With over 2 million mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) sold in the last year in Romania, we are past the stage of asking ourselves if mobile marketing matters – we know it does! The critical stage was reached in 2014 when mobile users outnumbered desktop users. For tourism and hospitality products, mobile marketing is an extremely important element, since this industry works with a mobile and dynamic audience that puts an emphasis on rapidity.
Nowadays travellers use multiple devices to plan their trips, to look for new destination, to purchase holiday packages, as well as to stay connected to their favourite brands. Many of them use a mobile device to look for preliminary information regarding a trip – according to eMarketer, this amounts to approximately 54,6% of all searches related to travelling. Although most bookings are still made on desktop, an array of other devices take part in the process. In order to provide a consistent experience, marketers should connect with the clients all along the process, regardless of the device used.
Depending on the objective of the campaign, there are different mobile marketing channels that can be used in tourism and hospitality.
Mobile apps: they are a very good way to stay connected to travellers since they can offer better accessibility than mobile websites (figure 2 – Nielsen Reports).
Bluetooth Marketing: marketing through Bluetooth consists of installing Bluetooth devices in key locations for the client and thus creating a network through which information can be sent in real time. The marketing through Bluetooth system makes communication and advertising in different formats possible: text, image, animation, video.
Location-Based Marketing: this type of marketing delivers multimedia messages directly to a mobile device through GPS technology. It is a direct marketing strategy that uses the location of the mobile device to alert the user about proximity offers. The opt-in is usually obtained when the user downloads an app and answers “OK” at its request to provide the current location. LBM marketing delivers the means to bring together the online and offline experience, at the same time promoting impulse purchases.
QR Codes: they allow swift access to information by scanning a bar code and visiting the mobile version of the website.
Pay Per Call Mobile Marketing: this marketing channel implies advertising that requires an action on the part of the user (for example, calling a telephone number provided by the ad).
Google Mobile Ads: mobile ad formats work the same way desktop ads do and they appear in search results, on content websites and in apps. Hotels can use them to promote their offer to a mobile audience (smartphone and tablet)
SMS (Short Message Service): advertisers can send relevant marketing messages in text format.
MMS (Multimedia Message Service): messages can take multiple formats, rich media elements – images, video, audio.
Google mobile ads can be successfully used in order to attract new customers, while SMS and MMS marketing are better suited in the interaction with the existing client base, directing them either to the mobile website or to the app.