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.


Library Archives

 
Adam Gillespie

Hotels are in a unique position as a service based industry is as hotel owners are constantly replacing their technology on property. There are many advantages in how hotel technology can conform to Moore's law of advancement without experiencing a large capital expenditure every couple of years. As new technology incorporates the ability to display advertising targeted to the guest, all decision makers within the hospitality industry should be focused on the advertising revenue that is possible, along with considering options for the guest to be able to use these services easily before, during, and after their stay. READ MORE

Terence Ronson

Change and the mind-boggling speed at which it has shaped every aspect of our lives has been no more apparent than in our growing dependence on mobility. Just look around you – people clutching at their mobile devices as if their life depended on it. And maybe it does! Interestingly too, our dependence with mobility has been almost instant, a seemingly uncanny natural evolution. Almost every industry has been touched by what it offers, whether it be efficiency in the way we do things, or accessibility to data, however you define that to be. This article explores how this most disruptive technology has helped transform not only the hotel itself, but almost single handedly, every aspect of the guest experience. READ MORE

Tim Peter

You might hear some people suggest that we're entering the year of mobile, but that's not quite right. Yes, mobile has promised gains for the last few years, but are you ready to achieve these breakthroughs for your property. Despite massive increases in mobile traffic, there are a major reasons why so many hotels are not generating significant increases in reservations and revenue. Why is that? What's holding mobile bookings back? And, more importantly, in an era when mobile has come to the fore and driving direct revenues has taken center stage, what can you do to increase bookings on mobile for your properties? READ MORE

Scott Schaedle

The digital era has ushered in a wave of innovations forever changing the way hoteliers do business, and technology is now of paramount importance to any forward-thinking hotel executive. Even the most reluctant of properties must confront how to make way for a more connected guest experience or risk getting left behind. In fact, according to the 2018 Hotel Technology Study, 62.1 percent of hotels want to increase spending on mobility technology in the next two years. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons exemplify one such mobile technology hoteliers need to include in their 2019 budgets. READ MORE

Court Williams

The hospitality industry is changing, and is rapidly becoming super high-tech. While we can argue that this benefits guests-and it certainly benefits vendors-how much is it taking away from the guest's personal experience? Theoretically, it should improve the customer experience, particularly through the use of data collected by using the various technologies. Let's look at how guests actually feel, especially the Baby Boomers who look set to remain the most prolific travelers for the next two to three years, and see if the numbers support the theory that technology has improved the hospitality experience. READ MORE

Scott Watson

In the front of house, today's guests are more connected than ever, equipped with the ability to wield a smartphone like a magic wand from check-in to check-out. Meanwhile, staff members should be using the same mobile connectivity to accelerate operations for the back of house. This article explores the critical link between enhanced customization and rising customer expectations, as well as the needs for brands to "mobilize" their back-office accounting practices to bring staff members (at every level) up to speed and leverage "big data" to keep up with the industry's ever changing needs. READ MORE

David Millili

Hotels continue to feel the effects of the sharing economy, so much so that chains, such as Marriott, are moving into the alternative accommodations sector. However, most properties have natural assets they can harness to deliver on what guests want without reinventing their model. To recoup revenue sometimes lost to sharing sites, hotels must boost their value proposition. This includes assessing how and when travelers want technology, leveraging staff in the right way and at the ideal times, and using data to their advantage in creating guest relationships that alternative accommodations simply cannot. Fortunately, every tactic will improve the overall guest experience, boosting a hotel's overall ability to serve the modern traveler. READ MORE

Mattias Berglund

The messaging inbox of a mobile device is truly unique and it should be considered a privilege for an enterprise to be granted access to this sacred place. Moreover, the mobile phone and therefore the messaging inbox has a market penetration of close to 100% in the United States. End users read, or at least 94% of them, will read what is sent to their messaging inbox. That is extremely powerful and no other technology or marketing channel can even get close to these numbers. Furthermore, Rich Communication Services or RCS is an evolution path and a merger of mobile communication channels such as SMS and MMS. READ MORE

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.