Where Mobile Apps Fit Into the Guest Research and Buying Process
Exploring How Mobile Apps for Hotels and Resorts Can Fit Into the Guest's Buying and Decision Making Process When Looking for Accommodations
By Tom O'Rourke President & CEO, O'Rourke Hospitality | May 24, 2015
Have you ever wanted to make your travel process easier and less of a headache? After all, you have limited time and want to get things done, as soon as possible. Many travelers feel the same way, and look at ways to streamline their travel research process. This is one of the many reasons Online Travel Agents (OTAs) are so popular; they streamline every part of the buying process, from research to booking. But travelers are ready for the next step in convenience for travel, mobile apps.
Mobile apps have exploded in usage with travelers over the last few years. Mobile apps bring many advantages to travelers, like making the booking process easier and quicker, as well as making their stay more enjoyable by providing everything they need in the palm of their hands, literally.
According to a study by eMarketer, this year will be the tipping point for when more than half of travelers will use mobile devices to do travel research; the only surprise here is that it didn't happen sooner. Mobile bookings also continue to rise on mobile devices. eMarketer predicts that there will be over 41 million mobile travel bookers in 2015. It signals a trend that travelers want convenience.
Inevitably, part of this mobile usage will involve travel-related apps; at the very least, it certainly at least points to travelers willingness to use mobile apps. The big brands have already recognized this, with many of them investing in mobile apps for remote check-in, booking, etc. It is a good sign for independent hoteliers that the big brands are investing so much time, money and resources into providing this technology to guests. Given the trends in mobile usage, they must feel it's a competitive advantage, and I tend to agree.
This is because having a mobile app can create certain perceptions about a particular property. When a guest is in the research phase of the buying process, and he or she learns a property has a mobile app, then certain perceptions begin to form. Perceptions like the property must be technologically advanced or that they must have a great guest experience while on property if they are providing their guests with all the great functionality and convenience that a mobile app brings. It would at least make the property stand out during the research process.
When guests learn about great features provided by the hotel app such as remote check-in and check-out, it is sure to be a competitive advantage for that property. Other features, like being able to view your folio on a daily basis can also be sold as a differentiator among many other property choices. These features provide convenience that every guest is looking for, especially those who value technology and the way it integrates into their stay experience while on property.