Mobile Marketing Best Practices – HSMAI Resort Special Interest Group

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has an active Resort Best Practices Initiative that facilitates research and discussion sponsored by a forward looking group of leading resort marketing and management executives. Preceding HSMAI’s 2011 Digital Marketing Strategy Conference at the New York Marriott Marquis, I was invited to present the topic of Mobile Marketing for Resorts – Today and Tomorrow.

Retro Future Phone

Predict the future of mobile technology? Well, if you like post-apocalyptic Mad Max style, this might just be the one for you. The cable provides a long awaited universal mobile analytics feed
Photo Credit: urban don | Flickr

Building on last year’s mobile presentation for The 2010 Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals HITEC Conference, Mobile Distribution – No, It’s Not Billboards and Neon Vacancy Signs, this session capitalized on three fundamental areas with a higher level and more future oriented focus.

Current Landscape

  • Why Mobile Changes Everything
  • Beware of the Splinternet

This segment focused on the latest explosive growth stats, as well as the complexities involved with providing a consistent brand experience across various mobile platforms. The burning question from resort executives was “Should we build a mobile app, or develop a mobile web site?”

Responding “What mobile platforms are your customers using, what guest interactions require process improvements and how would you plan to measure your success?” is a sure-fire way to put a damper on that conversation.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mobile, one size definitely does not fit all.

Traveler Engagement

  • Guests are More Important than Technology
  • Technology Enables Relevant Interaction

A big risk is marketing executives are feeling pressured to leap into technological platforms and processes without having a solid marketing strategy as a foundation. Instead, an understanding of guest needs, contact points and traveler personas must dictate priorities that can then be translated into marketing product planning initiatives.

Future Implications

  • From Anytime/Anywhere to Everytime/Everywhere

The future portion of the presentation includes an aggregation of all the Apple iTravel patent filings, including the associated iWallet (now Transaction) works. The patents also cover related airline, hotel, cruise, conference, concert, sporting event, wedding and innovative location-based Apps.

HSMAI Resort Marketing Best Practices – Mobile

View more Slideshare presentations from Robert Cole.

There are four videos embedded in the presentation. As they are not available through the slideshare

  1. Google Goggles Experiment Video
  2. Introducing Voice Actions for Android
  3. Introducing Word Lens
  4. OpenWays iphone apps for guests

With everything in the mobile space advancing so quickly, it will be interesting to see what iTravel applications will eventually see the light of day.

However, that won’t be nearly as fascinating as the reaction from hotels and airlines that have traditionally complained that the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) represent too great a burden in terms of distribution costs.

With Apple currently taking 30% of the revenue share from developers as the toll for distribution through the App Store, it will be interesting to see what the admission price will be for a highly integrated, mobile, end-to-end travel experience.

As there is no reason to believe that Apple would drop the ball when creating a quality user experience, or relent on its oversight of apps operating in its environment, current GDS and OTA fee levels could conceptually start looking like a bargain.

About Robert Cole

Robert Cole is the founder of RockCheetah, a hotel marketing strategy and travel technology consulting practice. He also authors the Views from a Corner Suite Blog and publishes the Travel Quote of the Day. Robert speaks regularly at major travel industry conferences, authors articles for leading travel industry publications, advises travel-related startups and the equity investment community. He is an evangelist for the global travel industry.

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