In many ways, independent hotels have the most to gain from offering a mobile app, as it allows them to leverage technology to compete with larger hotels. We dig into the main benefits.
Full answer to this question published to Quora on 1/12/2016.
Question: How can a mobile app help small hotels?
Answer: There is no reason for a hotel not to have a mobile app.
In many ways, independent hotels have the most to gain from offering a mobile app, as it allows them to leverage technology to compete with larger hotels. Let’s dig into the main benefits:
Branded Experience – A mobile app for small hotels is an extra opportunity to reinforce your hotel’s brand and extend the experience beyond your guests time on property. Fill your app with beautiful images of your hotel, tell the story of your property, and allow your guests to explore your products and services before they even step foot in your hotel. After they checkout, continue the experience by engaging with them further, asking for feedback and offering them discounts on services during future stays.
More Relevant to Current Guest Habits – Today’s guests are used to using their phones for everything from ordering a cab to booking a hotel room. By giving them the extra option to communicate with your staff via their phones, you are making their experience more convenient and relevant to the way they’ve become used to communicating. Not only does this make their lives easier, it also makes your hotel stand out more.
Trackability & Analytics – Unlike with a radio, a telephone or face to face, with a mobile app, you will reduce the margin of error that often takes place when communicating with guests, but also with staff. Because there is increased accountability, you will see fewer dropped requests between different departments. Further, the next time a guests orders room service and calls down to check on their order, your staff will have all of the order information at their fingertips. Finally, by tracking all of your guests orders, you’re able to develop a deeper understanding of their habits and can adjust your operation accordingly.
Increased Revenue – there are several ways to use a mobile app to increase your hotel’s revenue. Firstly, you can take advantage of analytics to better understand your guest and up-sell in a more relevant way. Further, because of their increased convenience, they reduce the barrier for guests to spend money on property-whether it be ordering room service, booking a spa, or scheduling a meeting room. Lastly, many of ALICE’s smaller hotels have used our app to partner with 3rd party spa or food vendors and offer their guests a number of services that had otherwise been impossible due to physical limitations.
Smaller hotels have just as much right to improving the guest and staff experience as larger hotels. Usually budgets have been the barrier, but with the significant reduction in the cost of technology today, this barrier no longer exists. Additionally, while larger hotels may have more budget, smaller hotels can feel the a greater relative impact. Any positives such as incremental revenue, or negatives such as additional staff turnover are that much more impactful when dealing with a smaller property because they mean that much more to the total business bottom line.