It’s not enough to just say anymore that your hotel needs to keep up on the latest technology to compete. Things have moved beyond that. We live in a post-PC world and those who don’t realize this will be behind the eight-ball when it comes to providing the best guest experience. Boston East India Hotels has made this an absolute priority at our hotels: The Daniel and The Stonehedge Inn & Spa.
First, it is important to understand just what it means to live in a post-PC world. Basically, we are talking about the decline in personal computers in favor of the growing variety of devices out there that can handle similar tasks — smartphones and tablet computers in particular. This has led to a massive focus on mobility and connectivity and increased the importance of cloud-based services and consumerization of the user experience.
The hotel industry is not alone in feeling the change. Almost every industry is going through a re-invention of how enterprise technology is used, how business processes are deployed and how customers are engaged.
Restaurants have been re-seasoned by tablet point-of-sale systems and OpenTable. The transportation industry has been rerouted by train apps and the success of Uber. The retail sector has been restocked by game-changers such as iBeacon. The list goes on.
At Boston East India Hotels, we recognize the importance of social media and understand the need to make sure that the requisite attention is paid to this realm in our hotel marketing strategy, but we also know that the evolution of technology-on-the-go calls for innovative thinking.
As such, let’s take a look at a few important mobile trends for the 2015.
First, hotels cannot afford to be slow to react to website design and content in regards to how it shifts to fit mobile devices of all makes and models.
Second, as mobile sites grow to handle better images and video, improving the user experience, hotels must keep up with the content that fits guests’ needs and online behavior.
Third, if third-party booking engines hope to continue to have a role in the hotel sector they must improve the unsatisfactory transition from mobile site content to booking.
Fourth, customer relationship management systems need to be tied in with mobile device activity for a more accurate guest profile.
Lastly, better analytics are needed to track mobile sessions from individuals across desktop, mobile and offline access points.
Hotel companies that struggle to adapt to growing mobile technology demands either suffer from some sort of denial of its importance altogether or overlook the importance of the last critical mobile trend listed in particular. Namely, that a mobile strategy without analytics to capture and reveal patterns does not allow hoteliers to understand what their guests want ahead of time.
Today, 90 percent of travel bookings are done online — this is up from 58 percent just four years ago! In addition, other studies have shown that travelers complete about 45 percent of their searches for hotels on mobile devices. And critically, studies have also shown that 75 percent of leisure travelers and 87 percent of business travelers switch between devices during the planning and booking process.
If you are in the hotel business these numbers had better not be a surprise to you. And if they are — check your pulse because you might already be dead.