Hotel Digital Marketing Goes Mobile


Hotel digital marketing is rapidly going mobile, according to speakers at last week’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference conducted by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International.

Lalia Rach, partner and founder of Rach Enterprises, opened the event by encouraging attendees to put away their electronic devices to test themselves.
“In some ways marketing is just digital today … take a pledge not to use any digital device for a day and see how long you last,” Rach said. “We are constantly attached and wearable technology will make it ubiquitous.”
In a seminar called “Mobile: Why the biggest opportunities are now in the smallest moments,” Shaun Aukland, senior account executive at Google, said mobile use continues to grow.
“Much of the usage growth is on mobile, but it’s not just usage,” Aukland said. “Mobile is the device people care most about whether it’s for work, research or leisure. The change is that we no longer ‘go online,’ we live online. And it has created what we call micro-moments—those times when we turn to a device with some urgency to learn, discover or buy something. It is an intent-rich moment. This is the new battleground—when people want to act.”
What does this mean for hotel marketers who are trying to reach elusive travelers?
“The phone is now the main screen,” Aukland said. “Mobile is not just for last-minute decisions, although that remains a strong component. And it’s not just about apps because half of travelers still use a company’s website after downloading their app. As a result of this shift toward mobile micro-moments, brand loyalty is eroding as consumers look to who can provide a solution right now.”
Aukland said that when it comes to what device people prefer to connect to the Internet, while there is some growth in tablet use, phone use is soaring as desktop and laptop use are declining. He said 58% of all searches are now done on phones.
Speed is a critical factor when it comes to reaching that elusive travel booker via mobile, he said.
“The greatest impact you can make is reducing a page loading time from three seconds to two,” Aukland said. “That will cut your bounce rate in half.”
Aukland cited a Google tool called PageSpeed Insights that lists companies by the speed at which their pages load. The most recent leaders in hospitality when it came to page speed were, InterContinental Hotels Group, Airbnb, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation and TripAdvisor. Factors contributing to page speed include picture size, use of videos and complex design.
Maximizing digital marketing has even come down to how consumers physically hold the phone.
“We are working to understand mobile behavior,” said Anil Aggarwal, CEO of Milestone Internet Marketing. “For instance, a lot of people do everything on the phone with one hand and you have to design appropriately—even though that might create issues for left handers.”

Mobile platforms and content types

In a session titled, “Coming to a small screen near you: Mobile video in 2016,” Eric Schwamberger, chief marketing and content officer for Tenth Wave Digital, said that as content creators, marketers “not only have to consider the importance of the content we are creating but also how that content will be served to our consumer—in this case on mobile.”
“Mobile is now as much a mindset as a device,” Schwamberger said. “In 2016, mobile will go beyond smartphones and tablets to be considered part of a distributed mobile web where people want to move seamlessly among devices without having to start over when they switch devices. Brands that learn how to connect devices will have a huge advantage.”
Mobile cannot be considered an “afterthought for marketers,” Schwamberger said, as “mcommerce” (ecommerce via mobile) sales are expected to reach $130 billion by 2018 and three-fourths of mobile data use will be video by 2020.
Schwamberger said there will be significant improvements in push notifications on mobile, which he conceded have been a nuisance.
“You will see more purpose and reason for notifications, and if you send something that means something to the receiver, they will thank you,” he said.
Video is another content type thriving in the mobile environment, and Schwamberger offered tips for making videos work on mobile:
  • Shorter is better.
  • Think local and be relevant.
  • Be engaging and never intrusive.
  • Creativity is key for ads; include images that catch the eye.
  • Start with a hook that captures users right away.
  • Use quick cuts, not long scenes.
  • Use oversized text.
  • Make sound secondary—many people have it turned down.
  • Have a call to action.
  • Relying on emotion is very effective with mobile.

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Founded by two travel and technology professionals with years of experience in Asia, Representasia specialises in sales & marketing representation throughout Southeast Asia for travel/hospitality technology providers and travel-related startups, as well as providing marketing consultancy services for hotels and travel businesses in the region.

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