The hospitality industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world reaching $550 Billion. It has been radically transformed and one of the major contributors to this transformation is Online Travel Agencies (OTA). OTAs have made it possible to boost revenue significantly through hotel booking mobile apps.
OTAs have major impacts on the industry as they build a strong reputation amongst travelers. Therefore, hoteliers depend on them to get access to a large customer base. Brands such as Expedia and Booking Holdings have almost stepped into the place of hotel brands. This alters distribution channels and drives value away from hoteliers.
Why should you get a hotel booking mobile app?
Online travel agencies have been able to garner more attention than hoteliers due to the hotel booking mobile app. Many hotels have introduced their own mobile apps to allow customers to make direct bookings. However, travelers find it more convenient to use online travel portals and mobile applications to make their bookings. Travelers have access to a large inventory of hotel rooms to choose from on an online travel portal. Additionally, they can also make other bookings such as flight bookings, tours and packages.
OTAs are like a one-stop solution for all the travel needs of travelers. Almost 80% of last minutes bookings are done using mobile apps. Evidently, hotels and online travel agencies can boost their revenue with hotel booking mobile apps. However, due to poor user experience on apps, many customers end up canceling their transactions resulting in hoteliers losing revenue.
How to boost your revenue through hotel booking mobile app?
According to stats 53% of customers abandon the booking process after seeing final prices at the end of the process. Many customers experience a price change when they are about to proceed with the payment. Price changes shake the confidence of the customers in the hotel booking mobile app. Therefore, to encourage them to complete their booking ensure the prices are transparent and inclusive of taxes and other add-ons. There’s a higher chance of customers completing their bookings with transparent prices thereby increasing the revenue for your online travel agency.
Smaller Reservation Forms
Long and complicated reservation forms annoy customers who want to make instant bookings. As a result, they switch to other travel portals to complete their bookings. Therefore, small and convenient reservation forms are apt for mobile apps. They save booking time for customers who might be in a hurry to make a hotel booking.
Deals & Offers
Travelers are always seeking the best deals and offers in the market to complete their booking. Offering attractive packages and deals is a great strategy to attract more customers and increase conversions. Your hotel booking mobile app can also provide discounts and credits from previous bookings to customers to reduce the hotel room rates.
Travelers appreciate value-added services with their bookings. They are sure to come back to your app for further bookings if you offer them additional services or offers. For example, you could offer the customers an extra meal with their hotel booking or an exclusive dine-in experience at the hotel.
Many customers also find it convenient when hotel booking mobile apps offer them an option to make the payment later at the hotel, or cancel their booking without any charges until a certain period of time. The flexibility provided by the apps to their customers create customer loyalty and in turn boost sales revenue.
The design of your hotel booking mobile app and website should be engaging and captivating to attract more customers. Additionally, the app should be user-friendly, responsive and easy to navigate. Customers who face difficulties in the navigation or find the design complex and difficult to understand don’t end up completing their bookings.
Therefore, appealing design with a simple booking process in your mobile app will generate higher revenues. Your app should also send important reminders and notifications about great deals and offers to attract more customers. You can also introduce pop-ups of deals and offers within the app. Booking.com uses hot deals, packages, and unique offers as a strategy to captivate customers and increase their revenue.
Reviews & Ratings
Request customers to leave reviews and ratings about their experience n different hotels and their experience. Travelers seek reviews and ratings of hotels before deciding to book the hotel for their stay. Moreover, good ratings and reviews for your mobile app will encourage potential customers to complete their booking and instill a sense of trust for your app.
Customer reviews also help you to understand their requirements and grievances and change your strategies accordingly to increase their satisfaction. Satisfied customers promote your brand through word-of-mouth thereby boosting revenue for your hotel booking mobile app.
Quick Customer Support
While on-the-go, a 24*7 customer support with instant responses can be a savior for travelers. Travelers trust hotel booking mobile apps more when they are constantly available for them to support them during any emergencies or issues. OTAs that provide 24*7 support to their customers through the app, generate more revenue. This is due to enhanced customer satisfaction and increased retention rates.
Social Media Engagement
Using social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, to engage your customers is an effective strategy to create brand visibility, attract more customers, and increase revenue. Most of the travelers make their travel plans and booking being influenced by the content they view on their social media accounts. This content may be images or videos posted by their friends or maybe advertisements by your OTA.
Photos & Videos
Professional photographs and videos on your mobile application not only enhance the aesthetic design of the app but also entice customers into making their bookings. Users should be able to upload videos of their trips for other travelers to view. According to Airbnb, mobile apps with professional photographs and videos for their listings receive 2-3 times more reservations as compared to average listings. Listings with attractive images and videos increase the reliability and credibility of your hotel booking mobile app.
An SSL certification boosts your credibility and protects your customers against cybercrime. About 26% of customers abandon bookings when asked for personal details. 21% of customers abandon reservations when asked for payment details. An SSL/TLS encrypted message at the time of payment assures customers that their information is protected and the payment details are safe.
How to boost revenue with conversion strategies by leading brands?
A successful hotel booking mobile app requires more than just providing value for a single vacation or trip to its customers. The travel apps have to always be one step ahead. They have to keep their conversion game strong through experiments, strategies, and analyzing the behavior of their customers. Leading travel mobile apps boost their revenue by providing a seamless booking process. Following are examples by top travel apps to boost revenue with hotel booking mobile app:
Headquartered in San Francisco, HotelTonight is a travel app that provides access to discounted hotel rooms in Australia, America, and Europe. The app provides great discounts on last-minute bookings for those who make spontaneous plans. The team at HotelTonight applied the strategy used by e-commerce sites that don’t make it compulsory for users to sign up and make purchases without an account.
The mobile design team took inspiration from the company’s ‘challenge conventions’ principle and moved the sign-up form at the end of the checkout, instead of placing it in the start. Reportedly, they experienced an increase in conversions by 15% and therefore an increase in revenue.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Airbnb gained instant fame and recognition for offering lodging, homestays and unique tourism experiences. Airbnb earns commissions on bookings of accommodations without owning any accommodation or real estate listings.
Airbnb revamped its mobile app by analyzing how customers search and book accommodation through their smartphones and redesigned it to make the mobile app the best way to book Airbnb. Analyzing what each step in the booking process would look like in the app, the team divided each step into an individual task with a dedicated screen so that the customers could proceed without any distractions.
Although that meant more clicks and screens during the checkout flow, it eased the process for users without overwhelming them with sign-up and payment forms. Therefore, if your hotel booking mobile app involves a long process, you can use a similar strategy to compartmentalize every step for better conversions and increased revenue.
Kayak is one of the leading metasearch engines owned by Booking Holdings and headquartered at Stamford, US. The company leverages its large customer base to optimize the mobile app and boost its revenue.
One of the experiments they performed was removing the SSL/TLS security message. The message assures customers that their information is encrypted and secured, during checkout. The reasoning for this test was that customers are reminded of risks when they read such messages. Therefore, they removed the message to track conversions.
Reportedly, they noticed that their customers made fewer bookings when there was no SSL/TLS encrypted payment message. Although many customers don’t understand the SSL/TLS encryption, however, they prefer the assurance that their information is safe.
Taking inspiration from leading online travel portals that never take success for granted, you too should test and optimize your hotel booking mobile app to boost your revenue. Moreover, integrating the aforementioned steps into your app to provide the best hotel booking experience to customers will ensure your customers return to your app in the future and also promote your app amongst their groups. It is essential for you to understand, analyze and track the booking behaviour of your customers to stay ahead of the curve.