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 February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.