To some hoteliers the pace of technological change and its implications may seem bewildering. And they will not be alone. However, while most are not aficionados of tech and would rather be in bed than queuing round the block for the latest Apple iPhone at unsociable hours, those working in the travel sector really have no option but to embrace change. The alternative is to fall behind.
This was clear enough when the internet arrived, making online booking a possibility instead of ringing up. Of course, the latter remains an option and should do, not least because the ability to make voice calls has been more readily available than ever since mobile telephony came on the scene. Moreover, such calls enable people to ask supplementary questions, some of which they will want answering to their complete satisfaction before proceeding to make the booking. However, mobile has long since ceased to just be about calls and text and as it now incorporates the web and apps, the capacity for mobile users to carry out a range of actions using their small pocket devices has extended to mobile bookings. Naturally, this is an attractive feature for those who may not have time to sit down with a PC and book online that way. Indeed, mobile has become an increasingly prominent way of making purchases. For this reason, it is important for hotels to ensure their online booking systems are mobile-friendly. That means having text large enough to read, or a mini-site geared up for mobile users.
For those lacking the in-house resources to constantly keep up with the latest trends, help may be at hand through linking up with a mobile-enabled online booking system. There are several of these out there. Examples include Bookingbug, Freetobook and Xotels. These are sites that have either been set up to provide a conduit for mobile bookings, or are new developments from existing search engines that have been adapted to accommodate mobile tech. Either way, they offer a platform through which hotels can offer this new way of making bookings. Of course, while mobile may be a growing means of booking in 2015, it is possible something new will emerge in 2016 or 2017. Whether that will be a superfluous innovation that does not actually offer greater convenience for those making the bookings than the methods available now remains to be seen. However, it is important for hoteliers to stay aware of what is going on – and how they can best respond.