and go straight to their room – then presumably check out the same way when they leave. As a result, the opportunity to provide a person-to-person customer experience diminishes dramatically – even the perfunctory welcome at the check-in counter – putting even more onus on the digital channel to provide the customer experience travelers expect.
This is one of the main reasons Airbnb has become as successful as it is – and why many hoteliers are wrong to underestimate them. Their digital experience is exceptional, from the site (regardless of accessing via mobile or desktop) to their email program to their SMS and Push messaging. Very few hotel chains can match it today.
Meeting the needs of guests who prefer a mobile experience over a personal one isn’t easy – in fact, it can be expensive and time consuming to set up – but remember that mobile is never going away. The mobile channel will only continue to grow in scale and importance. Making the investment now will pay tremendous dividends. A few ideas to get started:
There will always be a place for exceptional, face-to-face customer service – the importance of those interactions can never be underestimated. But with the ubiquity of mobile and the expectations of travelers today, the mobile experience your brand delivers may arguably be even more important for generating revenue and delivering customer satisfaction. The brands that master the mobile experience will be the ones that stand out in the years to come.