Mobile technology a top priority for hoteliers, survey finds

UNITED STATES The vast majority of U.S. hotel owners say that it is important to enable booking via mobile devices.

Mobile has emerged as a major focus for hoteliers, with 84% of respondents to a new TripAdvisor survey saying it is important to offer mobile booking capability.

Owners cite online advertising as the top area in which they would prefer to increase spending, with 63% naming that budget item. Other areas where hoteliers would like to spend more include social media (39%), mobile (27%), email marketing (22%) and paid listings on user-generated review sites (17%).

Of the survey respondents with a marketing budget, 34% say their overall marketing budgets have increased this year, while 49% say budgets have stayed the same and 17% say budgets have decreased. Hotel owners’ greatest marketing expenses include online marketing (31%), dues and subscriptions (16%) and online travel agency commissions (12%), according to the survey.

Of the survey respondents with a social media program, 60% say that TripAdvisor is the most effective social media site for marketing their properties, according to the survey conducted by TripAdvisor. Facebook (22%) and Twitter (16%) are the next most effective sites for marketing their properties, according to the survey.

The top reasons owners cited for using social media are posting special offers (54%), answering customer care questions (48%), promoting events (40%), sharing general industry news (26%) and promoting contests (18%). Survey respondents cite industry research and reports (46%) as the top factor in their decision to use social media as a marketing tool, followed by competition (30%) and marketing from social media sites (24%).

Most owners (76%) use their property websites to market deals to potential guests. Email (52%) and social media (44%) are the next most commonly used methods for marketing deals, followed by user-generated review sites (25%) and OTAs (21%).

During this summer travel season, the top five deals owners are planning to offer travelers are: discounts on rooms (56%), special amenities (43%), free parking (33%), rewards points (26%) and deals on nearby attractions (23%).

The TripAdvisor Accommodation Owners Survey was sent by email to a random sample of accommodation businesses. The survey was conducted from May 18 to June 3 and generated 770 completed responses. Several questions were offered in a “select all that apply” format, and therefore result in responses that yield percentages totaling a number greater than 100%.