Using the Magic of Mobile to Create the Connected Guest
In hospitality, the guest is King. Everything we do is focused on making the guest experience meaningful, pleasurable and memorable. After all, what's better for business then positive reviews, recommendations and repeat visits?
Today's modern travelers are vastly different than their predecessors. Their expectations and needs are aligned with convenience and their mobile devices. It's no wonder so many technology trends are focused on how guests can use their personal devices before, during and after their stay. But how does a Hotel brand know what's realistic, what's just a passing trend and what's here to stay so you know what to invest in?
The mobile experience starts during the booking process. A study by eMarketer found that 40% of hotel reservations in 2017 will be completed on a smartphone or tablet, and that number is expected to hit 50% by 2021. So your first priority is to ensure that your guests can find you through a mobile app or your website, which is optimized for viewing on a mobile device. Your more loyal guests probably have your app already, but new ones won't, so you'll still need to provide an optimal experience on their mobile screen.
After your guest is booked, keep them connected to the app through push alerts. Let them know about some local activities, festivals, weather, restaurants or attractions they might be interested in during their stay. It's during this time that you can also engage them with potential room upgrades, pre-pay for a bottle of wine, and book a massage.
When your guest arrives in town, send a traffic alert from the app to them know the quickest and easiest route to get to the hotel. If your guests flight was delayed give them a way to communicate in whatever way they choose - phone, text, email or in-app message - to let the front desk know so the room is not released. Allow them to check-in via the app “ ideally with the ability to choose their exact room. Near a meal time? Tempt them with Room Service items or special offers via the app and have a hot meal waiting in their room upon arrival. Now that's a 'wow factor'.
Have you thought about mobile keys? A weary guest who traveled for hours may really appreciate bypassing the front desk and heading straight to their room for some rest and relaxation. This same guest would probably appreciate the ability to request services and products through the app or get assistance from the concierge desk.
Once in the hotel room, make your guest feel right at home by giving them the ability to stream music, videos or their favorite TV shows to the in-room TV using their favorite service. 80% of smartphone users stream video on their devices according to NPD's Smartphone and Tablet Usage Report. Being able to use this service in-room helps solidify that your guests' experience is a top priority for your hotel.
On check-out day alert your guest that their portfolio is ready to be reviewed. If all is well, your guest can check-out using the app and can confirm the payment is made in full. Any issues or challenges can be solved either through the app, in-person at the front-desk or however you guest chooses.
After the stay is over, use the app to request feedback and to submit a review. You can also let them know of any special events or sales happening at certain locations they have visited in the past. Keep them connected to your brand through periodic messages, alerts and offers. Remember, a room is perishable, so why not offer your frequent guests a special room rate or upgrade on a room that is forecast to be vacant. Your Revenue Manager will love it. After all, your app is just as easy to uninstall as it is to download. If guests find value in what it provides they are more likely to keep it.
As you can see, there are many ways to set up a positive mobile guest experience. If your hotel hasn't determined your mobile strategy yet, it's something that should be on your roadmap. As Millennials continue to make up a larger portion of travelers, their expectations are shifting to a largely mobile experience “ and your hotel should do their best to accommodate.