Apps are now a huge phenomenon in almost every industry across the globe. As consumers, we can use them to play games, check the weather and make purchases with practically all of our favourite companies.Stats for apps As of June 2015, more than 100 billion apps had been downloaded from Apple’s store alone, not counting those that came from Google’s shop for Android. By 2017, it is projected that there will be 269 billion apps in use worldwide, according to Statista.
Apps are opened more than ten times a month, figures from Localytics show, while a quarter of 18 to 44-year-old smartphone users told Fast Company they can’t remember the last time their phone wasn’t next to them. But do hotels need to be making the most of this trend and launching their own apps for would-be guests to use? Figures show that an average of 11.3 new travel and lifestyle apps are released every month, so should your property be among them? Successful hotel app use Some hotels clearly think that apps are the way forward and there are numerous examples of them working well. For instance, the Ritz-Carlton chain offers its customers detailed information on all of its properties at the click of a button, including photos, contact details, dining options and area activities, all of which will be really useful for guests.The famous Caesars Palace in Las Vegas also has an app that allows its guests to order room service, schedule wakeup calls, book treatments and plan their nightlife.There are scores more hotel-based apps that show how well these small programs can be used by travellers to make the most of their stay.
What hotels need to ask themselves is whether they think an app will help them stand out amid the competition, increase bookings and present a better customer experience for their guests.Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of Hotel Mobile Apps Development . App advantages Consumers today expect speedy transactions when they make bookings or buy things, which apps can certainly offer them.
In just a few taps, guests can get their rooms reserved and access their payment details, which is great news for convenience.They are also handy research tools for the property owners themselves, as apps can collect valuable information about current and past guests that can impact future bookings. For example, property owners can find out if guests have ordered room service and attended appointments at the in-house spa. If they book again in future, they could then be sent vouchers for these same services to encourage them to spend again. In addition, people with similar booking behaviour could be targeted with offers that might appeal to them in the same way.This can be immensely valuable for hotel marketing strategies and upsells at quieter times of year.Another good thing about apps is that they boost loyalty among guests, as they can be used to store points accrued from stays and also remain on a phone’s home screen to remind people of the hotel’s presence.
Finally, there is the benefit of another communication channel between guests and hotel staff, who can use inbuilt messaging functionality to send details about an upcoming stay directly to their phone. This might include information about when rooms are due to be ready for check-in, in case it is earlier than advertised.Potential disadvantages Unfortunately, there are disadvantages to offering apps as well as benefits. A key one is that they are another expense to add to the marketing budget, as they will need maintenance as well as that initial launch, particularly if they are to accept payment information.Linked to this is the fact that hotels will need to have different apps for different operating systems – and new devices are being launched all the time, so who’s to say that something that works now will also work in the future?Another big issue is standing out among the competition with your app, particularly if you’re not a big-name hotel chain. People won’t see your hotel on the home page of the travel section, as it is already full of well-known brands like Expedia and Booking.com.
Instead, they will have to search you by name – and if they haven’t heard of you, how are they expected to be able to do this?Finally, there is the problem of remaining on someone’s smartphone after they have completed their stay. Many people stay at numerous different hotels in the space of just a few years and they might not build up any loyalty to a particular name unless it offers them something extra-special.Hotels might therefore find their app is deleted to free up valuable space on a phone, as up to 90 per cent of all apps are after a single use, rather than remaining there to keep that property front-of-mind.As you can see, there are numerous pros and cons for app use. It is up to individual hotels to ensure they focus on the marketing channel that offers them the best return on investment while also providing the best possible customer service for guests – whether than means designing an app or not.