Boost for mobile travel bookings

A series of campaigns that target newspaper readers to buy hotel rooms via a mobile phone have netted an average conversion rate of 10%.

Readers of the Independent newspaper were offered the chance to browse availability and book hotels featured in editorial via handsets on a system designed by Mobile Travel Technologies.

The look-to-book rate of 10% is around double that of the average conversion rate for travel websites.

MTT has carried out a series of promotions with the UK-based Indy since April this year and has also created a back-end booking platform for the Malmaison hotel chain.

The move will be a fillip for the fledgling mobile services that currently still vastly underused by much of the industry.

It is understood search giant Google is in the process of increasing its focus on the mobile sector and is currently touting the industry for experienced mobile developers and executives.

The B2B model developed by MTT allows mobile users to access real-time search and booking information through a supplier’s own GDS connection.

Malmaison commercial director Paul Nisbett said: “Malmaison has always tried to lead rather than follow the trends of the industry and in working with MRR has been able to offer our customers a new and effective means of booking rooms whilst on the go.”

A number of online travel companies have attempted to develop mobile services in recent years, but often the products have been a re-creation of the company’s website and not been tailored to the nuances of mobile, said MTT executive director Gerry Samuels, ex-boss of travel technology provider Gradient Solutions.

Nisbett admitted the project had been “challenging”, but said the mobile arena will become the “essential channel” for the hotel and leisure industry over the next two years.

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