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La Quinta Inns & Suites aims for last-minute bookings via mobile site

March 6, 2012

Hotel chain La Quinta Inns & Suites is rolling out a mobile site to bolster hotel bookings for consumers on the go.

La Quinta first tapped into mobile in 2007 and spent 2011 looking at how consumers were interacting with the brand on their handsets, leading to the mobile site revamp. The company also has an application for iPhone devices.

“Mobile is a growing segment across the industry and certainly for La Quinta as well,” said Ted Schweitzer, senior vice president of marketing and ecommerce at La Quinta, Dallas, TX.

“It has been a major initiative and will continue to play a significant role in our distribution strategy,” he said.

“Offering the user the best experience possible and fast, simple ways to engage and book will drive our future enhancements as well.”

La Quinta provides franchise services to more than 800 hotels across 46 states in the United States.

Phone booking
Users can access La Quinta’s new mobile site by typing into their mobile browsers.

As soon as users enter the link, the site asks to use a consumer’s location, which helps users quickly find relevant hotels.

The mobile Web site is HTML5-based and uses large buttons to let users find exactly what they are looking for.

A click-to-call feature is prominently promoted in the upper left-hand corner. This helps consumers contact the hotel directly with any questions.

Users can browse hotels by location, price and reviews

To speed up the hotel booking process, the mobile site automatically fills in categories including check-in and check-out date and the number of guests. The mobile site also automatically searches for the best available rate, which is a feature that users are most likely looking for while making a last-minute booking.

Users can also access content to recommend nearby places.

The mobile site also ties into La Quinta’s rewards program by letting users log into their accounts, track their points or sign up for the program, which helps the company build loyalty via a mobile Web site.

Mobile check-ins
For a hotel and hospitality company, going mobile is a smart way to bolster online sales when a consumer is most likely looking for a place to stay while on the go.

By using a HTML5-based site, La Quinta is able to replicate a deeper experience that is traditionally associated with an app.

Additionally, by incorporating its reward program, the mobile site helps users keep track of their loyalty rewards via their handsets.

Unlike other hotel mobile bookings, the only thing that users need to book a La Quinta room is their phone number, which holds their booking for four hours.

By not asking consumers to type in their credit card number or billing address, the feature helps users who are in a pinch looking for last-minute rooms. Additionally, La Quinta is able to grab as many sales as possible via the feature.

“In our research, we see that a high volume of customers visiting our mobile site are new to the brand,” Mr. Schweitzer said.

“From that perspective, offering a better experience to first-time visitors is very important,” he said.

“Our approach in making that first experience resonate was very important.  Our apps will be utilized by our most loyal customers, and we will ensure there are additional offerings there in terms of specials and additional area information provided by hotels.  Not all customers are interested in loading apps, and we want to make sure that we are there for everyone.”

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

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