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Best Western moves towards one-click mobile checkout goal with Google WalletBy
Best Western’s new mobile payment offerings puts the hotel brand one step closer towards its goal of cutting down the checkout process to one step.
The hotel chain is integrating Google Wallet into its Android application and mobile Web site to make it easier for consumers to checkout from a mobile device. Google Wallet is being rolled out to all of Best Western’s 4,000 hotels.
“We were the first hotel brand to launch Google Maps Business View for all our North American hotels, and we are actively engaged with Google Hotelfinder and AdWords campaigns,” said Greg Adams, vice president of ecommerce at Best Western International, Phoenix, AZ.
“Implementing Google Wallet as an in-app and mobile payment solution extends that partnership and provides another safe and secure tool to make the booking process that much easier for our guests,” he said.
When a consumer is ready to checkout, they can log into their Google Wallet account, which will cut down the number of steps needed to finish the transaction.
The new payment features add to other Google-powered features that Best Western is using to give travelers more information about their trips before they leave.
In December, Best Western became the first hotel brand to launch Google Maps Business View in United States hotel rooms. Google Business Views includes a set of 360-degree photos that let travelers check out a hotel before booking.
Best Western’s mobile app also loads the chain’s loyalty program into the app and includes social features that let consumers share their favorite locations.
The travel vertical has been a quick adopter of mobile, but there is still a relatively untapped opportunity in the space for hotel brands themselves.
Online travel agencies and hospitality brands consistently report high percentages of booking being made via mobile.
However, when it comes to customer service and influencing real-world sales, hotel brands have the upper hand since consumers already expect top-notch service from them.
Making mobile commerce seamless
A number of brands and retailers have implemented Google Wallet into mobile and Web platforms, including Domino’s Pizza and Rue La La.
Rue La La saw conversion rates increase four-fold compared to average Android users as a result of integrating Google Wallet (see story).
For a hotel chain such as Best Western that primarily leverages mobile for last-minute bookings, Google Wallet makes a lot of sense in capturing a consumer’s payment information quickly.
In June last year, Best Western redesigned its mobile app with new navigation and deeper integration from travel recommendation engines Bing, TripAdvisor and TripIt (see story).
Additionally, Best Western reported a 145 percent year-over-year increase in mobile bookings in 2012 (see story).
“This investment, and our ongoing commitment to mobile, reflects the importance of what is taking place in the marketplace,” Mr. Adams said.
“We see that our guests are interacting with us through their mobile devices at a rapidly increasing pace, and we want to ensure that interaction exceeds their expectations,” he said.
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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