The Mobile Key Game and Its Rules: From Strategy to Implementation
By Alastair Cush Head of Global Lodging Business Development, Kaba | January 17, 2016
Hospitality press is full of stories on the growing popularity of mobile keys and the apps that support them. Much of the publicity leads hoteliers to believe that all their guests need is a mobile phone or wristband to do everything from unlocking guestroom doors to ordering cocktails by the pool. Surrounded by media pressure, many hoteliers today are mystified about how - or even if - they should commit the resources to develop mobile key guest access services for their properties.
The major chains make this decision for franchisees, but not for independents. Chains already use mobile apps to drive loyalty programs and promote amenities and services. Smaller properties will soon be able to follow suit. This paper offers guidelines on how operators can make an informed mobile access decision and intelligent implementation plan.
Today, the mobile access decision process is being driven by brand announcements of multi-million dollar mobile enhancements to their loyalty programs. Mobile app functionality can provide a spectrum of benefits to guests and operators that includes:
- Direct mobile property/chain booking
- Mobile loyalty point tracking and rewards
- A property management system (PMS) interface that enables remote check-in/check-out
- A menu of revenue-add amenities and marketing opportunities
- Secure mobile room key delivery.
For independent operators these functions are usually provided by application development specialists, often referred to as "integrators." These third party integrator/developers build the communication bridge between a hotel's loyalty database app, the property PMS and the guestroom mobile access key provider.
Evaluate Your Mobile Access Readiness
Most chain operators have franchisee support for mobile key implementation. Independents, however, have the freedom to make their own informed business decision about the need for mobile access. That freedom starts with deciding if mobile access is a good idea for their property, and if so, is their property ready.