All the way back in episode 3 of the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast, we discussed the need for a hotel mobile app. Four years on, the technology has still not been widely adopted beyond the major flags. In this episode, we discuss the myths and challenges regarding mobile apps for hotels and give tangible reasons why every property needs to be making the leap right now.
Stat of the week
- People Spent 90% of Their Mobile Time Using Apps in 2019 (MobiLoud)
- People don’t want to download a mobile app
FALSE. With today’s devices, it’s easier for a guest to download an app than it is to visit a website. Once an app is installed, it’s also much easier to perform routine tasks. According to Fuel’s own data prior to COVID, when properly promoted, more than 50% of guests were downloading the app and more than 25% of all check-ins were performed via the app.
- Mobile apps only work if you’re part of a large chain
FALSE. We have plenty of data that disproves this theory. We have independent properties that are seeing 300+ downloads per week. More importantly, they are driving thousands of dollars in incremental revenue.
- Guests would prefer to use a kiosk
FALSE. In our recent Consumer Sentiment Study, touch screen kiosks were bottom of the list of methods for checking in. For people under 30, mobile apps are the preferred method. For everyone else, mobile apps are second, behind the front desk.
- Mobile apps are expensive to develop
FALSE. Just like you don’t build your own booking engine from scratch, smart hoteliers should license mobile app technology in order to benefit from economies of scale. Fuel’s Mobile App and Digital Key products start at just $250/mo.
Why have mobile apps not taken off for independent hotels?
This is a relatively new technology for many properties and there is often internal disagreement about which internal group should take on the responsibility. In our opinion, It falls somewhere between operations and marketing and, while there should be a single person who is accountable, both teams should be heavily involved in the promotion and implementation of the app.
How does a hotel get guests to download their app?
The app promotion has to be front and center. At a minimum, the property should be communicating the value of the app during the following touchpoints:
- A /app page within the site
- Reservation call-center
- Confirmation page of the booking process
- Confirmation email
- Existing pre-arrival messages
- A dedicated pre-arrival email
- Pre-arrival SMS
- On-property signage
- Front desk staff
- Welcome packet
- During-stay message
- Post-stay messaging
Advantages of a mobile app for independent hotels
- Differentiation from the competition
- Compete with the big brands
- Reduced check-in lines and check-in time
- Less staff-guest physical contact
- More opportunities to communicate 1:1 with the guest in real-time
- More incremental revenue through up-sells/cross-sells
- More on-property amenity utilization
- Better guest-initiated communication
- Increased guest satisfaction
- More guest data collection
BONUS: Increased guest loyalty and more direct bookings!
Features your mobile app should have in 2020
- Contactless or reduced-contact check-in
- Digital key
- Flexible content management system
- Real-time updates
- Booking Engine
- Room upgrades
- Additional services promotions
- Push notifications
- Guest-initiated requests
- Late checkout/extended stay promotions
If you’re looking for a mobile app for your hotel, request a mobile app demo here
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