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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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.