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 June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.