In the digitalized era we, consumers expect to be able to complete most of our tasks online. Most of our phones are equipped with applications that help us pay bills, move from point A to point B, order food and so on. Hospitality business shouldn't be any different. People expect to be able to deal with administrative tasks as quick as possible.
By no means hotel mobile applications are replacing human interaction. People still can meet an actual person. Just instead of filling a check-in card and dealing with payments guests can have a chat with the receptionist. Sometimes it can get frustrating to stay in the line at the reception just in order to book a dinner at the restaurant or pay for the visit. Guests would prefer to order such services from their mobile device without leaving their room or waiting in the line.
Who would use a hotel mobile application?
The answer to this question is short - everyone. You need to show to your guests what are the benefits of downloading the application. You can't expect each and every guest to download the app without hesitation. Peoples' phones are already swamped with various applications so they will not download yours unless they see a real value for them. Even if the value is short term, only until they complete the stay at your place.
- Shy/ Introvert people
Not all travelers feel comfortable communicating in person. They might feel the language barrier or simply be introverts. These people might not be easily expressing an issue or a request. Such a thing can leave the guest unsatisfied with a service, stress for being unable to communicate and lastly, to a bad review online. In this situation, both sides lose: guest will have an unpleasant stay and hotel will get a negative review. There must be an opportunity for introverts to book services online and maintain the conversation with the hotel staff online.
- Busy/ Last-minute travelers
Sometimes people forget to book an additional service on time. Or they might simply not be aware that your hotel is offering such services. They can request a laundry service, SPA entrance or order room service while traveling. Might happen that guest forgot to book a service when making the reservation. If you send out the reminder via the app and give a chance to book services, you will be surprised how many these last-minute service bookings will come in.
- Families/ Seniors
These two guest groups are mentioned just for the sake of the example. People, who are traveling with children, might not know in advance, what services or activities hotel is offering in order to occupy the little ones. If the hotel has an application, guests could check all services and book right away. They can be prepared in advance and no need to spend time at the reception with children. Plus, it is beneficial for the hotel as well, as they can prepare for certain services, that are required by families.
The similar approach is with senior travelers. Most of the times they have different needs and definitely would not like to spend their time queuing at the reception to book a table at the restaurant. Senior citizens are also going digital so why not to give them a chance to check-in comfortably, relaxing in the armchair while they are still at home. Elder people, in general, might need to take more time while filling in the check-in card or arranging the payment. That's why they should be able to do such tasks from home, where someone can assist them (if needed). They will not need to see other guests getting impatient and will feel more relaxed.
- Millennials/ Post-millenials
Generation of these two groups basically can't function without their mobile phones. They expect to have absolutely all solutions online. Traveling is not an exception. This group of people should be the easiest one to influence to download hotel application. Young people lately prefer communication via messenger and not face-to-face, so they would see a great value in the application. Most probably, accommodation providers, targeting young people, are hostels. Their check-ins and check-outs can get pretty chaotic as they have big groups coming in and leaving. That's why having a possibility to check-in online and pay online could save time for the receptionists. This would also improve the overall experience for your guests and plus you would be a "cool" hostel, that offers services via the application.
Why hotels should use mobile applications?
It might seem, that guests will not be willing to download one more additional app on their devices. But recently, downloading apps for traveling purposes became inevitable. People download airline apps, local transport apps, city touring apps so why not a hotel app? Especially if they see the value of such an application. What hoteliers should have in mind, is that hotel mobile applications help not only to guests but to the hoteliers as well. You will receive data about certain service requests in advance. Meaning that you can localize your staff accordingly. If you will have enough staff at peak times, you will reduce the workload and will improve the service quality.
With the help of the application, hotels can build loyalty programs. This strengthens relationships with guests and gives extra value for the app users. Nonetheless, hotel looks more professional and trendy if it can offer an application to solve certain tasks.
Main features of hotel mobile applications:
- Guests can get instant information about their stay. They can get notified when the room is clean or when they can come down to the restaurant because their dinner is ready.
- Keeping contact with the guest. With the help of mobile apps, hoteliers can still keep in touch with guests after check-out. If communication with the guest will start right after the reservation is made, this will create the feeling that they already know you and your hotel. Guests will get more excited about the stay at your place because all communication will create the feeling that you are waiting for their visit no less than they themselves.
- Easy to create loyalty programs for app owners. With the help of the application, you can get data on how many returning guests are coming using this tool. You can run special offers for such guests and boost direct sales plus do up-selling.
- Using mobile applications boost self-service. Like mentioned earlier, not all tasks at the hotel require human interaction. So you can cut time and resources for such tasks by allowing guest to do things by themselves.