Guest Opinion: Mobile marketing connects you to your guests, no matter where in the world they may be.
When you think about it, the hospitality industry and mobile marketing fit together like newlyweds and the honeymoon suite. Hospitality is, by definition, a way to receive and entertain guests with generosity and kindness, and if you're marketing your business correctly you'll be embodying many of those same qualities. Done right, mobile marketing is a customer-oriented way to promote your hotel, restaurant, café, cruise ship, tourism outfit or whatever industry-specific niche you may be in. Here's how:
Get Your Own Mobile App
Developing a proprietary mobile app for your hotel could potentially be a game changer. Nielsen research found that on average people spend about 30 hours per month playing, working, and researching using mobile apps. Not having your own app is like hand-delivering 30 hours of advertising to your competition, not to mention the bookings and other purchases you may lose out on in the process. Your mobile app acts like a portfolio, displaying your business and all it has to offer, but there are also numerous functionalities you can add:
- Research and make reservations
- Design a multi-tiered (and multi-provider, perhaps) itinerary
- Read blogs about the activity/area
- Check out amenities
- Plan a party/conference/other event
- Review a restaurant menu
- Learn about the chef/hotelier/restaurateur
- Look at pictures and/or videos of the property
- Use an interactive map to find the property and locate nearby attractions
Go to Video
Text-based blogs are still important but they're rapidly becoming commonplace, and every hotel worth its sheets' thread counts has a slideshow showcasing everything from the heated indoor pool to the rooftop terrace. To stand out, you need to go to video, and there are plenty of statistics to support the shift: blogs with embedded video attract three times the amount of inbound links that video-free blogs generate, and YouTube attracts 1 billion unique visitors every month who spend more than 4 billion hours viewing the site's content. Your audience is already clamoring for video content – all you have to do is give it to them and reach out to social media influencers in the hospitality to entice them to share it with their audience.
React in Real Time with SMS Marketing
Life moves pretty fast sometimes, and your clientele is likely caught up in that worldwide whirlwind. About 34 percent of travelers in the United States book last-minute trips less than three days before they're due to depart, and another 39 percent search only 4-7 days out. When you ask your SMS and app subscribers to opt in for text notifications, you can then cater to those in-the-moment consumers by sending them texts advertising one-day-only sales that help you fill empty rooms or dinner reservation slots while also helping to solve those consumers "where to go" and "what to do" dilemmas. Considering that 95 to 98 percent of texts are read within just 1 minute of being received, you know your campaign will have an immediacy and effectiveness that email or snail mail just won't.
Offer Mobile Coupons
Is happy hour looking bleak? Text a two-for-one deal on bar apps or house wine. Have a sightseeing tour that's only half filled? Partner with local hotels to blast their SMS lists with a hefty discount. There are literally thousands of ways to boost your business and bring in customers using mobile coupons, and they really do work: SMS coupons are redeemed at a rate 10 times higher than ordinary printed coupons, so consider complementing your check-in counter brochure display with a more digitally friendly alternative.
There is a lot of innovation happening in the hospitality industry, much of which is designed to help solve problems and offer a better, more streamlined experience for all involved. Mobile marketing does all of that and more by connecting you to your consumer, no matter where in the world they may be.
What do you think of what I've covered so far? Will you adopt mobile as your tool for marketing? I would love to read your comments below.