Reading this article on Skift about the evolution of mobiles into room keys, it got us thinking about how we have seen apps develop over recent years and the impact it has had on guests behaviour. This article has identified a key dilemma for hotels, guest want the flexibility and ease of use that technology and apps give us, but they also want the personal interactions, especially with higher end hotels.
As is noted in the article, groups like Hilton and Marriott are investing large sums to develop technology that makes it easier for a guest in the build-up to and during their stay. As the technology develops the benefits for guests will only increase, however, will it create genuine engagement and build long term relationships?
We now see individual apps as just one part of the overall guest engagement and the next generation of hotel technology will be the introduction of technology platforms, using the cloud and allowing hotels to deliver their digital guest experience through one platform that can include registration, door entry, room service, in-room controls, voice activation and much more, ultimately delivering an enhanced guest experience throughout their stay.
The benefits for the guests will be considerable giving them access to all services including booking, registration, room access, controlling the room environment, room service and much more, making their stay easier, allowing them greater control over their stay and giving them direct communications with the hotel.
For the hotel it will not only improve the efficiency by reducing the reliance on staff but will increase the engagement with guests, building long term relationships and potentially increasing the average value of each stay. In addition, the cost and time taken to get an app live will be reduced without the need to develop a bespoke platform.
Whilst App will still be a significant part of the next stage of the technological evolution, delivering the right platforms to allow the apps to function and integrate with other systems will be the key to the success of technology strategies.
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