Where once Blackberry and Apple only appeared in recipes, they're now vital marketing ingredients, says Pride of Britain chief executive Peter Hancock
My mum has recently acquired a new mobile phone. It has a large screen and big buttons so she can see the numbers easily. Her ownership of the device is for one purpose only - making telephone calls when not at home.
In this regard she is almost unique, the great majority of mobile devices now being used for so many functions other than speaking to a fellow human. My young adult daughter's, for example, can text at the speed of an experienced shorthand typist and log into Facebook several times a day.
Thanks to BlackBerry and Apple, words that would only have ever appeared together in a recipe within these pages until a short time ago, we are all using our mobiles more than ever.
By the end of this year it is predicted that more online hotel bookings will be made using hand-held devices than PCs. We already know that 70% of the bookings made via mobiles are for the same day and as the machines get slicker and quicker we can expect their use to go on increasing with a concurrent shortening of lead times.
Mobiles are changing the behaviour of customers in other ways, too - a glance at TripAdvisor reveals thousands of photos taken by guests within their rooms.
We ignore these developments at our peril. At the very least we need our websites to be easily accessed by smartphone and perhaps it's time to rely less on the shotgun approach to electronic marketing that still persists.
While all this is happening, I notice a surge in the amount of unsolicited e‑mails from hotels and hotel groups, to the point where the sheer volume places our messages to potential customers at risk of being treated as junk without being opened.
Bearing in mind that much of this stuff is now arriving on phones, the risk is even greater because, once dismissed, those message are unlikely ever to be viewed. It is like the previous kind of junk mail, which used to clog up the letterbox at home, now being persistently shoved into one's pocket.
Nothing stays the same for ever but it does seem as though the popularity of mobiles and their wide capabilities will stand the test of time... or at least until BlackBerry and Apple crumble.