Technology has seeped into our lives so much that a popular saying these days is “Hey, there is an app for that too”. These technologies have affected our lives to an extent that mobile apps are used in almost every industry you can think of. Today’s tourists either search for your hotel’s details or make the payment in advance with an app.
The hospitality industry needs to take into cognizance the ubiquity of mobile phone and its usage at each point it encounters a customer. The number of users is expected to rise, technology research company Gartner says, the number of tablets will go past tablet shipments by 2017.
A hotel app allows integration of a myriad of communication channels, such as direct social media connection or push notifications. It can create brand loyalty by keeping the guests updated by providing them relevant information about the property, this also gives them a possibility to contact the hotel. A shrewd management would realize that customers are attracted by incentives and offer a loyalty program on the app where guests collect points based on their stay and their reviews about the hotel on public portals.
First things first, hotels need to adopt a responsive website on the mobile platform as well. It is imperative that hoteliers understand most travelers do the following using their smartphones:
- Engage in research before deciding on a hotel for their stay.
- Check about a hotel’s facilities and perks.
- Read guest written reviews.
- People also check-in and check-out using their smartphones.
The above reasons should make sure that hotel management go out of their way to create websites that are responsive and allow travelers to navigate smoothly from page to page on the small screen. Tech giant Google says that if a user finds it difficult to browse on a mobile, 61% of smartphone users would leave the website immediately.
Web booking engine:
What else could be a huge value addition for a customer? Research proves that guests are comfortable and trust booking from a hotel’s website more than booking from an aggregator. A web booking engine helps turning a standalone website into a money-churner by helping with sales.
Last minute bookings:
A perishable commodity like rooms can be advertised if there are a few rooms that remain unsold. These can be offered at attractive discounts on hotel booking apps. It is to be noted that even last minute bookings takes place on a mobile. Rooms should not be left unsold. Maximum occupancy means more revenue which hotels should be aggressively striving for. According to a research by MakeMyTrip, the spurt in hotel room bookings was largely influenced by last minute transactions with 80% of them made before a week of the travel.
Another area where mobile apps can play a significant area is check-ins. A tired guest who comes from an overnight journey with the family would be overjoyed to know that all he needs to do is check-in on the mobile app and he will be directed to his room directly rather than made to wait. This will enhance the service level of the hotel. In fact, the Ritz Carlton gives guests an option to check-in in advance, use special offers, room service, check-out, etc. You can check an Infographic of Top Hotel Management Software for your Hotel Business
Woo patrons at your restaurants:
All that a guest who has come on a holiday is to have a meal in peace, this is where technology can help the hoteliers. The restaurants can come up with an e-menu app that lets a patron browse through the hotel’s offerings. An e-menu lets diners select their menu without having to go through the task of talking to a waiter.
Give specials to app users:
Integrate Yelp and Foursquare to the hotel’s app so that the patrons can enjoy using them to find local attractions. Give offers to users that book room through the app, this will give them an exclusive feel.
Hotel owners should understand that not only does an app enhance the guest’s experience, but it also reduces operational cost and enhances staff’s efficiencies.
There are a lot of Property Management Software that are available, but having an exclusive app for your hotel will give you that much needed exclusivity.
It’s not enough to only create a mobile app, but is it a part of your marketing mix? The app should be promoted on all fronts, in the hotel’s website, in booking confirmation emails, when corresponding casually and on other marketing materials. An app can help create a strong relationship with the customer, the importance of the app should be stressed everywhere. Make sure to include the app download information on hotel brochures, napkins, key cards, as a part of the in-room entertainment system, etc.
Which platform to build on? Check the hotel’s website analytics, check out the percentage of people accessing the website from which device (Android or iOS). Build the mobile platform based on that. Some of the features that can be used on the app are as follows:
- Find the hotel using GPS facility.
- Information on hotel’s rooms and services.
- A calendar with events and points of attraction in the area.
- Book and cancel reservations directly from the mobile app.
- Click-to-call feature to call the hotel directly.
- Use the app to check-in and check-out.
These should be kept in mind while using an app as they are used for increasing productivity and streamlining operations making it easy for hotel managers to do a good job holistically.