Picture the scene: a middle-aged Woman named Carlie is traveling for work, something she does at least once a quarter for her job in sales. Carlie usually arrives in town a day ahead of her big meeting in order to prepare. This time, she got a great deal on her trip and opted to have another day just to unwind away from responsibilities back home. She checks in around noon on a Tuesday and works into the evening, breaking for dinner. Having never been to this town before, she checks online quickly and finds a nearby chain restaurant, unaware that at the back of the hotel is a hotel-run restaurant with better food and similar prices. She misses an experience unique to the area.
The following day, Carlie spends the morning putting the final touches on her presentation, and has the afternoon free. She decides to do some shopping at the mall, and while there decides to get a neck massage from a small pop-up shop, unaware that her hotel has great spa services available. The hospitality industry is missing out on these opportunities due to a lack of marketing and communication–in other words, guest engagement.
Guest engagement is perhaps the most important aspect of Hospitality. According to a recent survey from Gallup, Inc, a fully engaged Guest spent $588 compared to $403 for a disengaged Guest. A difference of $185 per stay. Additionally, a fully engaged Guest is less price sensitive when booking a repeated hotel stay, showing the importance of Guest Engagement for the Hospitality Industry. Engagement also encourages Guest Loyalty and delivers another chance for the guest to share reviews on their experience.
If you look at mobile device use in the industry, Hotels are quite slow to adapt to it, and there are still some big brands who do not have a mobile app. Some of these have mobile apps which are just a glorified website, offering a choppy experience that ultimately deters use by the guest. The primary need is to have an interactive mobile app with two-way communication. In such a demanding industry as hospitality, customer centric mobile apps are necessary to build long lasting customer relationships and, of course, increase revenues. Only enhancing Guest Experience could do this. How do you Enhance Guest Experience?
- Effective communication between Hotel Staff and their Guests.
- Address Service issues before it is too late
- Market onsite Services/Promotions to Guests
The solution to engagement could be just this, a mobile app, which will address these 3 key points. The technology is here to empower mobile apps to proactively interact with guests, deliver information about hotel amenities and services, and offer various platforms where guests can engage with the hotel.
With micro-location based technology, hotels can know the exact location of Guests on the property, allowing them to market location-aware ads to Guests. By pushing a personalized notification to a Guest there is a sense of interaction, which could replace hefty loyalty programs for which Guests have to wait until they accumulate points to see reward. A Smart Phone can evolve into an electronic concierge service, turning hotel apps into sources of revenue.
About the Author
Pankaj Agrawal, Co-Founder & CEO of SmartStay, Inc. SmartStay is a mobile platform, utilizing micro-location based technology called iBeacon to market Services/Promotions to Hotel Guests and to engage them throughout their stay. Please check out http://smartstay.io and reach out to us at [email protected]