A recent study by Eye for Travel has revealed that the millennial traveler demographic will double in size by 2020. Furthermore, research done by Google has shown that two-thirds of this young demographic already plan their travels via smartphone. This reality brings us to a guiding paradigm, the now overwhelming influence of apps and other smart technologies on the hotel business.
Hotels around the world develop apps to encourage their guest to book directly or to have a better way of direct communication during the stay at the hotel. For example, Marriott has an app that enables users to search 4,700+ hotels across 18 brands in 96 countries, but also to browse hotel photos, maps, city guides, and amenities, to sign up for Marriott Rewards®, to get travel tips and recommendations with articles from Marriott TRAVELER, and more.
The Hyatt app allows users to book 600+ Hyatt hotels and resorts, offers member benefits, discount rates, and rewards, and has stay-enhancing features like requesting an Uber ride or requesting items to the room.
Many other hotel chains have developed similar apps. But, as you note, these apps become useless after the guests leave the hotel, or if they are not frequent customers of the same brand.
In this report, we will look at five cutting-edge apps and services that help provide your guests with the experience they expect.
This ride-hailing app just works better than taxi services for guests for several reasons. First, and maybe foremost, the app automatically tells the driver where to go, and this can solve the language barrier for overseas travelers. Add to this the fact that the Uber app is a cashless system, and there’s ample reason to recommend Uber or other similar apps to your guest. The automated tracking system Uber uses also makes it easy to find lost items etc. And for the hotelier, Uber is open to cooperation and partnering. An example of “win-win” in this regard is a Millennium Hotels and Resorts cooperation where guests using Uber’s Stay & Ride package get complimentary rides all over Singapore.
Of course, there are countless examples from hotels and Uber competitors. The critical thing to focus on is the “guest experience” provided when a hotel takes the initiative to quell a client’s transportation fears. We suggest that hotels take advantage of Uber for Business’ platform ‘Uber Central’ or similar services to provide guest transport. Uber Central is one of several nice dashboards out there that allows organizations to request and manage multiple rides at the same time from one place. With the Uber variant, guests do not even need a smartphone to book a ride. Check Uber Headquarters here to find out more reasons to use their services.
This destination service is not technically an app. Inspirock is a mobile site that works like an app generate a custom itinerary that suits the guest’s preferences. The platform works a bit like Google Trips, only the user interface (UI) is a lot more user-friendly. All the guest has to do is input their destination, check some boxes, and Inspirock does the rest. Your guest gets a customized itinerary replete with guides, a map, and travel times from your hotel. Inspirock and its competing apps solve the problem of outdated physical guidebooks.
The service is billed as the “Planning service that helps you see & do more,” and from what we’ve seen they live up to this slogan.
Users have an almost unlimited capability to customize their trips and to mix and match side trips while at their destination. Inspirock is agnostic as far as accommodations are concerned, offering TripAdvisor and Airbnb as suggested sources for stays. Apps and services like this, are in all honesty, some of the most useful innovations in the hospitality industry thus far. Inspirock has won many industry awards including the Brand USA Marketing Innovation Award” from Phocuswright.
This partnering innovation is not just an app, but a service that provides hotels with guest-ready smartphones loaded with in-room technology to connect all hotel services like spa features, in-room dining, F&B restaurants menus and more. handy is concierge empowered by smart innovation. Your guests get a better experience through tailored and intuitive smart devices tuned to your environment. Until some innovator comes up with a way to integrate and upload all your services and features directly to guest devices, handy is by far the best was to digitally empower your clients.
An industry-first innovation, handy is at the leading edge of the internet of things (IoT) trend, a solution that improves guest satisfaction, while boosting efficiency and ancillary revenues. This breakthrough technology boosts the power of concierge services, the cornerstone of good guest satisfaction. The service uses guest data and preferences to personalize their guest services and improve their overall experience while staying at your property. Guests receive handy devices upon check-in and they return them upon check out. handy features include:
- Infrared technology in the handy smartphone allows users to control TV, lighting, temperature, and more
- Guests have easy access to hotel staff and services via hand Concierge Chat messenger
- FREE global calls and data, and speed dial to guest services
- LUXOS City Guides that enrich the customer experience with tailored content
- Hotels can also promote unique services that answer travelers' needs and wants.
This hospitality customer service and communication tool allows hotels and guests to communicate via SMS and Mobile Messaging before, during, and after their stay. Centered around guest engagement, Whistle and its competitors aim to increase service scores, boost TripAdvisor and other rankings, and to streamline team messaging too. This leading guest messaging platform was recognized by Hotel Tech Report as 2018's top-rated guest messaging platform. The company is also gaining an excellent reputation for stellar customer service, which is perhaps the most attractive plus for hotels.
Amazon Echo – The Horizon of Useful Apps
This ultra-popular smart-home device is now being tested by hotel brands like Marriot and Wynn to take guest satisfaction to the next level. Amazon Echo is a voice-recognition speaker that can reliably control lights, draperies, and room temperature.
But the potential of this technology is unlimited for guest services. A form of artificial intelligence (AI), Amazon Echo could help in areas like in-room dining and other room services, as well as creating a new kind of satisfaction window for the burgeoning Millennial group of guests.
Beyond the novelty value, Amazon is building a new paradigm for guest service. Using the Echo Dot as an in-room device that welcomes guests has vast potential. Some of the hotels testing the Alexa-powered AI are interfacing their technologies so that guests can voice command almost anything from room service to requesting a ride around the city. The implications are obvious here. If Amazon perfects this technology, many other serviced and apps will become obsolete. The good news for hotels, however, is that guests could end up with futuristic expectations met.
In addition to these apps, guests may also download translation apps, weather apps, journaling apps, and all kinds of fun and quirky tools that aid or enhance different aspects of their stay. You should also encourage your guests to use TripAdvisor and Google Maps apps to rate your hotel and submit rating and reviews that boost your online reputation and local SEO.