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Booking Engine

Those in the hospitality industry are well aware of the importance of time. Any unoccupied rooms mean losses – even if it is for one or two nights. While there are a host of marketing strategies to try to compensate for the loss, the fact is, time sensitivity is critical to the business. In the hotel business, there is a need to ensure that each and every room is occupied daily. That is where technology plays a major role, with hotel apps trending as one of the most effective ways to increase occupancy.

While having a good hotel booking software is paramount, having it connected with your hotel app will definitely lead to an increase in hotel bookings. With last-minute bookings becoming commonplace, to have a well-designed hotel app will be an asset.

makes a hotel app successful

Customised for all types of property:

Whether you run a small B&B or a large luxury hotel, an app can be customised to suit any type of property, with your niche market in mind. So whether you cater to business travellers or to family visitors the app design can be tweaked to suit your targeted audience.

Improve room saleability:

Recent occupancy statistics in the US indicate almost one in four rooms remain unoccupied. Having an app that caters to last minute bookings the probability of having all of the rooms sold at lower prices becomes much higher.

Improve customer satisfaction:

One of the most common issues with most guests that book at the last minute, is they may not find a room to their satisfaction. This is where the hotel has an opportunity, to improve customer satisfaction even if the guest is not part of your targeted audience. By improving the customer experience at the hotel, there always is the chance of getting a positive review. This can help to attract future customers.

Apps benefit both the hotel and the guests:

It is a win-win for both parties, with apps beneficial both for guests and the hotel. Whenever a traveller needs to make a last minute trip and does not have any hotel booking, this app will help him to make a quick booking. So whether he is looking for the nearest hotel or a luxury hotel suited for business travellers, the app will help him to find what he is looking for. The app offers the guest to choose a hotel of their choice and the option to check in online any part of the day or night. The hotel has an unsold room booked so it benefits the hotel as well.

Smartphone apps are growing in popularity with the hospitality industry is one area where they can have a tremendous impact. Having an app that is connected with your hotel PMS will ensure that any unoccupied rooms are booked. Having the app synced and in real time with the software will ensure guests have all the latest information and rates. This includes any special discounts or deals available for last minute guests.

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Booking Engine

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.

mobile-apps

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.

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