Choice Hotels places spotlight on loyalty platform via mobile-optimized site
Choice Hotels is putting the spotlight on its revamped mobile-optimized Web site with a slew of new features, including additional information on amenities, more imagery and advanced filtering options, as well as a streamlined checkout for members of its loyalty program, suggesting that mobile loyalty still reigns supreme in the travel sector.
The site, which is also accessible via tablet devices, aims to ramp up sales of hotel stays by making it simpler for guests to search for available rooms based on their preferences. As Choice Hotels encompasses a number of brands, such as Quality Inn, Comfort Suites and Clarion Hotels, the streamlined search and checkout features will likely resonate positively with on-the-go travelers.
“Checkout for a hotel’s mobile Web site is all about speed and security,” said Daniel Meehan, CEO of Padsquad, New York. “People want to quickly manage and pay for their hotel reservations.
“If the checkout process is not streamlined, it could create a negative experience that forces a prospective customer to leave the Web site and perhaps take their booking to a competitor,” he said. “However the checkout isn’t the only step that affects a customer’s booking decision.
“It’s critical to offer a well designed and easy to navigate Web site to help customers smoothly search and select hotel results from any device. Most customers begin their hotel research from other devices from which the booking actually takes place. The entire process should be fast and seamless from discovery to booking.”
Updates to the site will continue being rolled out through next week.
As more busy travelers turn to mobile for their researching and booking needs, Choice Hotels is ramping up to tap that key demographic by making the mobile site faster and offering a more user-friendly interface. Users can input their desired timeframe for a stay, along with the number of guests that will be in the room and the location of choice, to receive a list of possible accommodations.
Mobile-exclusive deals will be offered, a feature that is likely to entice more consumers to use the site while on-the-go. A small banner on the bottom of the listing will also indicate if a bonus point offer is available, in case guests would prefer to book a stay that will be more beneficial for their rewards platform accounts.
Users can easily filter their options, view the location of the hotels and see reviews from other consumers.
The listings may also display when the last booking was made, a tactic which will come in handy if only several rooms are left and a guest is deciding whether or not to proceed with the purchase.
Customers may also compare rooms to ensure that they will receive all of their required amenities or features.
Rewards and loyalty platforms are becomingly increasingly more imperative for hotel marketers to leverage, especially on mobile.
When users visit the new Choice Hotels mobile site, they are able to click on the “Join Choice Privileges” button located underneath “Find Hotels” if they wish to become members of the loyalty platform.
Once they complete the form with their personal information, they may start accumulating points toward free nights, redeem their points for various shopping, travel, entertainment and airline rewards and refer friends to the platform.
Another beneficial move for Choice Hotels may be to begin thinking about introducing an Apple Watch companion app for consumers who find themselves in need of a last-minute stay.
Booking.com is rolling out the first travel application with booking capabilities for the Apple Watch, enabling consumers to select and book hotel accommodations directly from their wrists while also supplementing the commerce potential of wearables for the travel and hospitality industry (see story).
“Hotel brands should start by understanding their customer’s behavior for browsing/booking accommodations and adjust their strategy accordingly,” Mr. Meehan said. “At this stage in the game, investing in Apple Watch apps is a great attention-grabbing tactic.
“However, we strongly recommend hotels focus on getting their house in order (in mobile) before spending any money on something that’s not sustainable and a novelty. Once their broad base adoption of the Apple Watch, then our recommendation will change.”
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York