By: Meghan Veroneau, Marketing Coordinator, Oracle Hospitality Retail
As consumers, we’ve all stayed in a hotel and thumbed through the “guest welcome kit,” which has traditionally included all of the information about the property. Have you thought about moving this experience to a tablet device?
In the past we’ve discussed whether your hotel should have a mobile website or a mobile app. The Nielsen Cross-Platform Report for 2014 showed that tablet users spend 81% of their media time on mobile apps, versus only 19% of time on websites.
In addition to users spending more time on mobile apps, we’re noticing more hoteliers providing an in-room tablet for the guests to use during their stay.
The tablets that are provided in-room aren’t the standard tablet off the shelf. These tablets have custom apps that take place of the traditional “guest welcome kit.” While purchasing tablets and creating a custom app is a big initial investment for properties, think of the long-term return on investment. Ultimately, as a hotelier you want to know, “What’s in it for the property?” but you also need to consider what this experience will add to the overall guest experience.
Powerful Upselling Tool In addition to providing key hotel information, the revenue driving feature for hotels, is the ability for guests to place room-service orders directly from the tablet, without ever having to pick up the phone. In fact, hotels that currently have a custom app have reported a 41% increase in room service revenue per occupied room. This is largely due to the fact that you can tailor an app to make suggestions after a guest selects a menu option. For example, the guest wants to order a burger, after putting the burger in their cart they’ll see a suggestion to add seasonal fruits or a Pepsi to that order.
Streamline Room Service/Housekeeping Needs In addition to up-selling when a guest is ordering room service, a custom app allows the property to streamline the process for guest needs. Once a guest places an order for either room service or housekeeping, the guest can track the status through the app.
Translations Have a large international guest base? Translation issues disappear when the guests are using the app. Guests can select their native language, and proceed to review all information in that custom language. For example, the guest can change the language setting to Spanish, and on the back-end the request still comes through in English. This removes a language barrier and provides an easy communication tool with International Guests.
Real-Time Analytics You can see what the guest is doing, where they’re going, and automatically send re-targeting and up-sellmessages at the bottom of your app. For example, if you see the guest continually looking at the Deep Tissue Massage Spa offering, but not booking, you can push them a promotional message regarding that service.
Book Amenities Let’s face it; we’re in the day-and-age, where people prefer to send messages through mobile devices over talking on the phone. With a custom in-room tablet, guests can book hotel amenities at their own convenience. Not to mention, they can book amenities after hours. Take for example, the traveler that arrives at 9:30pm Thursday night, but wants to see what tee times are open Friday morning; the guest can jump on the in-room tablet and reserve a tee time, even though the golf pro shop is no longer open.
Order Room Service We’re all visual people; look at the rise of Pinterest and Instagram. With an app, you can provide pictures of your menu options to the guests. They can easily peruse the menu, put things in their order queue, and place their order. The guest then can have the ability to track the order until it is delivered to their room.
Additional Hotel Services With a custom app, guests can rely less on calling the front desk or housekeeping for any needs during their stay. An app has the functionality for the guest to check any messages they may have from the hotel. Guests can also request extra pillows, a late check-out or even a wake-up call, all without ever calling housekeeping or the front desk; freeing up time for those associates to provide a better guest experience.
All of the benefits listed above, for both the property and the guest, lead to an improved and more customized guest experience. As hotels have figured out, guests are not one-size fits all, and many have different preferences. A custom app pushes the unique custom experience even further and allows the property to cater to the different guest needs, with little additional effort beyond the initial investment in a custom app.