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Choice Hotels streamlines mobile checkout to drive conversionsBy Chantal Tode
Choice Hotels International is making it easier for members of its loyalty program to book reservations on mobile with a streamlined, three-click checkout process.
Mobile traffic is growing for hotels as on-the-go users increasingly research hotels via their smartphones. However, conversions can be a challenge because it can be frustrating to type information such as a name and credit card number on smartphones’ small screens, which is why Choice Hotels has introduced RapidBook.
“We saw a lot of people going to mobile, and it is great for searching and looking for hotels, but the place where it fell down was where you had to put in your name and credit card information,” said said Robert McDowell, senior vice president of global distribution and loyalty at Choice Hotels International, Rockville, MD. “It is not the easiest thing to do on a mobile phone.
“For Choice Privileges members who want to store their credit card information, it goes to basically three clicks: Search, select your hotel and you can book it,” he said. “It can’t be any easier than that to make a reservation with Choice.
“As more and more people leave desktop and start using their mobile phones more actively, it is going to help us convert and actually book reservations to our franchisees right from the smartphone.”
Choice Hotels International franchises more than 6,200 rooms under a number of different brand names, including Comfort Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, Econo Lodge and Choice Hotels.
RapidBook is available to members of Choice Hotel’s loyalty program Choice Privileges, which has 17 million members.
Once members input and store their pertinent information in their online profile, all future bookings can be done via RapidBook on the Choice International mobile Web site.
Users log on, type in a destination and select a hotel. Once they do, they are presented with the option to “Book It” to complete the reservation using their stored information.
After making a reservation, Choice Hotels emails customers a confirmation.
RapidBook further streamlines the reservation process by leveraging any preferences or other information customers have added to their online profile. For example, customers who prefer non-smoking rooms with a king-sized bed will see similar rooms in future searches.
Mobile revenues grow
Choice Hotels launched an iPhone app in 2009, making it the first major hotel company with an iPhone app, according to the company.
Today, the Choice Hotels iPhone, Android and iPad apps generate thousands of reservations by more than 100,000 consumers every month.
The company’s mobile business continues to grow and was up almost 200 percent in 2012 over the previous year.
Additionally, the company reports that mobile revenues are up significantly year-over-year and that mobile makes up a rapidly growing portion of the company’s online revenue.
The Choice Hotels mobile Web site at m.choicehotels.com is compatible with iPhones, Android phones and iPads. It enables users to map out the company’s nearest hotels or find properties by city, ZIP code, airport code or popular attraction.
Users can also obtain information about hotel rates and amenities, view hotel images, access their Choice Privileges accounts and redeem points.
The chain also offers apps for the iPhone and iPad enabling users to view local points of interest on the hotel search results map and share their hotel via social media, text message and email.
“We continue to see more of our searches being done on both tablets and mobile smarpthones,” Mr. McDowell said. “That trend has continued, and that is why we are starting to look at, as we get more guests going through that channel, how do we make it easier for them to convert and actually make the reservation on the device.”
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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