Expedia Group, the world’s travel platform with an extensive portfolio of leading travel brands spanning across 35 languages in over 75 countries,continues to evolve its mobile strategy to support its hotel partners.
In Thailand, the smartphone penetration continues to grow at a rapid rate. By 2021, smartphone will be used by nearly 80% of the country’s total population, up by more than 10% of today’s rate. What’s more impressive is that half of all online purchases in Thailand were made through mobile devices last year. In light of this, Expedia Group urges Thai businesses to revisit their approach to mobilesince a successful mobile strategy presents one of the biggest profit opportunities.
“Mobile is now one of the main tools that many businesses in Thailand are using to attract and convert consumers,” said Ms. Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, Director of Market Management at Expedia Group. “Across Expedia Group brands, one in three bookings are made via mobile, and over 50% of our traffic arrives via mobile. Yet, many Thai businesses are still not effectively leveraging mobile asa channel for customer acquisitions.”
In general, Thai businesses are still adopting a “build it, and they will come” strategy. They assume that customers will automatically download apps just because they exist. The important thing to consider when developing a great mobile strategy is how consumers can benefit beyond the primary functions of browsing and shopping on a mobile device.
Today’s consumers are constantly bombarded with choices from over 3.6 million apps available on Google Play and 2.1 million in the Apple Store. But the average number of apps used averages 27 apps per month, which means securing one of those 27 coveted spots is indeed an uphill battle for any Thai business. Ultimately it may not be worth investing in a dedicated app and instead, focus on building a responsive mobile web and look to leverage third-party apps. For example, Expedia Group has seen 250+ million cumulative app downloads as of the end of 2017, up 40% from the previous year,  reaching significantly more users than the typical hotel brand with less than 15+ million downloads.
On the other hand, businesses including hoteliers may fall into the trap of establishing a great mobile strategy but then failing to continuously test, learn and evolve. As consumers keep changing their shopping and booking behaviors, it’s imperative to ditch the ‘set and forget’ mentality. As the world’s largest travel technology company, ‘test-and-learn’ is at the heart of Expedia Group’s business. This might come as a surprise but in 2017 along, we have carried out over 5,500 tests, which in turn led to more than 22,000 further product enhancements. This means Expedia Group makes an improvement to its tools and technologies in every 24 minutes!
“As technology innovations continue shifting the power of decision-making to consumers, it often puts more squeeze on the businesses. It is imperative for Thai companies to be savvy with tools and platforms available in the marketplace, and reap the benefit of mobile technology,” said Ms. Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, “For Thai hoteliers, mobile should be a key part of their distribution strategy.Leveraging free data analytical tools and insights available on Expedia Group Partner Central is one of the effective approaches to stay ahead of the curve, and maximise their mobile business.”