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Motel 6 enhances mobile repertoire with Android booking app

After rolling out an iPhone application in June, Motel 6 is continuing to build its mobile profile with an Android app that lets consumers book hotel rooms.

Motel 6 claims that its iPhone app has been downloaded 25,000 times and is tapping into Android devices to reach more of the market. According to the company, the Android operating system makes up a particularly significant number of Motel 6’s consumers.

“Our strategy is to make sure that we expand our distribution efforts to the mobile space,” said Lance Miceli, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Motel 6, Carrollton, TX.

“The goal is to allow the guest to search, select and book as close to the point-of-sale as possible,” he said.

Motel 6 operates more than 1,100 franchised and company-owned motels across the United States and Canada.

Quick booking
The Motel 6 Android app is free in Google’s Android Market.

The app lets users search for Motel 6 locations and view profiles of individual motels.

Users can either use GPS or type in a location to find motels.

Consumers can also make reservations directly through the app.

The app features a click-to-call function that consumers can use to call hotels directly.

Here’s a screen shot of the page where consumers can contact locations

Motel 6’s loyalty program, My Motel 6, is also integrated into the app. With the service, consumers can save their billing information and contact information for a quicker check-out.

In addition to the apps, Motel 6 also has a mobile-optimized Web site that users can book reservations on.

To promote the apps, a click-to-download feature is at the bottom of the mobile Web site.

To get a better understanding of its consumers, Motel 6 tracked the visits that were coming from mobile devices and sent out a survey to guests asking them what devices they use.

“Our iPhone app has been a great success and the demand is constant for it,” Mr. Miceli said.

“However, the Android app has higher expectations for us because of the reach of the device and how we know many of our users have Android smartphones,” he said.

Mobile stays
Motel 6 is the latest accommodation company to push mobile reservations and booking.

According to a recent study from ecommerce hotel solution Travelclick, 77 percent of hotels are using some kind of mobile marketing initiative (see story).

For the accommodations industry, mobile makes a natural platform for consumers because it lets them make quick changes to reservations and find nearby hotels and accommodations.

By offering both a mobile Web site and apps, Motel 6 is targeting both recurring consumers, who are likely to download apps, and consumers who are looking for a quick place to stay via the mobile Web site.

“Overall mobile is very important to us as an ongoing distribution initiative,” Mr. Miceli said.

“The competition will be fierce with later versions of mobile efforts because eventually all lodging places will need to have a mobile presence or they will miss out on revenue opportunities,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York