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Mobile, tablet, desktop: what strategy should your hotel have?



You’ve probably already heard of multi-screen, multi-device or other terms which have become quite common in the marketing world over the last few months. We’re going to try to explain how this concerns you as a hotelier and how this affects your marketing strategy.

Internet users have become multi-screen users. Using multiple devices be that desktop computers, tablets, smartphones or even TVs. These devices are constantly synchronized and connected to the internet, which has brought about new types of hotel search and booking habits. The official website is no longer the only element in an online marketing strategy, one must now adapt to these new screens. Per the Google Traveler 2012 study, users searching for travel are increasingly searching on smartphones and tablets (31% more smartphone searches in 2012 compared to 2011 and tablets have increased 17%), comparatively desktops have decreased by 94% over the same period.

Today we’re spending 4 hours and 30 minutes a day watching a screen, in our leisure time! We mainly consume digital information, per a Google study 90% of the time spent consuming information is done using a screen.

Adapting the tools to users, not the reverse

Each device is used in a specific context. A desktop is used at work, a smartphone when commuting or traveling, a laptop when travelling and a tablet on the couch at home…

Searching for information represents 65% of smartphone usage, 60% of a desktop and 4% of a tablet. When searching, users have several ways of using multi-screen environments:

- Either they will switch between devices and changing context each time (starting a search on a mobile and finishing it on a tablet). In fact internet searches is the most frequent activity when using devices in sequence.

- Or they will will use several screens/devices at the same time (for example watching TV and following a Facebook conversation/thread on a tablet).

During a multi screen / multi-device use the primary activity is multi-tasking. The most common combinations are TV + smartphone and TV + PC. When preparing a trip, the combination of TV + Tablet is the most common. Thus the importance of ensuring you have a site that’s made for mobile phones and tablets.

Smartphones are the most used devices on our daily interactions while TV is the most used device in relation to a secondary screen (77% of people watching TV are using a second screen simultaneously).

Search is majorly mobile, but mainly multi-screen

According to a study, 47% of travelers start a search with their smartphones, 45% continue that search on a desktop/laptop and 3% finish it on a tablet. But tablets are rapidly increasing their market share in travel, 15% of the searched start on a tablet while only 14% start on a PC/Laptop.

How to use a multi-screen system from a marketing stand-point:

On a multi-screen search, users will often do the same search on different devices (often using the same keywords). Thus it’s important that they find the same results on each device.

TV is becoming a more and more important factor in search. There’s a strong trend of searches happening on secondary devices, what one is seeing on TV. This has an impact on search as internet users can be influenced in their travel search by the programs they see on TV.

How to use a multi-screen system from a marketing stand-point:

1. Don’t think “online” or “offline”. Your marketing strategy needs to be thought as a 360 degree effort and must include all the usage of your clients. Each sales channel needs to be adapted and optimized for the different activities of your potential guests.

For example: having a mobile website that follows the style guide of your main website and making sure you have a mobile booking engine on the site so you don’t slow down the navigation of user.

2. Each channel (main website, mobile website, tablet and eventually TV) must be optimizedfor a coherent and uniform user experience.

For example: the content on a mobile website must be optimized (lighter) compared to the main website, the textes shorter and more practical, tablet websites can easily use larger photos to create an immersive experience.

3. Push cross-device experiences where users can follow their desktop searches on smartphone or tablet. Such as the “signed-in experience”.

For example: The Google ecosystem (Chrome and Google Now) proposes users to connect with their accounts and follow their search history on all they devices (PC, smartphone, tablet and maybe TV soon). With a simple system guests can continue their travel search even after having left their desktop.

Today smartphones have become the backbone of information search and daily media consumption. The majority of searches being on a smartphone. Mobile experience has become a key element in the marketing strategy. But note that 89% of travelers said they abandoned a booking on a mobile device because of bad mobile user experience (bad navigation, slow loading or unadapted websites).

In summary

It has become extremely important to first think of a complete strategy for all channels and then optimize each channel to deliver a coherent user experience at each level. Be that mobile, tablet, PC or even TV, your potential guest must easily recognize your hotel brand by having a complete marketing strategy and a coherent design no matter the marketing support.


  1. Wihp Team

    Tablets, Smartphones o PCs? Qué estrategia debe seguir el hotel? | Hoteliernews Argentina
    [...] para conocer un poco más acerca de cómo las nuevas tecnologías impactan en el negocio.Haga Click AQUI para acceder al artículo [...]

  2. Uncle Fishbits

    It’s hhotelconsult on my other account. I am curious how much of mobile is overstated as new revenue stream vs. displaced revenue from other channels. Also, what sort of guest is booking off a mobile phone, and what is that booking pace. I would LOVE to know the demographics of that guest, but one might assume it’s a biz traveler with last minute needs. I was real down on last minute bookers, but talking to some friends that travel it’s not as rare as i would like to think. I always thought it was just problem guests.

    But the tablet booking pace is more like a traditional laptop, and I love that… I hope most metrics start seperating out those stats from mobile. Thinking of who can afford tablets, and who usually uses them, and if those users are in control of discretionary / travel funds…. I think the tablet optimization needs are massively understated for our hotel industry, both IOS & Android.
    okay no more rambling post wine.

  3. Martin Soler

    You’re totally right and for a long time we noticed that mobile was having an effect on visits but hardly any on bookings. However when inserting a redesigned booking engine that’s mobile friendly (despite low expectations) we were surprised to notice that people actually book on mobiles and quite frequently. It’s nowhere near the desktop and other screens but there is a percentage of people booking on mobile.
    And if we’re in the game of increasing direct revenue then all channels must work, or hotel’s are likely to lose those bookings to the competition.

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Sébastien Félix

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