IHG, WorldMate and Hotwire bag top honours

InterContinental Hotel Group, WorldMate and Hotwire were adjudged winners at the EyeforTravel’s inaugural Mobile Innovation In Travel Awards ceremony, which was held on the first day of the Social Media and Mobile Strategies for Travel 2012 conference in San Francisco on Monday.

By EyeforTravel Correspondent, San Francisco


The winners and their category:

- Best Mobile Travel App - WorldMate

- Best Mobile Website – Hotwire

- Best Mobile Strategy - InterContinental Hotel Group

“It was fantastic to see such well thought out mobile innovations with practical application for the consumer.  A key learning point that stands out in my mind is to not be afraid to start small in mobile and stay focussed on what’s working,” Gina Baillie, GM, EyeforTravel Ltd.


The winners spoke to EyeforTravel’s Ritesh Gupta:


Winner of The Best Mobile Website category: Hotwire (Melissa Matross, Head of Mobile & Media, Hotwire)


What do you think stood out as far as your offering is concerned?

There are three main things:

1.     Our prices: We offer low prices pertaining to last minute travel and our inventory aligns appropriately with this channel.

2.     Easy-to-use site

3.     Speed


What do you recommend to make the most of such initiative?

Talk to your customers and understand what they seek. Understand what features work. Make sure you don’t end up producing a desktop version while working on your mobile website.


Winner of The Best Mobile Strategy category: InterContinental Hotel Group (Bill Keen, Director, Mobile Solutions and Emerging Products, Web and Interactive Marketing, IHG)


What do you think stood out as far as your offering is concerned?

As a hotel supplier, we believe our strategic difference has been our focus on the whole customer journey – right from the search phase to shopping to booking to staying.


What do you recommend to make the most of such initiative?

Start small and show results. It’s better than figuring out what all can be done. Pick out one area you would like to focus on. It could be a mobile campaign, app development etc. but ensure that you show results and then take it from there.


Winner of The Best Mobile App category: WorldMate (Ian Berman, VP, Business Development, WorldMate)


What do you think stood out as far as your offering is concerned?

Our offering is unique. Through our app, the entire travel plan is automatically synchronised with your mobile device. We focus on contextual profiling of our users. We deliver itineraries and over a period of time (after delivering itineraries) through our data mining, we pro-actively recommend options for booking (such as hotel, car rental etc.) that suit them the best. It is like having your own personal travel expert and in case of hotels, users get the hotel they want at a price they like.


What do you recommend to make the most of such initiative?

One should stay focused. Only deliver services that matter. Deliver those services exceptionally well and iterate.


The awards categories and finalists were as follows -


Best Mobile Travel App

·          Best Western 2 Go

·          TripAdvisor

·          Orbitz Worldwide

·          WorldMate


Best Mobile Website

·          Best Western 2 Go

·          Marina Bay Sands

·          Hotwire


Best Mobile Strategy

·          CarTrawler

·          InterContinental Hotel Group

·          TripAdvisor


The final pitches were judged by: Michael Becker, North America, Managing Director, Mobile Marketing Association, Tim Gunstone, MD, EyeforTravel Ltd, Ricky Heath,Travel & Transportation, AT&T and Glenn Gruber, AVP, Market Development, Travel Technologies, Ness Technologies. The session was moderated by John T. Peters, VP/GM Digital Strategy, Rand McNally.


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