Hospitality Industry and Mobile Apps
We see apps everywhere and for everything. No matter what service or product, you will have access to it via an app on your mobile. There are some industries which are early adopters of tech as compared to others. Hospitality seems to have favored apps for different functions. Whether it’s hotels, restaurants, resorts, theme parks or even cruise liners apps have gone mainstream in the industry.
The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within service industry that includes lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry. We can find various implementations of the apps in hotels which have been intended to make the guest experience more rewarding. From apps which let the guests check in, to request or pay for facilities to open and lock their rooms to more, the technology and the apps are making hospitality industry find newer ways to delight their customers. The hospitality industry is just not developing apps for the mobile phones but all form of technology right from tablets to wristwatches and even more touch enabled surfaces.
Let’s look at some of the innovative use of apps by hospitality industry: –
1. iPad apps
Besides having their own apps developed for iPad, the hotels have taken to this gadget for multiple uses. From concierge to checkouts to billing and even guest management. Restaurant table serving and order taking is also the use case for this amazing gadgets and to facilitate all these interactions, there are custom designed apps which help the hotel staff or guests to carry on certain tasks. Such kind of multiple featured restaurant mobile apps have added a whole new level of interactivity and increased overall productivity for the restaurants and hotels. The savings in costs and efforts are worth the investment in apps besides providing a new experience to the customers and guests. There is a good write-up on how iPad is used in the hospitality industry with different case scenarios.
2. Wrist watch apps
Even though the wrist watches are a newer category of the gadgets and the ecosystem is not yet developed, the hospitality industry has already taken to develop apps for them. A lot of hotels already provide some unique experiences for this wrist-worn gadget.
The SPG app for Apple watch allows the guests to unlock their hotel doors allowing keyless entry besides experiencing a host of other services offered by the hotel right from accessing details of check-in and checkout, checking their Starpoints balance and even getting notifications about arrivals or parking to even contacting the hotel with questions. There are apps optimized for even Android wear-optimized to use the smaller screen enhancing the overall user experience. From apps like Foursquare to HotelTonight to Priceline, everyone has tried providing unique value addition by designing apps and features for Android wear. Also, Google Now does a great job at helping people with hospitality needs like hotel check-ins, showing nearby attractions and more.
Mobile phones are the most used gadgets around the world and if apps are developed for these devices, the uptake ratio would be higher driving more sales. The hospitality industry has understood this simple concept really well and has made several attempts at making the best use of the technology for themselves and for their guests. The innovation has been quite visible from both the staff and the guests/customer end. Hotels employ custom made solutions like ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access to manage their bookings and hotel stays from start to finish in the most seamless way possible.
The solutions are used by a lot of hotels everywhere around the world and the latest hotel to adopt this technology is Radisson Red. With custom made solutions specifically designed for them, the hotels can integrate an experience in their apps and provide smarter solutions to their guests. Airbnb which is a world famous hospitality website also has features developed for Apple watch.
Some hotels even have separate sections listing all the apps available for different platforms. Almost all major hotels around the world have apps providing options like booking a room, to checking in and more while they are staying at the hotel. Hotel aggregator apps which help find the cheapest rooms among different hotels are some of the most popular apps that have been downloaded from both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Some of the compelling reasons and advantages of why a restaurant should have an app are listed here and a great list of apps that everyone should download can be found here.
The apps are just not limited to hotels and restaurants but have been very creatively used by theme parks too. The theme park apps will have navigation and maps, real-time wait timings for every ride, ability to purchase tickets, view and decide restaurant menus, search, sort and filter activities by body type, discover official content from the studios behind the theme park (Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom park) and pretty much act just the device which enables guests to carry on a lot of tasks instead of carrying several things with them and saving their time making their experience even more enjoyable.
There are even companies helping such theme parks to develop apps with custom SAAS based solutions. Furthermore, even the commercial hospitality industry like Airbnb or community-based ones like Couchsurfing and more have their apps too. There’s a good comparison of all of these hospitality exchange programs detailing their features and more.
Even Cruise companies have jumped on the app bandwagon by offering a comfortable experience of booking tickets, offering ship info, cruise ship tracker, finding facilities on the ship, getting discounts or even finding other cruise mates to meet and socialize. Apps like Shipmate, Royal Caribbean and more help you make your cruise experience even better and hassle-free.
There have been numerous instances where the apps have been transformative and helped hotels provide a special experience to their guests, increase their business and carve a niche for themselves while helping their bottom line. The technology in terms of both hardware and software with some unique features like GPS, calling, camera and more available in just 1 device really help the industry achieve some great things which were never possible on a desktop website. The apps have made a lot of scenarios like direct call, push updates and location based alerts possible just because the device supports a lot of sensors and is always accessible.
Also, the apps are not limited to just the most common tech gadgets but also have expanded to IoT (Internet of Things) enabled gadgets and connected devices.
The hospitality industry is proving to be a great testbed for future technologies that might become mainstream later or may cease to exist depending on the feedback and their usefulness. A taste of it can be felt where a lot of technologies have been used in tandem to create unique experiences for hotel guests. There are multiple benefits to the hotels by investing in such digital experiences as digital tracking and interactivity enable better customer profiling. It also allows for customized services for each customer and thus earning their loyalties. Hotels also get noticed as modern and innovative, and guests are more likely to share their experience with their friends.
All of these initiatives, irrespective of the software, hardware, technologies used in the background have been possible because they have app ecosystem which works across this multiple device and technologies seamlessly. As such, the hospitality industry is setting newer benchmarks for the other industries to follow with the use of technology and the amazing apps that they are using.
Most other industries using mobile apps and technology will just be taking a cue from the hospitality industry and follow the trends that have been set by the hotels and the industry in general. The hospitality industry is proving to be the best fit to test these newer experiences because the usage data will be high considering the higher number of interactions with newer systems and technology by the guests. Apps enable all these futuristic interactions and irrespective of the technology, OS, software or even devices the industry is setting newer standards for efficient use of apps.
Profit Apps is a full-service application development company focused on delivering top digital solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises by meticulously creating their unique digital footprint. We believe that each business deserves its complementary application, one which will aid in maximizing the potential benefits of brand customization and mobile marketing.