Eye on the Industry: Don’t Miss a Mobile Opportunity

The following is a post from Atain Ibia, TIG Global Marketing/Copywriting.

Despite widespread adoption from a great majority of industries and corporations, recent statistics show that hotels still seem to be reluctant about entering the flourishing mobile realm. But, hoteliers beware that wavering on this trend could cost your hotel or destination a substantial margin of profit. Encouragingly, in a recent survey conducted by The Knowland Group, 71% of hoteliers said that they believe that “mobile apps are useful tools that are going to be around for a long time.” But surveying of the same crowd revealed that 60% have not been exposed to mobile applications. So, though the majority of hoteliers seem to understand the immense benefit of mobile, this data suggests that many have yet to brave the mobile storm.

Proof is in the numbers
It is difficult to deny that mobile sites are an extremely valuable resource. In June, a study by PhoCusWright showed just how valuable mobile is and will be in the future. The research firm projected that mobile hotel bookings are to reach $160 million in 2010. The study also showed that – even if customers aren’t necessarily booking on their mobile devices – 67% of travelers (77% of frequent business travelers) with web-capable mobile devices have used their phones to source services and attractions near their travel destinations. A great example of the benefit of mobile comes from internet retailer giant, eBay. Though obviously not a hotel or destination, eBay’s mobile revenue was $600 million last year and they expect to hit $1.5 billion in mobile revenue by year’s end. The online shopping website predicts that returns from mobile will surpass returns from their internet service at some point in the future and they are making an effort to continue to knock down barriers. There’s clearly opportunity to generate some serious funds through a mobile effort.

How apps work
Mobile apps are nothing more than extensions of mobile sites—the convenience of the mobile site simplified into a platform-pertinent, user-friendly application. The GPS capabilities of smartphones have paved the way for even greater new marketing tools, including convenient location-based services (LBS) through mobile apps.

Two prominent examples of such services are Foursquare and Scvngr. Foursquare’s mobile-based social network takes a game-like approach to LBS. Users check-in at various destinations and attractions, and can earn badges for frequency, time of check-in and other patterns. Scvngr is a social LBS gaming platform for mobile phones, similar to Foursquare, which presents challenges at specific destinations, and upon completion of those challenges, grants players points toward real-life rewards and discounts.

Hotels stand to capitalize immensely from these targeted location sites using a variety of strategies. One option is to promote your brand by seeding information (like Wynn Las Vegas) at various locations, and by engaging with LBS to reward customers for attaining specialized badges, and other accolade driven incentives. This positive reinforcement will not only keep customers coming back to your establishment, but also generate buzz for your company, as those that are rewarded will likely share the victory of their spoils through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and so forth. These LBS can definitely help you work towards building an extensive, loyal and active customer base.

A time will come when mobile technology will be essential to the success of your business. Why wait till it’s too late to incorporate mobile advancements into your marketing scheme? Hop on the wagon now while these developments can still give you a significant edge over the competition.

Interested in launching a mobile campaign for your hotel or destination?  TIG Global offers a full suite of interactive tools to get you started.  Click here to learn more, send us an email, or give us a call at 301-841-4700.

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