Jan 4, 2018
by Alexei Falco

How to make an app for a hotel that would stand out

Hospitality is one of those industries that has always been around and will be there no matter what. Not only in Dubai, but all over the world as well. It is big, it is popular and as a result, it is incredibly demanding.

No wonder hotels are doing their best to gain competitive advantage and thus they are shifting towards modern technologies in order to address the changing consumer behavior trends.

We have spoken a lot about the importance of mobile application for the business in the modern Middle East region, and same applies for the hospitality industry.

Nowadays, it is becoming a common practice that a hotel (or a hotel chain) has its own app that makes their client’s stay more smooth and enjoyable.

But it's not really often such apps manage to reach their business goals and are really being used.

So what makes a hotel app successful? Let’s have a look.

App for a hotel: how to improve your guests’ stay.

Communicate and always be in touch

Communication is the most essential thing in hotel-guest relationship so make sure your guests can always reach you. Implement a chat bot in the app, enable push notifications and ensure guests can always get in touch with the hotel representatives.

Furthermore, you can and you should add an option of calling a front desk with one click: this will allow you to immediately get back to the clients and hence greatly increase the satisfaction level among guests.

You may also want to implement the rating system in the app so the guest can rate the location, the hotel facilities and the overall experience during the stay. For you this will mean instant feedback and for the guests this will represent an interaction with the brand, which is always perceived favourably.

There are also a number of extremely useful yet simple communication features, that benefit your app a lot, making them ‘must have’:

  • Social media integration

Not only can you simplify users’ LogIn\SignUp, but also, more importantly, you will have an opportunity to use the data that comes along with it: now you can customize your offer to the users based on their behaviour, places they usually visit, or brands they are interested in, as well as let them know that some of their friends are staying in the same hotel.

  • News section screen, FAQ

That is so simple, but still some apps miss that feature, so the users have to go to the hotels website for information, should they need any assistance.

  • Geofenced messages

Inform your guests about events, discounts, offerings when they approach your location. This feature is very customizable. For example, you can tie up a trigger for notifications that works when your customer approaches their favorite or most visited locations. You can also inform them about a special offer at the right time, when they are passing by your location.

Enhance the overall experience

Think of all the things that guests encounter and then think about how to make them better. The most basic examples are:

· An option of booking via the app

Аnd it should be done with quality visual impressions, facility description and contact details. The first interaction between a guest and a hotel usually takes place during the reservation process, so it’s important to make the booking interface and payment procedure as smooth as possible.

And we are not talking only about the room booking: let your customers book a table in your restaurant (and let them choose one), give them an opportunity to book a spa treatment or some sport activities before arrival or during their stay.

· Food delivery and housekeeping via the app

This can result in cost savings (otherwise spent on the personnel and time management), as well as enhanced experience for your guests.

An added value could be the estimation of the time required for a certain service to be delivered: similar to the concept of Uber or Deliveroo, the location of the driver / service delivery can be tracked and ETA can be suggested.

·Remote control and access to the room via the app

With the development of technologies, and IoT growing popularity, you may consider to use advanced features of modern mobile devices, making your app serve as key for a room, or even allow your guests to control lighting, windows, TV and other room elements remotely.

· Map and navigation

You can easily enhance the experience of your visitors (especially those not familiar with the destination) by offering pre-defined routes from the hotel around the city, segregated by interest (shopping, entertainment, running, cycling, sightseeing, etc).

All the things that can be made easier should be made easier. Give your guests a few options instead of one! Even though some people may enjoy coming down to the front desk and personally asking for housekeeping or recommendations on room service, others would rather request certain things from the comfort of their rooms and they should be able to do so!

Receive feedback and learn how to improve

With an app you can see how your users behave, how they rate your staff and your establishment and thus you can understand the areas for improvement.

You can implement surveys and polls and offer incentives for filling up these surveys – which would be beneficial for both you and the guests.

In addition, some of the hotels even use VR or AR to offer a completely unique user experience – but it’s up to you what will be in your app.

In conclusion, here are some valuable general things to remember:

· Hotels are not the same so the app features should depend on the hotel type. For example, guests staying at the high-end luxury properties will have different expectations from those of guests who are staying at lifestyle 4-Star hotels.

· Focus on your guests: what should be done to make their stay more comfortable? For example, provide online access to ordering a taxi, receiving a wake-up call, reserving a table at a restaurant, booking a conference room.

· Don’t forget about UX (user experience): your app should be responsive and fast. Determine a number of features that are the main. And make sure that main features are easy to find and to use. The app should be done to make user’s life easier, avoid overwhelming it.

Launching the app is not the finishing move, it is first step on the way of digital transformation.

Once you have developed an app, it should always be getting better.

Develop it further based on the feedback you get from the users, let it grow and transform meeting constantly changing users needs and expectations, and it will be a great tool to help you cut costs, increase profit,improve your guest stay, and get marketing advantages your company deserves.

Travelling is being made more accessible in the last decades, global travel & tourism figures have been on the increase. We are all extremely dependant on technology in our everyday lives, and this, among other factors is largely shaping the global consumer behaviour trends of the traveller base.

Increasing digital presence of your brand is hence becoming less of an add-on feature, but a necessary element to sustain in the competitive hospitality environment.

Middle East, and especially UAE is growing digitally - it’s a fact.

The middle East hotels are hosting guests from all over the world, and this guests are expecting the best from the hotels hospitality. The quality of this app, its usability and usage however can become the brand’s USP - if made well.

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