Mobile strategy beats building an app

BANGKOK, 27 November 2018 – Expedia Group urges Thai businesses to rethink their approach to mobile claiming a successful mobile strategy presents one of the biggest profit opportunities.

Expedia Group claims to be the world’s largest travel platform with an extensive portfolio of leading travel brands spanning 35 languages in over 75 countries.

To boost support for its hotel partners, Expedia in Thailand encourages Thai corporations to adopt a mobile strategy for travel bookings.

In Thailand, 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.

Expedia claims what’s more impressive is that half of all online purchases in Thailand were made through mobile devices last year.[1]

“Mobile is now one of the main tools that many businesses in Thailand are using to attract and convert consumers,” said Expedia Group director of market management Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn.  “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 as a 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 number of apps used averages 27 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, [2] reaching significantly more users than the typical hotel brand with less than 15+ million downloads.[3]

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 behaviours, it’s imperative to ditch the ‘set and forget’ mentality.

“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 Pimpawee, “For Thai hoteliers, mobile should be a key part of their distribution strategy.”

[1] Source: Accenture: Thailand, a land of digital possibilities, 2017

[2] Cumulative app downloads as of 12/31/2017 for all Expedia Group brands

[3] App Annie, estimate only. Accumulated downloads to-date: New downloads driven since January 2013