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The Guest Experience of Tomorrow: 3 Things Hotels Must Do Today with Data and Mobile

I recently had the privilege to speak at the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on the impacts data and mobile will have on the hotel industry. In this three-blog series, I'll share my perspective on critical ways hoteliers can use mobile and data to revolutionize their guests' experience.

Consumers today want a brand experience that is personal, relevant and accessible. They expect personalized service and offers. They want content that is fast, easy and contextual. They want access to everything, everywhere, from every device.

And these expectations are even higher for the millennial generation. With more than 80 million millenials in the US alone, this generation is rapidly becoming the major driver of consumer behavior and expectations. Millenials hold a deep understanding of technology and they expect companies to engage with them through technology.

The next generation of hospitality leaders will be defined by who wins this decade's race to deliver world-class, personalized guest experiences across devices and throughout the travel journey. The path forward may not always be clear but there is little doubt that data and mobile will lead the way.

To realize the value of data and mobile, hoteliers must address three critical areas in their technology solutions. Let's take a look at the first step every hotelier should take to create a new guest experience through data and mobile.

Step #1: Grow your direct distribution channel with a high-performing website and digital marketing plan that attracts consumers and converts lookers to bookers across every device. A mobile website is the price of entry to reach today's tech-savvy consumers and this will be even truer tomorrow. While some hoteliers have made progress, others lag behind.

Nearly all large brand hotels and large chains have invested in this area. They understand the importance of nurturing their direct distribution channel. Many have customized, fully responsive websites plus a sophisticated SEO and SEM strategy to help drive traffic to their websites.

Conversely, many smaller chains or independent hotels don't have a web presence today or have a substandard web presence. Worse, some have given up on mobile because they believe they can't afford to invest in a mobile site or a device responsive site.

Fortunately, advancements in technology mean every hotel can have a world class website – at an affordable price point – that is both compelling and high performing.

One solution for smaller or independent hotels is Sabre's SynXis InstaSite, a self-service web and mobile solution that includes a fully responsive, booking-enabled site at an appealing price. While there are other web development solutions, Sabre customers will have the advantage of launching their website within 3 business days. To learn more about the must-have features for any hotel website, check out this blog from our Digital Marketing experts.

However, reaching the revenue generating potential of a website requires a digital marketing plan that maximizes exposure in all distribution channels including search engines and metasearch sites. Digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is part science, part art, and keeping up with internet marketing trends can be a challenge for many hoteliers. Sabre's time tested methodology increases our customers' website in organic search engine results through the use of traditional SEO methods, new innovations, content expansion and distribution strategies.

In every industry, data analytics and mobile technologies are transforming the way companies engage with customers and the way consumers define value. Every industry, every company must respond and this is especially true for the hospitality industry.

A fully responsive and optimized website – supported by an effective digital marketing strategy –is the first, critical step. Once this is in place, hoteliers are ready to use the power of data and mobile to engage their guests and nurture their loyalty.

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