It’s not surprising to learn that 80% of mobile apps are deleted after only one use when you consider the vast amount of apps that are available and competing for space on user smartphones.
Despite this statistic, it’s essential for businesses in any industry, including hospitality, to offer an app. Although the rate of app downloads is reported to possibly be in decline, overall usage and engagement are up. Mobile app usage grew 52% from June 2013 to June 2014, surpassing the use of desktop PCs and mobile web browsers, according to the U.S. Mobile App Report from comScore.
If you’ve already developed a mobile guest app (or worked with us to do so), the next thing on the list is making sure you’re getting the highest ROI on your investment by maximizing its reach and making sure that it isn’t among the apps that get deleted.
Have you told people about your app?
OK, this one seems fairly obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people overlook this simple point. If no one knows about your app, how can they use it? Getting the word out about your app is arguably the most important step to take, after careful design. A strong, creative marketing strategy is crucial.
Be excited! You’ve invested in creating this, and you want to brag about it with announcements on your website, social media platforms, to the press, and everywhere else possible. Word of mouth is the strongest tool in your arsenal, so make sure you and all of your employees are spreading the word whenever they have the opportunity, too. And remember, this isn’t a one-time effort. You’ll want to continuously remind people about your amazing app and all of the cool updates you make to it.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) created an elaborate marketing strategy, with the help of Google and Forrester Research, when they launched a mobile-optimized site and an app with the primary message, “Book a room. Whenever. Wherever.” The company saw 100,000 downloads of its app in only the first three-and-a-half months. “By using text specifically aimed at mobile users, we saw revenue from our mobile search activity increased by 91% percent YOY,” said Marco De Rosa, IHG Interactive Marketing Manager EMEA.
Is your app useful?
What’s the point of your app? Is it actually something that users are going to be able to make use of on an ongoing basis? For hotels, this means considering ways to make your app useful to guests even when they’re not on property. For example, making it easy to book a reservation (at a great rate) through the app or do preliminary research for a trip is something that gives long-term benefit. During the design phase, outline what you want users to be able to do and make sure it’s easy for them to accomplish the majority of things on your list.
Is your app boring?
Functional doesn’t have to be less fun or visually appealing. Give your guests what they want. Some of the top categories of apps by time spent are social networking, games, and radio/music. Messaging apps are among the fastest growing categories, up 203% year-over-year in 2013. Older users tend to prefer functional apps, such as Maps. While your app can’t do everything or please everyone, it’s not difficult to incorporate things users love about other apps into your own. Consider adding some leisure and entertainment features as an added bonus. It’ll give guests an extra reason to open up your app and use it, even when they don’t have a specific request or need for information.
Are you providing an incentive for people to use it?
This question ties in with most of the other points, but it can help to give your app a little extra appeal. Making special offers available exclusively through your app or running contests that encourage the use of your app can be a draw. It’s similar to a retail store offering in-store only discounts to increase traffic.