Hotels Limiting Their Potential in Mobile Commerce

September 4, 2012

Mobile traffic accounted for only 2.94% of web traffic in 2010.  Today mobile traffic accounts for nearly 10% of web traffic according to Stat Counter. Not only does mobile traffic continue to rise year by year, so does mobile commerce.  38% of the 90 million smart phone owners have made retail purchases on their phone. These numbers are especially staggering considering that it has taken less than 5 years to get here. I was surprised to find that even though the majority of mobile purchases were, as I suspected, digital purchases (music, movies, tv, ebooks), there is already quite a bit of life in the mobile travel industry. ComScore reported that hotel stays accounted for 29% of all mobile purchases, and airplane tickets accounted for 24%.

If so many consumers are using their mobile devices to book their vacations and travel experiences, why are so many hotel booking engines so slow to adapt to the new mobile landscape? Why are the majority of booking vendors still providing such cumbersome mobile user experience, or worse, none at all? Unfortunately, the experts that have been hired to steer the hotel industry into better online booking strategies are coming up short. Far too many booking engines are underestimating the mobile world.

For hoteliers that are in a position to select a new vendor for online booking, there are a few technical concerns that you may want to consider. Selecting a vendor that has a mobile platform not only secures your potential in the mobile market, but it also serves as an indicator to how quickly your vendor will adapt to growing trends in the future.

Additionally, just because a vendor claims to have a mobile platform does not mean that they are doing it well. You don’t need to be an industry expert to evaluate how difficult it is to make a reservation online. Walk through the process on your own mobile device and consider whether the experience will actually help generate business and increase bookings.

Another way to measure up a potential vendor is to evaluate how much custom work they will do for you. Hotel booking vendors will always generate reports for you, but you may not be able to measure the success of your own ad campaigns if you cannot tell the sources from which your conversions were made. Is your booking vendor willing to embed custom tracking code from Google or Bing on their order confirmation page so that you can evaluate the success of your own online ad campaigns?

At the end of the day, there are many factors that go into selecting a booking engine.  Know your options, and choose a booking vendor who is always adapting to growing trends in technology and embracing the potential of mobile commerce in the travel industry.

About Tambourine:

Tambourine is an ROI-obsessed marketing agency driving demand, revenue and brand awareness for travel and leisure clients since 1986. The Company creates inspiring digital experiences and engaging campaigns that produce measurable results. Based in South Florida and New York City, Tambourine recently received Gold and Platinum Adrian and Magellan awards, the largest and most prestigious travel marketing competitions, representing this year’s top marketing campaigns from across the global hospitality industry.

We are the instrument many of the world’s most advanced marketers use to create a steady beat of traffic and revenue growth. We provide a 360º integrated marketing program that delivers predictable ROI and a sustainable sales and marketing rhythm for your brand.

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