As with all parts of commerce, hotel booking has hit the internet hard. In today’s fast paced life, people want all information available at their figure tips, whether at home, at work, or on the move. Customers are no longer at the mercy of their local travel agent residing on the high street. They can research and book on-line, 24 hours a day. This has been the case for some time, so what’s the future for hotel booking?
The rapid adoption of “smart phones” means that customers have the internet in their pocket, wherever they go. Consequently, on-line agents have had to create mobile versions of their websites. These are far more lightweight, with fewer images and hyperlinks, reducing the loading time. This makes it far more suitable for a screen the size of your palm, without it being unwieldy. Welcome to the world of mobile hotel booking.
From a single device, customers can flick through last minute hotel deals with ease, search for room availability and prices, and pay for their booking either via mobile browser or via the telephone. Never has there been a requirement for online agents to remain current in their hotel offering and prices than now if they are to engage customers wishing to make a hotel booking on the go.
Anyone making a hotel booking from a mobile device should take the usual precautions just as they would when using a mobile device to transmit sensitive data such as personal details and credit card details.
If using wi-fi, customers should use a secure encrypted wireless connection. This prevents “snoopers” from intercepting data being sent back and for the between the mobile device when making a hotel booking. Using a network provided by a mobile operator remains more secure as you are interacting with their servers directly, so you should be safe to make a hotel booking.
Perhaps a more obvious threat would be to lose/have your mobile device stolen. Any booking would have some form of confirmation which any would-be thief would be able to see, but typically on-line agents would not display the entire credit/debit card number. Besides, in this scenario, there may be more to worry about than just your hotel booking.
Although the market remains relatively small, mobile hotel booking is growing. On-line agents are beginning to appreciate this as a new revenue stream.
As mobile technology improves (increased bandwidth, more efficient handsets, better network coverage), websites are becoming more feature rich with enhanced content, making the whole user experience better when making a hotel booking.
On-line agents that cannot invest in their mobile offering will be losing out to growing, better connected market. Agents have the opportunity to reach their target market(s) wherever they are; the customer does not have to be sat in front of a computer screen or TV to understand your offering. Advertising space is available on social networks and search engines, so it is visible wherever a mobile device can connect to the internet. This is the new world of mobile hotel booking.