Time for Hotels to Move Beyond the App

Why Mobile Strategy is More Important Than Ever, But Demands New Direction

By Drew Patterson Co-Founder & CEO, CheckMate | November 22, 2015

Mobile technology has rightly been lauded as a transformative tool for hotel service delivery. The ability to interact with guests throughout a stay enables hotels to be far more personalized in their service, to respond more quickly in service recovery situations, and to drive incremental revenue.

Unfortunately, mobile technology has been conflated with development of hotel-branded native apps. The mechanics of app downloads and consumer engagement were overlooked as hotels rushed to develop their own native app.

As a result, mobile technology's promise to transform hotel service delivery has not materialized. Investment in mobile apps have failed to deliver on promised ROI for hoteliers. For most guests, communication with a hotel has not evolved since the launch of the iPhone.

Fortunately, non-app mobile strategies - such as SMS and email - offer greater guest usage at lower cost, allowing hotels to transform their service and operations. For hotels eager to develop a better understanding of their customer and deliver more personalized service, this is a perfect time to revisit their mobile strategy and explore guest communication.

Why Does Mobile Communication Matter?

Before talking about the specific challenges of apps, let's talk about why mobile communication is so critically important.

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.