Homing in on Potential Guests.
By Vijay Dandapani
Tuesday, 22nd June 2010
The Wall Street Journal reports that 'marketing and software companies are increasingly using sophisticated technologies for smartphones and other mobile gadgets to track consumers and target ads based on their location.'

While using subscribers' location to sell ads is raising some privacy concerns as many of the businesses don't clearly inform consumers about the kind of data they track, how it is used or with whom it is shared, the technology holds tremendous promise in the nascent but fast growing field of Mobile Advertising.

The Journal reports notes that "Skyhook Wireless, a company which develops location software for the iPhone and other devices, uses GPS satellites, Wi-Fi networks and cellular towers to establish a user's location within 60 feet. A hotel operator could use the software to target its ads to consumers accessing the Traffic.com iPhone app from a nearby section of the highway." 

Seems as if the interstate system with hostelry off exits lends itself particularly well to that application. The WSJ report quotes Mobext, a mobile ad marketing firm whose client list includes Choice Hotels, as addressing privacy issues by asking the subscriber's permission for each session.

Mobile advertising is evidently on a steep ramp up as Apple claims to have "more than $60 million in bookings for its new iAd mobile advertising network – weeks before its scheduled launch on 1 July. The market most likely will be split up as Apple strives to keep out Google or any ad-service provider affiliated with other mobile phone manufacturers or distributors.

So ads for Android, BlackBerry and other devices will have to be separate from iPhone apps but that should not pose too many hurdles for advertisers whether from the hospitality space or without.

Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city.Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York.

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