A must for Mobile Marketing Strategy – Hotels.com iPhone and Android app is simply brilliant for booking AND browsing hotel rooms

Last month was a productive month for me, as I worked further on my business idea and attended the Web In Travel 2012 conference for the first time. I am always utterly fascinated learning about the worlds of Travel and Tech, and it’s even more fun when they integrate so well together.

The Web In Travel 2012 conference addressed a bunch of insider issues, and took Q&As of the key trend of mobile. Mobile, mobile, mobile. Whether you’re an outsider looking in, or an insider looking out, you just cannot ignore the little plastic power of the device in your hand that beeps and rings. Admit it, your phone rules the world (I know mine rules me)!

Every time I talk to people who work in big corporations, I like to ask them, “what’s your social media and mobile strategy?” They either give you a very good answer, or they squirm like ants under a magnifying glass… Don’t you know that Asia-Pacific is by far the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, and smart phone shipments are expected to hit 137 million units in 2011 in Asia Pacific alone? And you don’t have a sales strategy that covers it? Huh? HUH????? Yeah, take that.

When I was doing research on government statistics for my own start-up, I was pretty shocked to realise that there are MORE MOBILE SUBSCRIPTIONS than PEOPLE living in Singapore. That means that many residents here actually own more than one phone! Whatever for? That is crazy, people!!

(Er, yes, I’m one of you… I have two.)

Cannot live without my BlingBerry 9790 and iPhone apps!

I’m a big advocate of browsing and booking things easily on my phone, and it is almost a fail in my honest opinion, for any major company to have an inefficient (or invisible) mobile strategy. (Sorry to be so blunt today, but I read a lot about mobile trends and marketing strategies!)

Thus, it is very easy to win my respect when a company spends effort and dollars in these areas. It truly delights me that this hotel booking site saw the importance in the mobile trend and built these power-packed iPhone and Android mobile phone apps – found on the respective app stores as “Hotels.com” (free to download, of course).

Here’s me testing it out on an iPad… Ready, set, swipe! You can use the app as “a guest” or create your own account.

To create an account, there are about 10 fields to enter your information in when you sign up, but after that it’s quick and fun. Start swiping, sorting or scrolling against the app’s interactive skyline.

Start your search first with exact dates, number of rooms & occupants.

Use the powerful filter tools to sort by preferences – do you want to see the lowest prices or best recommendations?

Check out pictures, descriptions, deals and room reviews.

I’m a bit of a design freak. I really truly appreciate when a website spends top dollar on a sleek interface that is thoughtful and intuitive on a phone or iPad. “Travel” is such a visual experience and browsing should be beautiful, not basic. The concept of a hotel or holiday can be very influenced by the choices of stylish design, glossy colours and magazine-like pictures on a mobile app.

The Hotels.com mobile design makes the UX (user experience) so gorgeous!

Only with the iPad app, you can find the nearest Hotels.com rooms in your live location, real-time.

Remember my previous post for Hotels.com? Can you tell that I just looove looking at hotels? It’s a very useless skill of mine. Guess which are some of the rooms and destinations I picked…

Store all your favourite room options with an add button, decide later!

Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore.
The Langham, Hong Kong.
Expo Hotel, Barcelona.
Club Quarters, London.

Which is your favourite?

I’m sure it will be quick to find a hotel/room to suit your budget and preference – The two smartphone applications are available in over 30 languages, and allow travellers to search and book more than 20,000 accommodation deals from over 135,000 hotels around the world.

Whether you’re planning a one-city quick trip or a cross-country vacation marathon, it’s really easy to flag (touch the ‘add’ button) all your favourite room options around the globe and you can always decide/book later. No need for opening multiple screens and toggling in between windows at all!

All your previously picked choices are stored in your account and organized in a grid next to each other for clear comparison. Which one was cheaper? Which one was nicer? Wonder no more, the design is really manageable and brilliant.

Don’t forget to keep track of the Welcome Rewards programme – when you book 10 room nights, you get your next night free. It’s easy like bubble tea.

Track your details and progress to getting that free hotel room

Even without a data connection, information like hotel address, phone number and map is ready on display as all past and future bookings can be accessed offline. I did this on an iPad and it can also be synced with your desktop and mobile phone. So incredibly useful!

Everything is clearly labelled and if anything goes wrong, you can call the help hotline straight from the app.

PS: I seriously did all this research in about 10 minutes on my friend’s iPad (I currently don’t own one). This is such a seamless app and is perfect for searching, comparing, and booking hotels while on-the-go.

If I need to make a last minute room reservation, Hotels.com will definitely be my app of choice.

“First, I’ll find a hotel room. Hopefully next, a husband…”

Next time you feel like browsing, booking (or just dreaming), get on the Hotels.com iPhone/Android app and pretend you are on a holiday. Let me know what you think!

This is an advertorial for Hotels.com

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Hotels.com Welcome Rewards – Book 10 nights, get 1 night free. More bang for your buck!

Anyone who talks to me or knows me would have an idea that I love travelling and especially, love hotels. For my last job that I quit about 2 months ago, I worked for a beautiful 5-star hotel (Fullerton Bay Hotel).

What I really prefer though, is enjoying a hotel!


Blog post on Bali for Rachel K’s birthday in April 2012 here.

I’ve stayed in so many, I’ve almost lost count. Sometimes I’m happy to be in a hotel alone, but other times I travel with a bunch.

But whether it was is for work or for play, part of the ultimate hotel experience for me has always been not just staying in the hotel. – The ultimate hotel experience should ideally include an easy booking process and being able to secure extra discounts.

I love to ask for discounts.

And the best room with a view for whatever category I book.

And a free breakfast. With a basket of fruits.

“Could I also have a free bottle of champagne?”

I know, I can be a pain! But even if you are not as thick-skinned as I am, I think most of you are still somewhat the same, and are happy to sign up for things knowing that you are getting more bang back for your buck.

I have used all sorts of loyalty programmes (and there are so many out there), but the best are those who keep things sweet and simple. Loyalty programmes should either 1) save you money, or 2) give you free stuff that is easy and hassle-free to redeem.

Nevermind getting 1 point of rewards for every USD$1 “that qualifies” for what I have spent, or rewards that are tied into my credit card calculations or air mile exchanges. Forget rewards that don’t apply for non-business trips, or that have a long list of “Terms and Conditions apply”. Sheesh, show me the freebies already!

I have been sent the press release for Hotels.com’s Welcome Rewards programme and the structure of their new loyalty programme seems rather straightforward so far –

For every 10 room nights booked, you get one free room night (excluding taxes and fees) via Hotels.com. The maximum value of the free night is the average daily rate of your ten (10) nights stay.

You can also claim a more expensive room for your free night – you simply have to top up the difference. So if your free night is valued at $100, but you want to book a room that costs $200, you simply have to pay the difference of $100.

THERE IS NO EXPIRY DATE, as long as you book one night every 12 months.

There are no points to calculate, but the best part is – NO BLACKOUT DATES! (There is nothing worse than trying to redeem a free room, and then finding out that you can’t because it so happens to be the Prime Minister’s 2nd son’s cousin’s birthday and a national holiday.)

Book 10 nights and get 1 night free… That’s getting us pretty excited.

Staying 10 nights and getting one free with Hotels.com’s new Welcome Rewards is an easy and effective loyalty scheme, just like those bubble tea shop cards that we all love. Except that redeeming free holidays or hotel rooms taste so much better than bubble tea!

If you like to travel or have a holiday coming up, why not check out updates on Hotels.com’s Facebook page OR their website to book some nights and get more bang……

… For your buck?

I will update this space again when I use Hotels.com to book my next holiday, and let you know my comments. Let me know your feedback too!

This is an advertorial for Hotels.com