Guests Are Happier With Mobile-Friendly Hotels
In an increasingly global society, UK hoteliers can’t afford to sit idly by when surveys of US hotels publish their results—especially when those big chains have started to make inroads into the UK. The most recent survey to sit up and take notice of is the J.D. Power and Associates’ North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.
The biggest takeaways from the survey are that guests are happier with mobile user friendly hotels, and hotel responsive web design has an increased effect on direct bookings. Optimizing for mobile has never been more urgent.
Rick Garlick, Global Travel and Hospitality Practice Lead at J.D. Power said “As mobile usage becomes increasingly ubiquitous for guests, the challenge for hotels becomes twofold: First, they must persuade guests to book directly with them, and second, they must encourage easy utilization of this technology. By forging direct relationships, hotels can become guardians of the guest experience, but at the centre of these relationships is an establishment’s mobile strategy.”
The survey also noted that guests who booked through a third-party app or experience were more likely to have a problem with their stay and be less satisfied overall. Despite this statistic, there’s been a 3% upswing in bookings through online travel agencies—meaning that hotels must try optimizing for mobile as soon as possible.
Mobile user friendly hotels will snare the largest portion of younger and business travellers if the trend is to continue—14% of online bookings were made on mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet in 2004, but now the percentage is 25% and rising rapidly, with those demographics navigating hotel responsive web design with ease.
You don’t have to immediately put out an app while you’re focusing on optimizing for mobile, though—38% of guests don’t even use hotel proprietary mobile apps during their stays, and only 1% use the apps to check out of their room. Making direct booking more mobile user friendly seems to be the order of the day.
However, if these statistics haven’t convinced you to focus on digital, the next one might. 86% of guests who happen to experience a problem during their stay are likely to post comments about it to social media, meaning that irregular problems can be over-reported and, without your managing of these online spaces, could potentially turn customers off from booking with you.
Because the survey is so far-reaching, it doesn’t attempt to directly compare hotel brands. Instead, the 1,000-point scale of guest satisfaction means that there are easy takeaways for brands both at home and abroad. Every hotel operates reservations, checking in and out, and hotel facilities, after all; things that are easy for guests to rank and say how much they value them.
It seems that the most valuable thing that a hotel can do now is to focus on their hotel responsive web design, as well as optimizing for mobile and making their site mobile user friendly. If trends are emerging in this year’s survey, they might dominate the survey in just another twelve months.