Published on : Friday, August 22, 2014
As the use of mobile devices continues to grow, so do the opportunities for hoteliers to capture additional bookings. By 2015, mobile is expected to generate an average of 22% of online bookings, up from 11% in 2013 (see Figure 1). As this growing trend continues, it is impossible for hoteliers to doubt the importance of a strong mobile strategy.
What is important to note is that while these new bookings are increasing, they illustrate unique characteristics and behaviors which differ from traditional web bookings. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, it may be time for many to adapt their existing e-commerce strategy to appropriately respond to the different and ever-changing mobile behaviors.
Firstly, same day reservations are growing from 9% to 23% as users are becoming more comfortable with their mobile devices and are leveraging them to book more frequently than with their desktops*. They are waiting until the last minute to book and often times are already at their destination before they even have their accommodations booked.
Last minute bookers may be incentivized by mobile deals or last minute offers that are available on mobile only. Without the ability to create last minute deals such as mobile specific rate plans or discounts, it is difficult for hoteliers to directly target these last minute shoppers and these potential guests will go elsewhere or find alternative accommodations.
Secondly, users continue to utilize an ever-growing and changing variety of mobile devices. Tablets account for approximately 20% of all booking engine visits and among the top 10 most popular devices globally, screen resolutions vary by over 300%*. This demonstrates that hoteliers need flexible mobile solutions to account for the diversity so they can provide both a competitive and robust mobile booking experience.
Furthermore, the mix of devices is continuously changing and thus solutions need to be scalable and compatible across platforms to ensure hoteliers are prepared for growth. Figure 2 below illustrates how the global mobile landscape is subject to substantial shifts over a short timeframe.
Lastly, picturesque, adaptive designs across mobile platforms are not sufficient enough to guarantee the conversion of mobile users. Their needs, wants and expectations vary widely across hotel segments. For this reason, every hotelier needs to create true value for mobile users in their own unique way.
For example, TravelClick data suggests that resorts and water parks can easily capture incremental revenue on mobile by providing add-ons such as tickets to mobile users, while casinos and upscale resorts can deliver value through enhancements and mobile specific rate plans. These are just some examples of ways hoteliers can generate additional value, beyond just capturing last minute bookings with their mobile platform.
In conclusion, the mobile space is not only rapidly growing, but it is markedly different and requires the full attention of hoteliers in all regions and segments. Mobile users engage in very different behaviors, have different expectations, and ultimately desire a dedicated and catered offering to their personal choice of mobile device. With the blurring lines between desktops, tablets, smartphones, and other emerging devices; diversity, agility and capability are crucial when hoteliers are planning and delivering their best mobile experience to users around the globe.
– Alaric Eby, Product Development Manager, Reservations Solutions, TravelClick
Hotel Industry Outlook Snapshot
The hotel industry outlook for the top 25 North American Markets is showing an increase of 3.7% in committed occupancy for August 2014 – July 2015. This is based on group commitments and individual reservations on the books as of July 27, 2014, compared to the same time last year.
- The group segment is up 3.2% in room nights committed (contracted).
- New group business added over the last month (pace) is up 22.5% over the comparable period last year.
- Transient room nights booked are up 4.3% compared to the same time last year.
- Average daily rate (ADR) is growing slightly above occupancy, up 4.6%, based on reservations currently on the books.
For the third quarter of 2014, overall committed occupancy is up 4.2% in the top 25 markets.
- Committed occupancy for the group segments is up 5.0% and the transient segment is up 3.8%, compared to a year ago.
- Average daily rate for the third quarter is up 4.7% over the same time last year.
- Business segment ADR, which includes weekday transient negotiated and retail segments, is up 4.9%.
- Leisure segment ADR, which includes transient discount, qualified and wholesale segments, is up 5.7%.
The chart below shows the year-over-year position by market of committed occupancy, reserved occupancy, ADR, and revenue per available room (RevPAR), based on business on the books for the future 12 months. Committed occupancy is group blocks plus transient reservations. Reserved occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR are based only on reservations (group pickup and transient reservations). Shades of green indicate highest performance of the markets, while shades of orange indicate average performance, and shades of red indicate lowest performance.