How Will Guests Know My Hotel Has a Mobile App?

By Tom O'Rourke President & CEO, O'Rourke Hospitality | August 14, 2011

I am often asked by clients, "How will my guests know that my hotel has a mobile app?" It is an important question, and one that I am happy to address. The fact that clients even ask this question shows that they are aware that they must inform and educate their guests about their hotel app.

Not too long ago, hotels had to announce to their guests that they had a website. Today it is just a given that every hotel has one, and if it doesn't, well something is probably wrong. The same thing is likely to happen with mobile. Today apps are still somewhat of a novelty, and hotels need to inform their guests that they have one available and explain the benefits. In the very near future, however, travelers will become more technology savvy and will simply assume your hotel has a mobile option without having to be told. If you don't provide a mobile solution, you may be sending a message that you are behind the times, or that you simply aren't interested in meeting your guests' needs.

There is no special formula for getting the word out about your app, and you can promote it the same way you would any new service at your hotel. You just have to look around you to see that brands in all industries are already promoting their mobile options on their websites, online publications, e-mails, and printed materials. Below is a brief list of simple, cost-effective ways to inform your guests that your hotel has an app that they can download.

Include a link on confirmation emails

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to inform your guests about your app is to tell them about it in your confirmation emails. You can even include a direct link to the iTunes or Android webpage where they could download the app for free.

Train your staff to inform guests about your app at check-in

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.