Make room for mobile-friendly hotel review platforms
The November 2014 World Travel Market Global Trends report projects that mobile bookings will account for 35% of online bookings by 2018, and this doesn’t include the travelers who are driven to call by mobile search.
A Google study found that 58% of respondents would be extremely/very likely to call a hotel if the capability were available on a mobile search.
Clearly, the revenue potential for bookings from mobile devices is extraordinary.
However, the industry is struggling to keep up with the demand. According to TripAdvisor, only 45% of global hotels currently accept mobile bookings (TripBarometer, Apr 2014).
In the meantime, travelers are increasingly using mobile devices to do their travel planning research, and Expedia is reportedly developing a way for travelers to begin a booking on a mobile device but transfer it to a PC.
Ultimately, a solid, seamless mobile research experience will drive hotel bookings on mobile.
According to a ComScore report, “exclusive mobile visitors add an incremental 48% over desktop” in unique monthly visitors, which means that “hotel sites need to ensure that their web sites are finely tuned to the unique needs of mobile visitors or else risk losing ground to more mobile-friendly rivals.”
Statistic after statistic supports web responsive design that will maintain a site’s integrity on any device. A key piece of this web responsive development for hotels to consider is the presentation of travel reviews.
Some 93% of travelers use reviews to make travel decisions, yet reading the average review on a mobile devicomscorece is a clunky, time-consuming endeavor.
So just as travel websites in their entirety must evolve to meet the mobile space, so must travel reviews.
A 2015 travel study conducted by TrustYou, in conjunction with Donna Quadri-Felitti, PhD at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, found that while travelers prefer a combination of full text reviews with summarized reviews in their decision-making process, 61% of respondents preferred to read only summarized reviews on mobile devices.
Summarized review content, such as TrustYou’s Meta-Reviews, distills reviews from across all travel review sites to offer a visual representation of overall traveler sentiment about a hotel.
Rather than reading full-text reviews, which average anywhere from 150-250 words or more, review summaries give a property an overall rating and may be customized to offer percentage scores for different aspects of the stay, such as location, ambiance, rooms, food, and service.
This year, it’s projected that online reputation management will account for more spend by hoteliers than ever before; it has become a key expenditure
Perhaps this is because travelers are almost four times more likely to choose a hotel with a higher review score when the prices are the same.
Staying competitive will increasingly include giving travelers the most visually appealing and user-friendly mobile experience, including travel reviews.
NB: This is an analysis by Margaret Ady, vice president of marketing at TrustYou.
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