In my prior post I discussed a few applications of social media in the hospitality industry. The post ended with an infographic illustration of this topic which provided, amongst other points, some important statistics associated with mobile use, which includes:
- By 2015 9 out of 10 consumers will have mobile phones
- 29% of travelers have found flight plans via mobile apps
- 30% of travelers have found hotel deals via mobile apps
- 85% of travelers use their smartphones while they travel
- 46% of travelers check into a location while on vacation using apps such as Facebook and Foursquare.
- Top Five Uses of smartphones while traveling include: taking pictures, using maps, searching for restaurants, searching for activities and/or attractions and checking in prior to flying.
There is no denying that mobile applications are all the trend these days, especially when it comes to ways for companies to better interact directly with their target consumers, something which is key in the hospitality industry. Similar to social media, the hospitality has taken to and fully embraced the power of mobile apps as yet another tool to socialize directly with and learn from their target consumers. While this holds true to all the subsectors in this industry, the focus for this post will be around the hotel and restaurant subsectors.
When it comes to the hotel industry, most if not all of the major chains have their own mobile apps which allow the consumers to perform various tasks, such as search for rates, booking, communicating with the hotels, etc. The benefits of having mobile apps are clear, and include:
- Appealing more to Gen Y or time conscious travelers (e.g. business travlers), who prefer self-service. Mobile apps give these demographics the ability to do so, such as bypassing the front desk to access the room faster.
- Catering to the Instant gratification generation – Apps such as “i-Guest have the capacity to transact a plethora of services, including mobile check-in/check-out, housekeeping requests, room service ordering, requesting valet parking or scheduling spa or restaurant reservations — all possible without the guest having to chat on the phone or being inconvenienced by needing to visit the front desk” (Davidson).
- Greater staff efficiency through mobile technology – As Chris Davidson suggests in his article in the Hotel Business Review “As guests are becoming more autonomous during their stay by leveraging the use of their mobile devices, hoteliers can also deploy personnel much more efficiently. With fewer guest-staff interactions needed, hotel employees can be more attentive to tasks at hand, and remain more customer focused, while requiring fewer workers to be on the job at any given time” (Davidson). Another benefit, according to Davidson is that “Hoteliers can also benefit greatly from apps that include a housekeeping scheduling function, which can help prevent frustrating guests with maid service at inconvenient times, ensuring guest satisfaction. (Davidson)”
- Using Mobile apps to strengthen brand awareness and brand loyalty – Davidson provides yet another example in which the apps help contributing to the overall brand. “Modern-design hotels use apps in lieu of compendia, providing a comprehensive collection of relevant hotel information that is both browseable at the guests’ convenience and interactive, not to mention sleek. There is practically no limit to the amount of information a hotel can put into such a digital compendium — plus unlimited images that highlight revenue-generating aspects of the property — allowing the hotel to communicate its offerings in a non-static way that is easily digestible and completely thorough. (Davidson).”
The two following YouTube videos below provide some additional insights into why mobile apps are important and how hotels are making use of these apps:
For Restaurants, the available apps seem to be endless. Many of them circle around giving the users the ability to find restaurants near their location, provide comments / reviews on the restaurants and the food they just had, share pictures, etc.
The Daily Meal (thedailymeal.com) provides a slide show of the leading 22 restaurant apps:
Of those, some of the well-know ones might include Zagat, Urbanspoon and Yelp, which according to an article from Stephanie Crawford, ranked as some of the top 5 restaurant apps (http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/destinations/travel-guide/tips/5-phone-apps-for-finding-restaurants.htm#page=1)
Other apps, such as Chownow, allow for online ordering and helps connect between consumers and various online content, such as a restaurant’s menu, Facebook page and website. Apps such as Tabbedout give consumers the ability to “open a tab”, pay and “close the tab” by entering credit card information. Other apps such as Diner Connection let consumers sign in and let’s them know when their table is ready (Shih, 2012).
The following YouTube further illustrates the use and importance of mobile apps when it comes to the restaurant subsector:
So, when it comes to the hospitality and mobile apps, you can see, the possibilities are endless. And, from the nature of the industry, personally, I feel that these are all considered social in nature. After all, being social is the basis of the hospitality industry, and the source of its revenue.
As always, I will leave you with a few infographics that further illustrate the importance and use of mobile apps in this amazing industry:
Davidson, C. (n.d.). Hospitality is on the Move – How Mobile Apps are Empowering Guests and Boosting Hotels Bottom Lines, by Chris Davidson. HotelExecutivecom Daily Headlines. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from http://hotelexecutive.com/business_review/3313/hospitality-is-on-the-move-how-mobile-apps-are-empowering-guests-and-boosting-hotels-bottom-lines
Shih, S. (2012). 6 Mobile Apps Restaurant Owners Should Know About. 6 Mobile Apps Restaurant Owners Should Know About. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from http://blog.softwareadvice.com/articles/retail/6-mobile-restaurant-apps-1080812/