Social Media, Technology and the Hotel Industry

While mobile device usage is no stranger to the hotel industry, the rate of proliferation in their usage is staggering – and is likely to become the primary way of connecting to hotels in the near future, said Nicolette Kruger, country manager of NFS Technology, the developer and supplier of a range of software for the hospitality and leisure industry.

Formerly known as NFS Hospitality, NFS Technology is also the developer of Rendezvous, one of the leading software solutions for the conference and events industry.

Commenting further, Kruger said guests are increasingly using search, social media and apps to shop for, and book, their hotel travel. “It is increasing rapidly and is arguably the biggest trend happening in the hotel industry right now,” she said.

The trend is by no means new, but its growth is remarkable, according to  Ron Pohl, senior VP of brand management and member services for Phoenix-based Best Western International.

“It just becomes more and more comprehensive. Social media is consuming everything we’re doing in the lodging industry from how a customer shops, what the customer looks at, how they evaluate us, whether they trust us.”

More recently, the use of online platforms is transcending age and demographics, he added

During 2013 about 20% of all travel will be booked on mobile devices. Two years ago it was literally zero, according to Robert Rauch, president of San Diego-based R.A. Rauch & Associates hotel consulting.

Within the next three years, 80% of all bookings will be made via mobile devices, he said, referring to information from Google.

“The pace,” said Rauch “has already been huge. It’s akin to zero to 60 in 4.3 seconds.”

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