New research has found that most hotel apps are not considered useful or essential – meaning guests are less likely to use them or are prone to delete them after downloading.
The research was carried out by L2 Inc, a business intelligence consultancy. It reviewed 311 hotel brand apps before concluding that there is a huge gap in the hotel app experience.
L2 found that very few hotel apps are ranked within the App Store’s list of top travel apps. The review found that most hotel apps were also infrequently updated, with many not updated at all so far this year. Only 14% of the hotel apps reviewed were ranked within the top 1500 of their native categories. More than half of hotel apps – 54% – had not been updated in the last 12 months.
What’s worse news for hotel marketers is that hotels are frequently missing the mark when it comes to offering useful, engaging in-app experiences. The majority of apps were found to only allow users to message their hotel’s concierge or make a reservation.
This means most accommodation providers with an app for their hotel were missing out on more engaging and immersive functionality. 43% of hotel apps miss the grade when it comes to rating as a core app – an app that permits users to carry out one of three core functions; in-stay services, loyalty connections. and booking. A meagre 6% of all hotel apps got it right and enabled app users to do all three.
The overwhelming message from the survey findings is that hotel marketers must do better. The current status quo is that hotel app functionality is basic, with a minimum level of user friendliness built up, with other features overlooked. Even larger brands fail to get it right.
While this may, on the face of it, be disheartening for independent hotel and accommodation providers, it actually points to an opportunity to offer superior mobile app experiences. This by default means offering better guest experiences and, means those competing on smaller budgets can more than match larger chains when it comes to offering mobile users what they want – and expect – from a travel app.
One of the biggest opportunities identified by L2 is for hotel apps to better serve loyal client sand reward that loyalty within the app itself. One industry commenter says the fact so many apps fail to incorporate loyalty rewards is a huge missed opportunity, ““If you look at all the things that hotels have been doing to get more loyalty members and get them to book direct, why aren’t they trying to engage those members through their apps? These are some concerning numbers here.”
What can your hotel do to improve its app experience?
Placing the user front and centre is key to offering an improved hotel all experience. Incorporate as much functionality as possible, going beyond a reservation or message system to allow for other useful, helpful features. Building in loyalty capabilities is non-negotiable if you want to increase guest retention, repeat booking and direct booking. Consider also features such as check in from the app, social media sharing and travel add-on ordering such as excursions, experiences and in-room or in-hotel dining.
Get in touch with the Digital Hotelier team to discuss how our experts can help you take your hotel app to the next level with better capability and more user-friendly functionality.