EyeforTravel Europe 2018

June 2018, London

How hotels are missing a mobile trick

EyeforTravel and SAP have conducted an industry wide survey to understand the effectiveness of mobile messaging services, with some surprising results

Hotel brands, it seems, are seeing lower satisfaction rates from their mobile efforts than other travel industry verticals. This is the finding of a new EyeforTravel and SAP report - Driving Intelligent, Interconnected Mobile Engagement Throughout the Travel Journey – which conducted an industry-wide survey to establish whether mobile messaging services were effective at driving customer satisfaction. While 72% of hospitality and accommodation brands said that their messaging services were effective, a more impressive 90% of respondents from other travel industry verticals reported success through messaging.

So, why is this? One possible explanation, says the report, is that hospitality brands are not using the most personalised and effective elements of messaging channels quite as well as other verticals. The result is that they are not getting maximum use of their messaging services, nor are they building as good relationships with customers as the other companies surveyed.

Hotels fall behind when it comes to more complex and data reliant messages

Although hotel brands succeed at pushing booking confirmations and welcome/check-in messages to travellers, the research finds that they fall behind when it comes to more complex and data-reliant messages. Hospitality brands are using push notifications at half the rate of the rest of the sample (35.3% versus 16.7%), despite the fact that 31% have an app. When it comes to upsell notifications, there is also a lag with just 32.3% of messaging-capable hospitality brands sending personalised messages versus 51.2% for the remaining respondents. Brands are therefore missing the opportunity to become useful to the consumer as a trusted source of local information.

Push notifications are seen as by far the most effective form of in-app advertising by 44% of respondents, followed by display banners (25%), videos (15%), native display (14%) and interstitial (3%). Without these capabilities, hotels cannot communicate with their guests.

Being present

What is clear is that hospitality and accommodation companies need to build up their technological capabilities in order to reach out to consumers wherever they are with relevant and targeted messages.

“Brands need to be present where the customer is present, rather than forcing people to pick the channels or means or tools that the brands want them to use,” says Rohit Tripathi, general manager and head of products, SAP Digital Interconnect. “Today, if your customer is residing in social channels such as Facebook Messenger or WeChat, then build bridges into these mediums.”

Brands need to be present where the customer is present, rather than forcing people to pick the channels or means or tools that the brands want them to use

Some hotels are grasping the opportunities. Amro Khoudeir, global director of digital & distribution, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, says they have deployed several tools to better cater to guests on mobile. He explains: “Before arrival we send our guests an invitation to check-in. The guest provides us with all their details and they get their barcode on the day of arrival, which they scan, receive a key and go straight to their room. Post-booking, there’s an opportunity to start identifying guests who come in to the hotel through geolocation or beacons. We do some geolocation marketing and social marketing and are expanding this to more hotels in 2018.”

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