In the time of dial-up internet, many people’s modems would occupy the phone line, effectively disabling the telephone whilst they were online. This inconvenient procedure seems unthinkable in our ever-connected world. There’s also a peculiar irony to it when you consider that your phone is now the very thing that enables our ever-present connection - not something that would challenge it. After all, we don’t just “go online” as we once did – we now live our entire lives online.
This increase in access is largely due to the availability afforded by mobile phones and devices – allowing us to remain connected to the online world from practically anywhere. This ‘always on’ lifestyle means that more of our activities are moving to mobile, and planning a trip is no different.
Only a few years ago this planning process was done entirely on desktop computers and laptops but nowadays more than ever it is done with mobile phones. Across all markets, people research locations, hotels, and flights on their phones - it is now just as common as shopping for clothing on a mobile device. In markets like France and the UK, the percentage of people comfortable in researching and booking an entire vacation on their mobile is more than 40%. But do these figures also include booking a vacation direct?
Where do guests book on mobile
According to research conducted by Google, 70% of travellers research hotel information and amenities on their smartphone. Experts at Deloitte predicted that 2017 would be the year where mobile bookings would dominate the hotel industry scene and travellers would be able to truly experience all that mobile has to offer. Despite these predictions for 2017, and although most of the research was done on mobile, this figure did not translate into direct bookings.
However online travel agents (OTAs) did well at attracting mobile bookings, with 39% of all their bookings coming from mobile users. On top of these figures, if the OTA has a mobile app, reports are that apps convert 5 times higher than their mobile site. OTAs that have an app say that their booking via app represent 60% of their total bookings.
Direct hotel bookings coming from mobile in 2017 however, only amounted to 10%. This disparity in numbers is a testament to the OTAs’ heavy investment in mobile – whether it is app development, user experience, or simplified browsing and booking process on mobile. Hoteliers lack the enormous budgets to compete in a digital arms race with the OTAs. This makes it crucial for hoteliers to get those users off their mobiles and onto desktop, to secure a direct booking in a more even playing field.
Get them off mobile
The good news for hoteliers is that in general, people are still not as confident in booking on mobile. According to Google’s research, 55% of travellers felt like they had to consult too many websites before making a decision as they lacked the confidence that they were getting the best deal. Since travellers are most concerned about finding the best price for their vacation - this presents hoteliers the ideal opportunity to get them off mobile and onto desktop. Google also discovered that only 23% of travellers are confident they can find the same hotel information on mobile that is findable on desktop, and ⅔ of travellers still double-check prices of their vacation plans on a desktop after finding them on mobile. When they are on your website to check the prices, it is crucial to convince them that the best value comes from booking direct.
How to get guests to convert on Desktop
There are many different ways throughout the customer journey to target and persuade visitors to book direct. Hotelchamp offers a variety of solutions that are excellent ways to convert mobile users to desktop. A perfect example of how Hotelchamp can help to convince your guests to convert to desktop is by using a voucher solution.
How does it work?
With seamless website integration, proven results and powerful customisation, Hotelchamp’s Voucher Solution provides hotels with a personal way to build value for website visitors and drive direct bookings. This solution has a more personal approach than a traditional sale or broad discount offer, a voucher leverages the psychological principle of reciprocity. By offering a personalised discount to the individual, a hotel can build the perception that they believe this guest deserves a special price. Feeling valued, the ‘gifting’ of this special discount subconsciously compels guests to reciprocate and so are more likely to book direct.
Despite entering the booking engine and starting to fill in their information, 69% of guests will not complete the booking process. It may seem that these guests have been lost forever, but you can win them back, ultimately leading to a direct booking.
How does it work?
After filling in their email address, Hotelchamp can deploy a “save my selections” prompt. This GDPR compliant solution allows guests to confirm with the single click of a button that they would like to be sent a reminder of their requested dates in the event that they don’t complete the booking in that session. If the booking has not completed within 30 minutes of the beginning of the process, Hotelchamp will automatically email the guest their saved selections.
How can these two solutions move a guest from mobile to desktop?
By leveraging the interest of guests exploring their options and your website via mobile, you can provide a compelling reminder to return and continue their booking via desktop.
Social is the key to mobile travellers
Social media is an indispensable source of traffic for hotels - prior to booking a holiday guests research hotels on social media platforms. A search conducted by Google showed that travellers state they “always” use their smartphones to plan their travels - to search for activities and attractions. Instagram conducted a survey on the platform - 48% of people said they choose their destinations by means of Instagram.
Portraying your hotel in a visually compelling way is the key to impressing these guests through Instagram. Hoteliers can easily “wow” guests by hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of the hotel and post it on their social media platforms. Giving your soon-to-be guests a virtual experience of what it will be like to stay at your hotel.
Another great platform to target potential guests, especially by means of ads, is Facebook. With Facebook Dynamic Ads (these ads are now fully GDPR compliant), it is easier than ever to specifically target people who are interested in travelling to the destination your hotel is located in.
With OTAs winning the lion’s share of mobile bookings, the key to increasing your website bookings is knowing the strengths of each channel. Mobile is excellent for guests gathering information and desktop is your e-commerce, consideration and decision powerhouse.