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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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.