How Mobile Technology is Changing the Pre-stay, In-room and Post-stay Experience

By Pedro Colaco President & CEO, GuestCentric Systems | July 17, 2011

With the buzz surrounding mobile Internet usage for travel, many hoteliers are wondering whether to adopt mobile as a component of their strategy both on-property and online. This article is the result of a study of over 300 properties using mobile technologies and discusses the most important items to take into consideration when thinking about the mobile experience whether pre-stay, on your property and what happens after your guests have left:

The mobile mega-trend

Three articles in the last few days have caught my attention:

  • Forrester predicts mobile commerce to hit $32 billion by 2016
  • Meraki says mobile devices have overtaken PCs in WiFi usage
  • Paypal expects to do $3 billion in mobile payments this year

All these articles have caught my eye because they represent different facets of the same reality shift that is happening before our eyes: access to information on the Internet has become truly always on with mobile access. This ubiquitous access means that Internet consumers are increasingly multi-tasking and making decisions on the fly, while they are mobile.

What does this new reality entail in the World of hospitality? Three different realities:

  • Pre-stay consumers will rely heavily on mobile access to content to get inspired, gain information and make decisions on where to stay.
  • During the stay hoteliers must leverage mobile technology to provide better service, anticipate guest needs and engage guests to provide them a truly unique experience at the destination.
  • Post-stay hotel managers must create touch points to maximize possible positive reviews and feedback and be vigilant to stifle negative feedback.

Mobile pre-stay is here now

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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.