4 Steps to Choosing the Right Mobile App for Your Hotel

Discover top lessons from Hotel Tech Report’s The Ultimate Guide to Guest Mobile Apps for Hotels: 2021 Edition.

Just about every hotelier has considered implementing a mobile app at some point in 2020. With demand for contactless service and mobile capabilities on the rise, it’s no longer a question whether or not hotel mobile apps are a standard of the industry. It’s now a question of how quickly and effectively hotels can implement them to modernize the guest experience and meet new guest needs.

Yet the process of selecting and implementing an app can be a huge task—and many hoteliers are worried they simply don’t have the time or the budget to invest right now. That’s why INTELITY sponsored Hotel Tech Report’s The Ultimate Guide to Guest Mobile Apps for Hotels: 2021 Edition, which leads hoteliers through the process as easily as possible—while at the same time ensuring you’re prepared to make the right decision for your property. Here are the four key steps outlined in the guide:

1. Understand the key benefits of a hotel guest app and how the market is evolving.

Before investing your time and money into the buying process, it’s important to build a foundation of knowledge about what types of apps are currently on the market, their primary benefits, how they work, and how experts see the technology evolving over the next decade.

During this step, you’ll discover why an app is a key competitive advantage, the myriad ways it can help your property drive revenue, and why it’s become a critical communication touchpoint for guests—especially during COVID. It may sound trite, but it’s true: as you dive deeper into the process, the stronger your foundation of knowledge, the better for your decision-making.

2. Establish the specific needs of your property: what features and integrations are most important to you?

Once you have a baseline of knowledge, it’s time to drill down into the details. Does your property need a web app or a traditional mobile app? Both? Is mobile check-in important or are you focused on in-room dining revenue? In the last ten years, there’s been an explosion of innovation within the mobile app space, and there are now countless features to track. But not all of them will be relevant to what your property needs.

Beyond features lie areas like security and compliance, which can be difficult to understand at first glance, but have far-reaching implications for the success of a deployment. Then come integrations. If overlooked or not vetted properly, an app’s integrations (or lack thereof) can lead to disaster. If it won’t work with your current tech stack—your PMS, POS, lock vendor, and more—you’ll end up with siloed information and disparate systems, a scenario where your tech investment delivers more problems than help.

All of these factors are why it’s necessary to start a list early on of what’s essential to you and select your top two or three vendors with that list in mind. Many companies list features on their website or in their content and tools like Hotel Tech Report make it easy to see which vendors can deliver on the areas you deem most important. Take advantage of every opportunity to ensure you’re not wasting time or money on a product that can’t deliver what you need.

3. Put a process in place for evaluating vendors and comparing products.

Armed with the knowledge of what’s most important to your team and your property, it’s time to evaluate vendors and products. Of course, the features and integrations you’ve isolated in step two should come into play first: can the product truly provide the functionality you need?

Once you sort out your product questions, it’s time to vet the vendor. The more you ask up front, the more likely you are to find the best vendor partner for you. Here are just a few of the topics you may want to cover: cost, implementation timelines, business stability, customer support, commitment to innovation, and more. In many ways, these factors can be just as important as the product itself.

With a full picture of exactly what you’re getting into when it comes to both the product and the vendor, you can create an in-depth comparison and weigh exactly who meets your needs best.

4. Set implementation, ROI, and performance goals to track value after the contract is signed.

Plenty of properties and brands stop there. You have everything you need to make a decision, right? But your app’s ultimate potential relies on more than just picking the right product: it requires a strong implementation and rollout plan. Plan how you’ll train your team, introduce guests to the technology, and set tangible goals to measure success.

By taking this extra step, you’re setting yourself on the path to realize all the benefits that make apps so popular today: increased guest satisfaction, revenue, and cost savings.

Ready to get started on these steps? ReadThe Ultimate Guide to Guest Mobile Apps for Hotels: 2021 Edition, available now!

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