According to Statista, mobile internet user penetration was about 52.7% in 2015. And, as per Nielsen data, a smartphone user spends around 85% of the time on apps. Clearly, mobile technology, powered by the internet and the presence of apps, is a game changing development for various industries with regard to better consumer service and engagement.
But, what impact does mobile technology have on the hospitality industry? How are hotels or resorts leveraging mobile platforms for branding, guest loyalty, marketing, advertising, cross-selling, and so on?
Let us take a look at several ways in which the hospitality industry adopts mobile technology and apps to provide a superior service experience to the customers.
Mobile-friendly Websites and Apps
Many hotels have gone the mobile way. They realized that mobile websites and apps are ideal for encouraging potential customers to book rooms and check availability, browse through hotel services, read reviews, view hotel pictures, and more. What is more, they can even do so while on the move! So, the use of mobile websites ensures that people can enjoy a seamless browsing experience from their smart devices and do not need to wait till they get hold of a desktop computer.
Similarly, mobile apps are a great way to ensure a quick booking experience for the customers and keep them updated about any offers, events, and so on through regular app notifications. Also, apps empower hotels to market their property as well as their amenities to a much wider audience in unique and engaging ways.
Live and Up-to-date Information Sharing
Hotels use online Content Management Systems (CMSs) to ensure real-time information access for the end consumers. They are able to control the information that is presented to the users and can easily insert, modify or delete any data within seconds.
The benefit of using a CMS is that all changes are instantly reflected on all the mobile devices of customers and, thus, hotels are able to save time which would otherwise have been spent in informing clients over the phone. Once the information about a services is modified, an automatic email is sent to guests to keep them updated. This content control ability enables the hotel management team to add any offers or events in real time and get engagement from the mobile users.
Better Trend Predictions Based on Customer Behavior
The way in which customers or guests behave once they are inside the hotel-related mobile app and their subsequent in-app interactions help hotels gain valuable insights into the consumers’ preferences. Would a hotel not be in a better position to predict the trending services for its existing guests with a large chunk of customer behavioral data at its disposal? Of course, the app data does go a long way in helping with such trend predictions and contributes toward better decision-making.
Such customer data even helps the daily operational activities of the hotel by enabling them to know the peak time intervals during which particular services are more in demand by the guests. The management team can thus ensure appropriate availability of the relevant hotel staff at such peak times.
Maintaining Long-term Relationships and Connecting with Customers
Apart from the traditional ways (telephone calls or messages) of staying connected with guests, hotels can now learn about the stay and food experiences of their costumers via social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and so on) as well. More importantly, they are able to respond immediately to any consumer comments, feedback or queries directly from the social media apps on the hotel’s Facebook page or Twitter handle. Such prompt responses help to build a rapport with the guests and increase the customers’ trust in the business.
Also, hotels use social media pages strategically to offer more discounts and freebies to their followers during lull periods. In this way, they attract guests easily to use off-season times for cheaper accommodation, food and drinks and thereby ensure better business!
Leveraging the Loyalty Program Feature
The ability to offer “loyalty programs” in mobile apps helps hotels bring about upselling and repeat business through their customers who also become their indirect brand ambassadors.
For example, many hoteliers and resort owners adopt the use of push notifications to send context-based messages to their customers on the basis of their behavior, purchase history, location, profiles, and so on. In fact, all the promotions and discounts, along with special events, are targeted through push notifications to encourage the app users to make the booking or purchase.
More importantly, such loyalty programs are applicable before, after, and during the stay of the guests at the hotel.
While customers may prefer face-to-face interactions, there is always scope for them to take advantage of specialty services which can be obtained instantly on their smart devices. The mobile apps can serve as a self-service option for the hotel guests in terms of:
- Check-ins and check-outs;
- Laundry and dry cleaning;
- Dinner reservations;
- Room service orders;
- Appointments for spa treatments or massages; and
- Online payments.
Above are some of the popular ways in which the hospitality industry is undergoing transformation in order to leverage the benefits of mobile apps and technology. Mobile technology is focussed on streamlining services, improving customer experiences, and offering clients more value for money. And, mobile apps are a great opportunity for hotel management teams to get more business as well as ensure ease of operations.
We hope the above information about the different ways in which hotels or resorts use mobile technology to connect with their consumers proves useful to you. Please feel free to share your feedback or queries in the comments section below.
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