technology, hospitality, and plumbing…

Posts Tagged ‘mobile’

Google’s Big Android Problem

In General on January 23, 2011 at 18:43

AndroidGoogle’s got a big problem with Android. And if it doesn’t change its ways, it’s going to get worse.

A lot has been written lately about the battle between Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. These focus mainly (rightly) on the hardware and software differences, as well as differences in model, and indeed philosophy. However, conventional wisdom seems to be that iOS will make the money now, but Android owns the future. As it stands, that is plain wrong.

Read the rest of this entry »


Mobile Websites: What are the Hotel Big Boys Doing?

In General on October 21, 2010 at 22:42

Mobile WebsitesI’ve been working on mobile sites for some clients just recently, and this has been informative, if slightly depressing! In a previous post i talked about how little distinction there is between hotel sub-brands. If you look at the mobile space, there’s very little distinction between the main brands themselves. Follow me while i take a look. Read the rest of this entry »

Mobile Email — are 20% of your users getting it?

In General on August 3, 2010 at 19:16

Are you testing your newsletters on mobile?Posted today on the Keen blog about the huge number of people using their mobile phones to read email newsletters. It’s crucial that your email newsletters are formatted so that they are readable on mobile devices, because on a hotel company’s list of over 60,000 users i looked at, over 20% were reading on their iPhones — only Hotmail was more popular, and Outlook was a distant third. Make sure you’re not missing out on this opportunity, and test your email newsletters on mobile devices whenever possible!

Anthony Green – August 2010

Share Share on Facebook post to pdf

Great mobile site from Mandarin Oriental

In General on June 16, 2010 at 08:01

Saw this earlier today, a great implementation of a mobile site from Mandarin Oriental. They’ve moved beyond the standard, stripped-down mobile site, to give something that has a lot more branding, with a clean design and great images.

Mandarin Oriental - home page

The home screen is simple, focusing on finding a hotel. Read the rest of this entry »

Apple’s Missing Piece

In General on May 25, 2010 at 18:30

I’ll admit it — I’m an Apple fan. I own an iPhone, a MacBook Pro, a couple of Mac Minis, an iPod and an iPad. Needless to say, I love them for their user-friendliness, and the way they let me do what I want to do without any serious techsupport.

TV in my house has been replaced by a Mac: using Front Row, the kids choose their TV programs using a cutesy little Apple Remote, so simple even my 2 year old can use it. They don’t know that there’s a server sitting upstairs, storing all the TV programs and movies, and serving them over our wifi. The server’s nothing special, a generic box with FreeNAS (a Linux-like operating system) and a few large hard disks.

The same system means that anyone with a computer in the house can watch movies over the wifi. This works fantastically, even on my iPad (Air Video is a killer app for this, converting files on the fly if they’re the wrong format fort the iPad).

However, there’s a serious gap in the whole puzzle. I can’t share my music from iTunes without iTunes running on another computer. I can’t view my photos on iPhoto without iPhoto running on another computer. My server is always running, but if I want to listen to music or look at photos, I have to run upstairs to switch on the computer that has that program. Either that, or i need to leave the computer with my photo and music libraries running all the time — a waste of electricity, as i have my server already running.

Likewise, I always need to use the same computer to add music and photos — in the Apple world, i can’t add to my main library from a different computer; if I chose to add music or photos to a different computer, syncing media between different computers is a pain that can’t be achieved without hacks.

Clearly, what’s needed is an Apple Home Server — a stylish white or aluminium box that sits somewhere next to your wifi router, with a couple of big hard drives, and a server version of iPhoto and iTunes. Any computer on the network could access the movies on there (through Front Row); music could be accessed from any computer on the network; any computer could be used to add photos, as they share the same library that sits on the server — plug in a camera anywhere, and zap! they’re added to the server.

This device would also handle backups, using Time Machine (which the Time Capsule already does).

Then we’d have a great way for all the Apple products in the house to freely share all content without headaches. Surely this isn’t too much to ask, Steve?

Anthony Green – May 2010

Apple vs. Adobe – or how Flash became irrelevant

In General on May 15, 2010 at 18:42

Apple Inc.Adobe FlashSurprise, surprise, Steve Jobs has been causing controversy, again, as only he knows how, sticking it to Adobe about how bad Flash is, and how it will never appear on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Well, never say never, but for technology professionals tasked with implementing websites and mobile applications, the current situation is clear — steer clear of Flash if you want people to be able to access it on iPads, iPhones, or iPod Touches. Read the rest of this entry »

Mobile and iPhone development for hospitality

In General on April 12, 2010 at 11:21

Everyone loves their smartphone, whether it’s a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android. The size of the market (172 million smartphones sold in 2009), the amount of time people spend on these things, as well as the realisation that mobile internet is a new battleground for (often wealthy) customers, has inevitably lead to clients asking about mobile development — should they do it, how to do it, how much would it cost.

Developing for mobile devices at the moment means 3 things.

The glamour approach is iPhone app development. iPhone users are passionate about their apps, and even those who don’t own an iPhone have been bowled over by the magic of seeing a really cool iPhone app. The reality is that this is really quite an expensive undertaking, which is why we’ve only really seen the chains and OTAs doing it at the moment. Accor, Hilton, Starwood and others all have apps, but even these are really flag-waving, positioning statements, with chains touting the number of times the app has been downloaded rather than the number of bookings that have been made. The problem is not the technology (although having an integrated booking engine is a prerequisite), it’s the simple fact that only the most dedicated road warrior — think George Clooney in Up in the Air — would stick so religiously to a brand that they keep the app on their phone.

If iPhone/BlackBerry/Android app development is out of reach for standalone properties and small chains, what are more practical options? Well, secondly, there is the mobile web. These days, smartphones have great browsers, sometimes better and more modern than the browser on their main computer (this is particularly the case in corporate environments, as those of you still suffering with IE6 can testify). Hospitality sites produced using web standards will display fine on smartphones — shameless plug — check out and to see modern sites in your mobile browser. All of you should encourage your web developers or ecommerce team to follow web standards so that sites display well on all platforms.

Thirdly, you can develop special low-graphics versions of your website for smartphones. This shouldn’t involve too much extra work if you’re using web standards with CSS based code, or a modern MVC framework — a different ‘skin’ can be out on the site for mobile devices, making it much easier to access the information on your site.

However, most hospitality clients are not selling rooms as commodities, they are more interested in selling the USPs and the brand promise, so a low-graphics approach may not work well, and could be a waste of focus. One situation where a low-graphics version of the site can be worthwhile, is for those of you who have an integrated booking engine — having the ability to check rates and availability from the smartphone will be a plus for many people.

One thing’s for sure, the mobile space is getting more and more important, and as a marketer or revenue manager, it’s important to keep up with trends and look for opportunities in this area.

First posted at Keen

Anthony Green – April 2010

Share Share on Facebook post to pdf