An app can help a hotel enhance the guest experience. It’s a way to increase self-service and saving time – which guests interpret as deeper, better service. App makers agree. A customer is communicating their loyalty if they download your app.
It’s a busy moment at the front desk. More guests are waiting to check-in than there are staff members to assist them. What are they doing – hopefully, patiently – while they wait? It’s likely something involving a mobile device.
Hotel guests today are arriving with an average 3.6 connected devices apiece. Chances are, they’re looking to see if you’ve got free lobby WiFi connectivity while they wait. With mobile devices taking the lead in our lives, hotels are moving as quickly as they can to integrate things like apps and mobile check-in to enhance the guest experience.
Mobile check-in moves up
The booking process has already been drastically simplified and improved. That’s often the first interaction a guest has with a hotel. And, while they might give high marks for making this initial effort easy, don’t lose points for a complicated and time-consuming check-in.
Free time is one of our most valuable luxuries. Guests want to maximize their time. That’s certainly not happening if they’re waiting in line to check-in at the front desk. Look at it from their standpoint. What’s up with all that typing and mouse clicking on the computer behind the counter? Didn’t you get all the information needed when the room was reserved? Why couldn’t you have asked me about all of these preferences and options before I got here?
Hotels first started offering mobile check-in in 2014, but it’s been a painfully slow adoption process. A recent study shows that only about 19 percent of hotel guests bother to download a hotel app, with only about 4 percent of them actually using it to check-in.
The same survey found that guests who download and use a hotel’s mobile app are more satisfied and have greater loyalty to the brand. But, more than 80 percent of guests haven’t been moved to download the app.
Obviously, the challenge lies in getting people to see the value in downloading a hotel’s app. There is a payoff if you can accomplish this. The Ritz-Carlton tied with JW Marriott as the highest in guest satisfaction for a luxury hotel brand in J.D. Power’s study. What might set them apart on the mobile side is what they’re doing with their app.
The Ritz-Carlton’s hotel app offers location-specific concierge suggestions. That by itself might not be unique, but the app has pushed deeper into social networking territory. With the app, guests can transform their photos into sharable vintage-style travel posters. There are digital stamps, titles, and filters that are specific to each Ritz-Carlton location. Guests have begun to collect them like passport stamps.
Virgin Hotels encourage guests to download the app, so it can be used as a universal remote control that can adjust the room temperature, stream content to the room’s large TV, and order room service.
Your mobile device is your room key
A growing number of hotel chains are rolling out mobile keys. It usually involves downloading the hotel’s app. Afterward, the room door can be opened when your phone touches the lock on the door. There are several technology approaches, but most rely on your mobile device’s Bluetooth capability.
The mobile key approach also allows for controlled access to other areas on a hotel’s property, like elevators to upper floors, the parking garage, private VIP lounge areas, or even the fitness center. Marriot and Hilton currently lead the way with this option, and guests generally seem to like it.
Even magnetic key cards can be hacked. The most common route here is that guests tend to keep their key card and room number together, which gives a thief all the information they need. Mobile devices can be stolen, as well, but you would still need a passcode to unlock the phone before you could use it to unlock a hotel door.
An app can help a hotel enhance the guest experience. It’s a way to increase self-service while saving time – which guests interpret as deeper, better service. App makers agree. A customer is communicating their loyalty if they download your app. Hotels have a direct connection with guests through an app. A tap to check-in or out. Another for restaurant reservations. The ability to drive guest loyalty is nearly limitless.
Since 1992, Beachwood Custom has been immersed in the twists and turns of the hospitality industry. Our wide range of experience in design, purchasing, manufacturing, and installation makes us the perfect match for helping hotel customers open a hotel that fits their vision and works with the technology, rather than beside it. To learn more about how we can help you open your next hotel, contact us today.