Hospitality brands missing chance to market to mobile-addicted Kiwis

Kiwis are can’t switch off when they’re away getting R&R, with a TripAdvisor survey showing we use our mobiles to shamelessly brag about our holidays on social media, look for places to stay and things to do.

But a significant number of our hospitality companies aren’t meeting traveller demand, with just over half having a mobile-friendly site, 61 percent offering the ability to book via mobile devices, seven percent providing special offers to mobile users and just two percent giving location-specific deals.

Only four percent of New Zealand hotels had a branded smartphone app and the same percentage had a branded tablet app. The survey showed Kiwi travellers relied heavily on their mobiles to make recommendations (68 percent), get inspiration about what to see and do (60 percent) to see pictures and videos of the places they were visiting (59 percent), and 40 percent used them to look for deals.

Three out of five New Zealanders then used social media while they were on the road. It seems about one in 10 of us loves to brag about our holidays experiences: 25 percent of those surveyed updated social networks daily while on holiday.

Hoteliers’ use our social media was more encouraging, with seven out of 10 using the networks to engage with current and potential guests. However, this was lower than the global TripAdvisor average of 82 percent.

The platforms most used by New Zealand providers were Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus.

“TripAdvisor has 79 million average monthly mobile unique visitors and over 50 million people have installed our various apps, and we see that travellers are using them not only for planning but during their trips,” says Marc Charron, president of TripAdvisor for Business.

“Additionally, one in three TripAdvisor reviews are submitted by Facebook connected users, demonstrating that travellers are still keen to share their experiences via social media platforms after their trips.” Julio Bruno, the TripAdvisor for Business’ global vice president of sales, said the survey showed there were opportunities to connect with travellers at various points throughout their journey.

“Businesses should engage with potential and current guests on mobile and social media to interact with them in real time through special offers and apps that are popular with travellers,” he said.

One brand getting it right is Accor Hotels, according to the latest data from Experian Hitwise. The numbers show Accorhotels.com and its brand sites attract 40 of all hotel website visits across the country, a big lead over rivals Heritage, Millenium Hotels, Rydges, Hilton and Intercontinental.

“A significant local investment in digital marketing, in particular in search and display advertising, as well as television and outdoor advertising has seen Accor record 30 percent year on year growth in website visitation in New Zealand,” Experian Hitwise says.

“Online bookings are booming and we have experienced month on month revenue growth from mobile bookings which are up 200 percent [for the]year to date and we foresee this trend to continue,” says Accor New Zealand and Fiji vice president Garth Simmons.

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