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Screens, Travelers, and Hotel Marketing in 2014


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Since tablets came on the scene, we've talked about them as though they are smartphones, using the category of "mobile marketing" to address our strategies for non-PC devices. But it's not enough to talk about mobile vs. desktop anymore; in fact, "three screens" is already becoming a common phrase. Desktop/laptop, tablets, and web-enabled mobile phones are each their own category of device and are used for overlapping purposes but in different ways.

Hoteliers must tailor strategies to meet travelers where ever they are in the planning and booking process and on whatever device they are using at any given time. App or mobile site? Standing in line at lunch or sitting on the couch at night? Planning or booking? These are all questions that must be asked in order to divine which piece of technology your guests may be using and how to deliver information to each of them.

I offer this personal example, which seems to reflect the average leisure traveler planning process these days. We currently have two laptops, one Android tablet, and two iPhones, and here's how our last vacation shaped up across screens:

  • recommendation from friend > no screen
  • website research of hotels > morning > laptop
  • date change, check availability > mid-day waiting in line for lunch > iPhone
  • read a few reviews to be safe > evening > laptop
  • final suggestion to my spouse to take a look > evening > tablet
  • oops, room not available; review other room types > afternoon > iPhone
  • final booking > evening > laptop (note: if I were booking on a tablet or phone, I'd be most comfortable doing it through an app. I don't have any explanation for this but research supports that I'm not alone.)
  • post photos from hotel > iPhone x2 for each of us
  • research attractions during travel > tablet in room and iPhone in car

Hotel marketing across screens is complicated. You, as a hotelier, must understand your traveler and how they're using screens in order to get the right information to them in the right format at the right time.

More information at http://www.hospitalitynet.org/column/global/154000392/4062450.html