Now more than ever, travelers prefer to book on mobile. While bookings overall plummeted with the arrival of COVID-19, Triptease research shows a proportionate increase in mobile bookings (compared to desktop) as travel slowly recovers. Going forward, accommodation providers should provide travelers with a mobile-friendly direct online booking option to maximize conversions.
The pandemic is responsible for historically low occupancy and demand for hoteliers, along with significant financial losses to many businesses, both within and outside of the hospitality/travel industry. During the recovery, mobile-friendly online booking engines (OBEs) are crucial for promoting direct bookings, allowing hotels to recover faster by reducing OTA commissions and directly increasing their bottom lines. Furthermore, being savvy to modern travelers’ preferences, such as offering a mobile-friendly booking engine, will ensure that customers book directly with you and not your competitors.
Mobile Travel Trends
According to Travelport Digital, 62% of millennials want more visual search technology, such as Instagram, when booking travel. Further data shows that OTAs that prioritized their mobile booking experiences generated most of their bookings on mobile, with Booking.com stating that 80% of travelers used a mobile app while searching for a trip and 50% of accommodation searches and bookings were made on mobile. These mobile travel trends emphasize that it is important for hoteliers to prioritize mobile-friendly websites and online booking engines, not only to accommodate modern travelers’ preferences, but to more quickly recover from the effects of the pandemic by slashing OTA commission costs and increasing profit.
Also, Booking.com finds that approximately two thirds of mobile bookings are made by millennial travelers, who tend to write more online reviews than any other traveler demographic. By adapting to current travel trends and making your online booking engine mobile friendly, you drive more millennial business directly to your property and subsequently, positively impact your online presence and reviews.
Features and Benefits of a Mobile-Friendly Online Booking Engine
A mobile-friendly OBE should provide customers with a simple, convenient, and intuitive platform for booking their next trip. The user experience should include clear, compelling guestroom photos as well as detailed room and rate information, while maintaining a quick and easy booking process, complete with auto-generated booking confirmations. A mobile-friendly OBE will feature a responsive design that automatically adjusts to the user’s screen, making it easy to use and to experience your property’s brand.
WebRezPro’s mobile-optimized online booking engine provides a streamlined user experience from availability search to booking confirmation. With a simple, customizable search experience where guests can filter by features and amenities, and a frictionless booking experience, properties can offer guests ways to personalize their stay further by selecting add-ons (e.g., wine and chocolates, spa treatments, etc.) at the time of booking. Such booking options can be used to gather important data from your guests and ensure their repeated future trips to your property with personable, next-level service.
Travel bookers aren’t the only ones who benefit from a mobile-friendly OBE. Accommodation providers enjoy many advantages offering a streamlined user experience to their guests. Hoteliers will never miss out on bookings placed anytime, from anywhere, since they aren’t tied down to a physical front desk with limited hours to accept bookings. And, with PMS integration, live rates and availability are always displayed, meaning all these new, incoming reservations cannot be double booked. A flexible mobile-friendly online booking engine will accommodate all types of rates, including packages, password-protected rates and promo codes, supporting even the most unique revenue strategies.
WebRezPro’s innovative features for today’s travel bookers help accommodation providers stay ahead of current travel trends. By providing a mobile-friendly direct booking experience, hoteliers not only benefit their customers, but also their property’s conversion rates and bottom line.