By Magnus Friberg CEO, Zaplox
What makes a great guest experience?
This is a question that remains top of mind for every hotelier, and the question which drives much of the evolution within our industry. As the guest journey continues to evolve in terms of touchpoints and expectations, hoteliers are expected to adapt and curate a unique and continuously guest-centric experience. While the defining factors of an ideal guest experience may vary based on whom you ask, there are a few indisputable realizations, one of which is this: Hotels must offer a frictionless guest experience, and much of that experience is rooted in mobile.
Research shows that today, nearly half of the world’s population uses a smartphone and almost half of smartphone users spend more than 5 Hours a day on their mobile device. Digital payment and wallet apps are gaining popularity in emerging markets. With this continued surge in mobile use, it’s no surprise that mobile devices have become our most important travel accessory. In fact, according to Travelport Digital, 84% of travel brands intend to increase their investment in mobile this year, and 51% of travelers expect to communicate with travel brands via messaging or text, and 33% via social.
With this in mind, it’s more important than ever before for hotels to ensure each guest can interact with their property using their mobile device. After all, mobile devices now control much of the primary, preferred communication pathways to current and prospective guests. In order to capitalize on this demand, hoteliers must consider the entire mobile guest journey — which means a hotel’s mobile experience needs to extend beyond check-in, check-out, and mobile keys.
Mobile Apps Tap Into the Pre-Travel/Pre-Arrival Segment
The modern traveler is highly active on mobile, in shorter bursts (less time spent on site), which means they are looking to make informed decisions faster than ever before. In the past year, conversion rates have grown 88% on mobile travel sites. Hotels have an opportunity to capitalize on this demand. By leveraging an advanced mobile app, hotels can stay connected with past guests, inviting them to book their next stay even before they leave the property. Incentives and promotions based on guest data and preferences drive not only loyalty and satisfaction but also revenue opportunities. With this segment of the mobile journey, hotels can target and appeal to prospective guests and incite excitement for an upcoming trip with curated pre-arrival messages and offers.
More Touchpoints = More Opportunity to Connect With Your Guest
The modern guest expects a fully integrated, connected experience, with the primary touchpoints of their stay available at the touch of a finger through their mobile device or tablet. In fact, reports show that travelers consider their smartphones to be the single most indispensable item they carry with them when they travel, ahead of their toothbrush, deodorant, and driver’s license. A hotel’s subsequent mobile guest journey should be revenue-generating, entirely seamless and user-friendly, offering mobile reservations, pre-arrival messages, concierge access, mobile keys, check-in/out, upgrade prompts, specialized offers and more.
With the inclusion of these features and mobile chat, self-service kiosks and mobile payments, hotels not only tap into their guests’ demand for a connected travel experience but also empower frontline staff to deliver better guest service. As guests have the power to choose a low or high touch experience, hotel employees have the power to dedicate attention to guests who crave that high-touch connection. After all, smarter service means better service; when guests can access all services from their mobile, staff is freed up to engage with guests in a more personalized way. And reduced front desk lines? That’s a win for both hotels and guests, every time.
Better Allocate Your Marketing Dollars
The increase in mobile engagement translates to a rise in potential connections with guests. Hoteliers can leverage these segments of the mobile guest journey to gather actionable insights, curate specialized marketing campaigns and communications, forge a personalized relationship, and monitor guest feedback. In an industry defined by relationships and experience, the ability to connect with guest in a unique manner is what separates a one-time guest from a long-term, satisfied customer.
To neglect the mobile journey is no different than rolling out a marketing campaign with a blindfold on. Leveraging guest data throughout the guest stay ensures hotel marketing dollars are being well spent. With a mobile-forward solution driving the operational model, hotels can create revenue- generating, personalized offers that are customizable to fit various guest segments.
The mobile experience is imperative in the eyes of the modern guest, which means an integrated, mobile-optimized solution should be at the forefront of every hotel's strategy. With the inclusion of mobile technology, hotels can receive a sought-after, modern facelift across the pre-arrival, on-property and post-stay journey that matter most. Let Zaplox provide your guests with the best possible convenience during their stay, no matter the size of your hotel or hotel chain.