Mobile Efficiency: New ways mobile technologies save hotels time and money

By Ryan Day Founding Partner, The Portal Live, LLC | April 15, 2012

Lately everyone seems to be focusing on the time and money saving benefits of mobile apps from the guests perspective. In this article I'd like to address the ways mobile technology can make the lives of hoteliers significantly easier by maximizing efficiency and quality control.

The prevalent use of mobile technology in the travel market is consumer driven and quickly gaining momentum. Consumers demand this technology be available and many hotels are scrambling to grasp the ramifications of the movement. The inevitable fact is mobile platforms will soon penetrate and influence all aspects of hotel operations. Early adopters of mobile technology will be well positioned to best satisfy the needs of their guests and staff.

Outsourcing

Although all hotels should have a mobile solution, it's not necessary for every hotel to create their our native mobile applications. In many regards native mobile apps represent the antithesis of efficiency. To start, native apps require developers to write code for multiple tech stacks and deliver updates for all the unique platforms. This means developers must do the same job multiple times for each platform they choose to support. As you may have learned already, professional app development does not come cheaply!

Not to worry... There are economical alternatives to native apps that provide all the benefits with none of the headache or overhead. The most cost efficient solutions offering the greatest ROI lie in free third party web apps. The next generation of web apps will offer user experiences that rival those of native apps. Only web apps allow developers to create their code once and deliver updates across all platforms instantly. Using HTML5 and CSS, web apps provide seamless multi-platform user experiences. This ensures hotel information is always accessible to guests regardless of the device they choose to use.

There are third party app providers offering customizable apps featuring all the functionality of private native apps. These independent service providers often leverage advertising-based revenue models. Allowing them to provide their services free to hotels. With no out of pocket costs, all the additional revenue the hotel apps generate goes directly to the hotel. Furthermore these app providers are continually updating their feature sets to incorporate the most advanced technology.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.