Smartphones continue to deliver amazing experiences. All industries are being transformed. Today, I can order a taxi, grocery, coffee etc. with a couple of taps. I don’t have to speak to anyone and it magically just happens.
Hotel Tonight started out with same day bookings. They deliver an excellent experience. Within a few taps I could have a hotel room. No need to book in advance.
Hotel booking windows are typically within 14 days. It is when we see very high booking activity. Progressively this is shrinking and coming closer to the arrival date.
What is Instant Gratification?
Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Basically, it’s when you want it; and you want it now.- Neil Patel
In the US 21% of the rooms are booked online on the same day.
This trend will continue to grow.
Right now last minute bookings are driven by discounts but it will continue to become the norm where that is not the case. Some travellers may have anxiety when not making a booking in advance. Hotel Tonight addresses this by telling travellers what the price may be 7 days out.
A few months ago Booking.com released an App called Booking Now. Again, addressing the same space of last minute booking.They open the inventory to book within two days.
This trend towards instant booking ability will continue to grow. People will increasingly continue to use apps like these because it is easy, with enough inventory and they can do it on the go.
Oh, once the room is booked getting checked-in and open the room door through the smartphone will all become common place. Right now we are delighted when we experience this but in a few years, as the adoption grows, it will be expected.
Companies like Checkmate & GuestDriven are already working hard to make this happen.
The Smartphone is the “First Screen”. In a lot of cases this is where shopping starts.
Last minute booking activity as researched by Phocuswright.
As a hotel you have to be prepared for this eventuality. Not every hotel will need an app but if it is a mobile website make sure it is delivering the right pieces of information when it comes and built to add value and convert the transaction.
All interactions when reduced to its simplest and most effective form will create the desired outcomes for the business and the customer.
People don’t like to fill out forms. They don’t want to enter the credit card details to transact with you. They want to have all of that already there and just want to book.
When you open up the Hotel Tonight app it already shows you the location you are in with curated choices. Once you pick the hotel you want to stay at and if your credit card info is already saved into the app you can just trace the logo and your room is booked.
If we look into the future it is very easy for them to learn the stay pattern of the consumer, types of hotel she/he likes, the budget, location and much more. It can then even further limit the number of choices presented or even present just one recommend choice.
Wyndham hotels launched campaigns specifically catered to instant access and redemption. This gave them the opportunity to not only cater to loyal and frequent travellers and also cater to impulse buyers.
Here are three applications of Instant Gratification apart from reservations made via Apps:
- SMS Messaging: As Smartphones are carried by most guests on them all the time SMS is now used for quick messaging in between guests and hotel staff. This enhances customer service and it gives the guest instant notification that their request is being taken care of.
- Transactional Email: These emails are triggered or sent when an action is taken by a person. You are familiar with confirmation emails. It confirms the transaction has been made and the room is now booked. Email confirmation sent to someone when they sign up to your newsletter is also another example of it. It builds confidence in the person interacting with your systems.
- Instant Information: When a person is looking to make a reservation for a hotel. They want to make sure they are booking the best price. Tools like Bookingdirection or Trip Tease allow for instant best price confirmation on the hotel website.
As you are designing your experiences for guests consider how they are accessing the information. Today people don’t like to wait for information. They want instant confirmation of their request being received and actioned.
It is primarily driven by Smartphones as it is the most personal device a person has. They can access almost anything via it. Due to improving internet access all around the world this expectation will not be localized. It is an expectation everywhere.
How are you building your hotel experiences considering these new realities?