The world is noticing a phenomenal growth in adoption of tablets and smartphones. For any business, mobile presence is becoming as critical as Internet presence. Travellers are rapidly moving into this mobile age and it is becoming critical for hospitality industry to engage their guests on this new platform and add value to their mobile experience!
According to the TripAdvisor Travel Trends 2012 report, 44% of all travelers will be using their mobile phone as a travel resource in 2012. Deloitte Hospitality Trend 2015 ranks mobile adoption as one of its top 10 game changers in the industry!
Hospitality industry has understood that this is the need of the day. But the biggest question is that, how to leverage this ever growing technology?
The answer is an app that would enable hotels to fully leverage mobile technology by creating their presence on mobile platform as well as offer a revolutionary guest experience.
The app can run on tablets and smartphones like iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, Android phones, Windows phones and other popular platforms. A branded app of the hotel can be downloaded from the respective app stores, significantly increasing hotel’s brand value. The app can be used by hotels to showcase hotel information, amenities, pictures and videos. It can improve marketing, branding, advertising, cross-selling and impulse buying.
A hotel app can revolutionize the way guests interact, view and consume services. Hotels can expose their amenities and services in high quality multimedia formats with stunning images and videos, thereby increasing exposure and usage of hotel services. Guest can access details of all offered services, make service requests, and can also place orders directly from the mobile device. Language, accent, wait time on phone and miscommunication are no longer a barrier for guests to access and enjoy hotel services to the fullest.
With such apps, hotels can present live and up to date information to their guests. Hotels can change the content, menu, images, videos, on the fly. Hotels will never have to face an embarrassment of saying “Sorry, that item (or service) is not available at this time”. Any special events or new offers can easily be added to the app.
Keeping in mind the ever changing nature or technology, it may be a disservice to hotels if they develop their app independently. Changes in platforms, technology, and social networks can lead to increased involvement and costs in developing and upgrading mobile apps. The solution to this problem is use apps developed by professional software companies. There are a handful of software companies that specialize is hospitality apps. Utilizing the services of such companies greatly reduces the time to launch an app and also lowers the overall cost of ownership of the software.
Many leading hotels are already using such apps and have reported an amazing ROI due to an increase in RevPAR ranging from 10-25%. They have reported increases in room service bills, restaurant bills, direct marketing revenues, Internet revenues, cross-selling and up-selling. Some of the benefits that a hotel receives, which will increase hotel’s RevPAR, are Customer Satisfaction and Engagement, Targeted Advertising, Greater Brand Value, Shopping – Merchandise, Local Bookings, Increase Profitability by Cross-Selling, Increase Employees / Operations Efficiency, Reduce Operational / Manpower Costs and a Competitive Edge.
Many consulting firms have predicted that within a few years, most major hotels will have their own mobile apps. Now its up to hotels to decide, whether they want to have the first mover advantage.