Why your hotel must go mobile

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1 Why your hotel must go mobile

2 Table of Contents Introduction.3 pag Engage your clients.4 pag Why go mobile?.5 pag Mobile engagement with clients.8 pag Managing a mobile app.10 pag GuestU Mobile App Solutions for Hospitality.12 pag

3 Introduction Smartphones are everywhere, and consequently also are apps. Since the beginning of the Internet, mobile is the greatest transformation in human communication. Over the past years, the mobile element has become the new gamechanger and it s definitely a trend sector. The always-connected traveller replaced printed maps and city guides. The smartphone is now the best tool to help travellers discover new places without getting lost and avoid unpleasant experiences. Hospitality businesses must take advantage of this power shift. Big players already have developed mobile applications to assist their guests wherever they are and with whatever they are searching for. A mobile app is also a great opportunity to engage directly with travellers and establish a valuable long-term relationship. It is clear that a mobile app is part of an exquisite experience for guests from around the world and hotels can t miss this opportunity. 3

4 Engage your clients The days when people travelled around the world with guide books, maps and different awkward printed material are gone. Today, most travellers prefer a city guide in the form of a smartphone or a tablet. According to the latest Travel Technology Survey from Phocuswright, there is a clear mobile majority in travel across all demographics for the first time ever. When analysing the 2014 Phocuswright s report, we understand that smartphone penetration has reached the majority in all demographics, 76% of those owning a smartphone are aged between and 58% are 65 and older. As a result, the relationship between travel and technology has become closer than ever. Businesses are going mobile to promote their services and create a compelling and satisfying guest experience. Thus, hoteliers have to adapt to this new technological shift and develop an experience driven strategy aligned with the aspirations of their guests. Hoteliers can create several strategies to provide remarkable experiences and establish a valuable long-term relationship Cone Consumer New Media Study shows how the mobile presence of a company positively affects its reputation and brand awareness among potential customers. 4

5 There s no surprise that a mobile app for hoteliers should have specific features. Some of the key features are: a mobile front desk service, which enables guests to the property any time and from any location; a digital concierge service to help guests discover their destination with turn-by-turn directions, welcome messages plus discounts which are sent to guests smartphones through push messages. A mobile app can be extremely valuable in order to increase revenue, for instance, guests can use the mobile booking option to order hotel services or even extra nights. Moreover, a mobile app provides a direct communication channel between businesses and customers, so hotels can keep track of clients and reward returning clients to increase guest loyalty. The mobile guest experience and the features mentioned above are already a reality in hospitality, especially in large hospitality chains. So it s time for all sizes and types of hospitality businesses go mobile in order to increase guest engagement and loyalty along with sales and revenue. In fact, 85% of people prefer native mobile apps to mobile websites, according to Search Engine Journal. Despite these opportunities, most hoteliers aren t taking advantage of today mobile technology. However, developing a custom and branded mobile app is within reach for many business, even those with small budgets. GuestU provides one of the fastest and most cost-effective way to build an app for hospitality businesses and create a rich experiences for customers with minimal effort. Why go mobile? Successful hospitality companies and a high customer satisfaction levels seem inseparable. Therefore, it s important to exceed your guests expectations, since a company needs an always growing customer base to remain competitive in the industry. 5

6 Embracing innovative marketing strategies, will help your company to become engaged with your guests and encourage them to return and improve your company s reputation through word-of-mouth and on-line reviews or recommendations. It s essential to create resources promoting engagement in communication channels preferred by guests; today a large percentage prefer mobile. Apps are currently a powerful bidirectional way of communication between customers and companies/brands, with amazing returns in terms of profits and client loyalty. These days, not having a mobile presence is like not having a website in the early 2000s. If you don t have an app, you re going to get left behind. In 2014, time spent in apps in the US passed the time spent on the web (both on desktop and mobile). If your audience is looking for mobile, so should you. A strong mobile presence helps your business to achieve brand awareness among mobile users, additional sales channels and the chance to be easily geolocalized by existing and prospect clients. 6

7 When thinking about your first app you should answer some key questions: Do I need an app or a responsive web site? What will the users do with the app? Will the app be available on all platforms? Who will manage/upload the app? The mobile web has long been used on-the-go, performing the same options and functions as a website when a site is responsive you can have a better experience, since you normally have a short menu with key options. While 73% of hotels have developed mobile-optimized versions of their websites, many of them didn t engage with their mobile consumers successfully. Only 20% currently offer branded mobile applications for smartphones 1. Apps should help users to achieve a task successfully, i.e, apps are meant to provide immediate access to information. When you think of your hospitality business what are the tasks that costumers usually need? Your app should translate and achieve your customers requests. Usually they want to immediately see the things they care the most about (photos of your rooms and restaurants, for instance) and they want to quickly find, essential information, such as maps, directions, your contact info, and a link to your direct booking engine. In the mobile app world, ios and Android are the leading platforms. Bearing this in mind, your app ought to be available on both platforms, as it s where your customer base is. Although apps could be a key point of differentiation for hotel establishments to increase brand loyalty and engagement, most of them find building apps an expensive and time-consuming process. Today developing a customised mobile app is now within financial reach for many hospitality businesses, even those with limited resources. It s possible 1 Hospitality Technology, 2013 Customer Engagement Technology Study, Aug 6,

8 to create a mobile app without complex processes and never-ending meetings with IT departments, by using integrated platforms which allows launching an app within few weeks. It s important to keep in mind that a mobile app development isn t a one-time activity. Therefore, it s essential having access to a user-friendly platform that allows you to keep your content up-to-date and make improvements. Otherwise, your app will became useless to your costumers. Select a team to find new contents for your app and keep an eye on the app s usage statistics, so you can achieve customers expectations. Businesses who recognize the changing habits of their prospective guests will be rewarded with sales increase and high recognition. After all, by 2018, 97% of all Internet traffic will be from mobile devices 2. Mobile engagement with clients Investing in a mobile strategy can play a big role in boosting your company s cost-effectiveness. With studies announcing that 70% of guests say a hotel s digital experience significantly impacts their decision to book a room, it s important to embrace mobile market opportunities. Today s travellers are familiarized with using their smartphones to improve their travel experience. Ordering a cab using an app, scan a boarding pass with a smartphone at the airport or simply buy tickets for an event are tasks easily performed using a smartphone. Plus, it saves time and work. For instance, when guests arrive at a hotel, they expect to use their smartphone to perform simple tasks and get information about the hotel facilities. However, when the hotel s digital experience doesn t match with their standards, guests became unsatisfied. 2 Cisco annual mobile data report: 3 Feb

9 A branded mobile application provides an immersive experience that works as an extension of the quality services your business offers. Through a mobile application guests can interact with the propriety and staff, hence minimizing unpleasant episodes within the travelling experience. With an app which provides a concierge service, you can deliver customised messages, offers and recommendations directly in your guests smartphone. Even when they leave the property to explore the surroundings, the app can provide offline turn-by-turn directions to attractions, restaurants and other points of interest, by using GPS technology. A mobile app can also help your customer to easily book a room and consequently improve your company s revenue. Sometimes guests need to book an extra night in your property. By using a booking option available in the app it is easy to perform the booking tasks. Today a mobile application is an essential component of a marketing strategy helping to build true engagement. So, all your marketing campaigns need to appeal to mobile users in every opportunity. You must take advantage of an app as a dynamic channel to establish a twoway dialogue with your customers and offer them dedicated services that can only be enabled via a mobile app. This will make your guests feel counted for and will also encourage them to recommend your services. 9

10 Managing a mobile app Although being an important part of the hotel management, IT technology might not enter the top skills of an hotelier. However, today a cloud-based mobile app-as-a-service platform gives hoteliers a great deal of flexibility in managing a mobile app. The delivery method - Software as a Service (SaaS) - allows access to information from the cloud and users can manage an app via Internet, i.e., from everywhere, at any time, just using an Internet-enabled device. Since the mobile market is currently dominated by Google s Android and Apple s ios developing and managing an app for two operating systems can be challenging. There are currently several versions of Android supported by many devices; and on ios apps must be frequently updated to support new features and fixes. As a consequence of this complexity, some hospitality business have spent large amounts of money developing and maintaining a mobile app across multiple platforms. However, for many companies ordering a tailor made mobile app is a prohibitive expense. Even hotel chains or larger brands that could afford the financial cost of a tailor made app, developing a mobile app to support the hotel services often requires an IT and marketing department deeply involved. Generally, these departments have other tasks to perform and the app development can significantly slow down. Today, by using SaaS delivery method it s possible to reduce the costs of app development. Every hospitality business can have their branded mobile application at an affordable price and focus more on revenue generation rather than developing a mobile app. 10

11 It s important to assure that an app can be easily updated through a Web platform. The mobile app management system should enable the hotel team to control the app s updates through user-friendly tools. As content can be updated through the cloud, it is not required to re-submit each update to the app stores. Having an analytics area concerning the app s results is also essential. This area enables marketers to view, analyse and disseminate data. For instance, it s possible to test new promotions and quickly understand what works and what doesn t by tracking users behaviour. An integrated system for managing the app eliminates the need of an IT team and offers specialized tools for targeting, campaigning and interacting with guests. 11

12 GuestU Mobile App Solutions for Hospitality With GuestU s mobile app solution, a custom-branded app is now within reach of all hospitality organisations. GuestU offers a fully integrated web-based platform that allows hoteliers to easily manage their app anytime and anywhere without requiring high IT skills. Thus, hoteliers can create or improve mobile experiences, using GuestU s mobile app features: Cloud Platform Mobile Booking system Mobile Content Management GPS guided routes Mobile Analytics 12

13 GuestU enables an entirely configurable mobile experience for ios and Android devices with pre-packaged premium contents, such as GPS guided routes in your region s business, georeferenced points of interest and facilities information. With GuestU s solution your guests can have your priceless tips in their pocket and enjoy a 24h digital concierge service. They can even use your app without Internet connection, since the content can be accessed offline. The user-friendly content management system allows hoteliers to update hotel information and facilities within a few minutes; the booking option is also managed through the system, as well as, the push notifications service. With push notifications, hoteliers can send reminders/tips and personal deals to their guests. This feature promotes cross-selling and increases revenue. GuestU provides a simplified way to control your mobile app and create an exquisite customer experience. The cloud-based technology allows immediate updates for the ios and Android platforms, offering flexibility and reduced technology costs to hoteliers. GuestU has a proven track record in app development, enabling brands like The Queen s Gate Hotel, and 200 more brands to develop mobile apps up to this date. For more information, visit: 13

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