Mobile Technologies: The New Powerhouses for Increased Hotel Revenues And Guest Engagement

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | December 28, 2014

What is emerging as the biggest mobile-powered technology opportunity for the hotel industry in 2015? To borrow a phrase from the real estate world, it's "location, location, location".

Hotels -- by their very nature – are about location. And location within the context of hotel marketing today is increasingly defined by the mobile device: a smartphone or tablet (and increasingly both) that now always accompany a traveler or guest into a property or resort. Free to email, text, chat, shop, search, snap or even sketch from almost anywhere through their mobile device, today's travelers and hotel guests expect the places they visit – including hotels – to reciprocate.

Why is this behavior so important to hotels? Guests who are more satisfied and engaged are the avenues to higher occupancy rates and RevPAR, higher satisfaction scores, and more positive customer reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations - not to mention greater opportunities for ancillary revenue generation from other hotel services.

This mobile-empowered guest behavior presents tremendous opportunities for hoteliers in 2015 for what's known as in-location marketing – promotions and communications delivered directly to guests' mobile devices within a specific geographic area -- by hoteliers in 2015. Results from a Magnani Caruso Dutton (MCD) hotel survey on loyalty indicate that 74% of guests want "substantial digital involvement" during their hotel stay, while 80% want the ability to personalize their hotel-stay preferences and save the information so that future experiences are seamless from visit to visit, hotel to hotel, location to location.

The same MCD survey found that 70% travelers say the quality of a hotel's web site or app is a determining factor in whether to book a stay or not – making the relevance of the mobile interactions even more critical and impactful.

These kinds of preferences and behavior shifts should give hotel executives and their marketing teams the impetus to adopt the best practices, know-how and technologies involved with in-location and "on-site" proximity marketing. Well-tailored proximity marketing campaigns in hotels can provide not only what guests and visitors want on their mobile devices, but also can do so in ways that are meaningful, satisfying, relevant and personalized.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.