How Mobile Apps Improve Guest Experiences and Onsite Events

By Joe Schwinger Chief Executive Officer, MeetingPlay | January 21, 2018

Technology impacts every facet of our lives. From smart devices to mobile apps, we rely on innovative products to provide convenient and valuable services each day. Not surprisingly, the application of technology has made its way into the hotel industry. Technological integration has become an expectation of hotel guests and an opportunity for hotel managers to improve their bottom line. Well-known technological applications such as mobile check-in, smart TVs, enhanced Wi-Fi and mobile room keys are already present in many hotels. However, there are other ways to use technology in hotel settings that are less well known.

There are several cutting-edge technological applications that have the power to elevate a hotel guest's experience. Hotel owners and managers can also us these applications to attract more guests, generate repeat bookings, enhance existing services, and generate new revenue streams.

Proximity Marketing and iBeacon Technology

Ever since Apple released iBeacon, marketers in every industry have been clamoring to capitalize on its applications. The technology itself involves Bluetooth signals sent from a remote beacon or wearable technology in a retail store, conference room, restaurant, or yes, even a hotel. When a connected mobile device with the appropriate app is within range, the beacon sends a push notification featuring a message related to a discount, sale, or service opportunity.

It's targeted marketing on steroids. The recipient is close enough to take immediate action and has already demonstrated an interest in the product or service. The result is a higher return on the marketer's advertising dollar.

Within the hotel industry, the marketing opportunity is even more personal. Hotel event planners are already taking advantage of proximity marketing mobile apps to enhance attendee experiences. Guests of an event receive notifications when they arrive. These alerts can welcome them to the general session, notify them of presentations, and inform them of exhibitor promotions. Event attendees can also receive notifications for networking opportunities when they're near another person who has similar interests, skills, or job title.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.