3 ways hotels are upping their game with mobile
There are now more phones in the world than there are people. And while this change is impacting every industry, it’s especially relevant in hospitality. Thanks to new advancements like mobile booking, mobile “remotes,” and mobile location-triggered content, hotels can take the guest experience to the next level. Check out how hospitality has gone high-tech (and how your organization can keep up!)
The way guests make their hotel reservations continues to change. Before widespread computer adoption, people used to call. Then, they started booking trips using their computers. These days, the preferred digital booking method is mobile: more than half of guests start and finish the booking process on their phones.
What does that mean for your hotel?
First, make sure you’ve got an excellent mobile version of your site. It should make the booking task as easy as possible—give users the key information they need (and nothing more), make the text extremely legible, and keep the navigation as intuitive as possible.
Rather than giving out physical keys, which can be easily lost or stolen, hotels are turning guest smartphones into keys. Starwood, Hilton, and Marriott have disrupted the check-in process by letting guests check in and enter their rooms using their phones. Hilton even lets guests choose the exact room they want on a virtual map, while Marriott gives guests the option of using their phones to order extra pillows or car service.
Those who spring for a stay at the Virgin Hotel in Chicago can order room service, control room temperature, and turn on music or the TV all with the tap of a button.
This trend is significant for a couple reasons. Obviously, it’s fun and novel, which boosts guest satisfaction. It also reduces some of the friction of the hotel experience. But perhaps most importantly, none of these advantages can be enjoyed without downloading each hotel chain’s respective app—thus driving app download rates and giving hotels a platform to connect with their guests on a more intimate level.
So if you haven’t already started investigating the possibilities of a mobile key and remote control, it’s definitely time to start.
Mobile location-triggered content
Hotels have begun using beacons to strategically engage with guests. Once you place a Bluetooth in a physical location, every guest that walks by with a smartphone will receive content tied to that beacon. For example, a beacon by the gift store might send an app notification to nearby guests that the store is having a sale on dresses. However, beacons aren’t just only used to send content—they can also collect information. To give you an idea, the beacon by the gift store might also be monitoring how many guests are walking through the area.
One of the first examples of beacon adoption in the hotel industry is the James Hotel chain. At its Chicago, New York, and Miami locations, guests can get location-based suggestions for restaurants, bars, and shopping. If they don’t want to leave the hotel, they can take a beacon-enabled self-guided tour of the art collection.