Travelers have always wanted deals. But how they get deals is an always-shifting landscape.
SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile), location-based services, has forever altered the way travelers’ book hotel rooms.
In the United States, the penetration of cell phones is nearing 100 percent and smart phone penetration is approaching 50 percent. And in the five-year period of 2010 – 2015, mobile commerce revenues compound growth rate will be over 58 percent.
With numbers like that mobile apps are reaching near ubiquity. Apigee recently released the results of its 2013 Mobile App Behavior survey of smartphone owners, which found that the majority (85%) of people they interviewed would rather go without water than their mobile apps.
Hospitality companies are taking note. In fact, some mobile apps allow travelers to save even more than when booking through traditional web sites.
For example, by using Priceline’s apps, users have access to their “Tonight-Only Deals,” which covers about 150 U.S. cities and towns. It offers three- and four-star hotels which start to post at 11 a.m and rooms can be booked up until 11 p.m. local time, or until they sell out. And unlike Priceline’s traditional service where travelers bid on unknown hotels, here the hotel names are displayed along with descriptions, maps, photos and customer satisfaction scores.
The best part though is that the deals through the “Tonight Only” specials of Priceline’s mobile app are even better than Priceline’s own website.
In the past, hotels have been slow to implement SoLoMo services, but with the use of mobile users rapidly increasing, hoteliers shouldn’t wait much longer to implement a strategy. Travelers are looking for deals, and not on their laptops.