Mobile Hotel App vs. Mobile Web: A Hospitality Industry Debate

Is a Mobile Hotel App or Mobile Website More Beneficial for Hotel Marketing and Guest Engagement?

One of the most crucial responsibilities for a marketing team is to invest in hotel websites and ensure that sites are mobile optimized. More recently, hotel marketers have also had to consider the importance of a hotel’s mobile app. With a set marketing budget, how is it determined where the emphasis should be in today’s digital landscape? This can be a difficult call to make with technology and user behavior both changing so fast.

The main point that resonates with marketers about creating an optimized and responsive website can be simply summarized. A website should serve as the hardest working sales and marketing employee. It works 24/7 to address the questions that prospects and clients have about a brand. This lends significant value to this channel, with potential for major return on investment.

The discussion about whether to create an app for a hotel or brand is a bit more complex. “Because guests want one” does not seem to be a compelling enough answer for such an investment. So as a marketing professional, if given a choice, why would one invest in a mobile app vs. relying solely on a mobile-optimized website?

FLEXIBILITY

One reason is for flexibility, which is essentially giving guests what they want. Guests are on their smartphones and by offering features such as mobile check-in, check-out, in-room dining orders, direct staff messaging, mobile key room entry, and more innovative mobile capabilities, the guest experience can be elevated. These also work together to increase staff efficiency and opportunity for revenue.

LOYALTY

For hospitality brands, there is also a unique opportunity to encourage hotel loyalty program member acquisition. Eleanor Powers, insight director at business intelligence firm L2, said, “Some brands are promoting features such as keyless room entry through their loyalty programs, requiring guests to become loyalty members in order to access.”

ENGAGEMENT

What appeals to both small and larger brands collectively is customer stickiness. More and more, mobile hotel apps are being used to facilitate communication and service between customers and brands, and now “[mobile users’] engagement with brands is likewise migrating to apps, with 68% of mobile users engaging with brands via apps,” per a post by Fliplet.

Having a guest engage through a brand or hotel app can extend the experience they are able to have while physically on the property, also providing a fun new opportunity for marketers and hoteliers to interact through a new direct, digital channel.

In addition, it’s been stated that “apps running reliably on devices are reported to lead to increases in productivity of between 20% and 40%, creating extra time that can be used to generate additional business and revenue. Apps are also extremely effective at handling and manipulating complex data, producing charts and reports. Mobile sites, on the other hand, are generally slower to load and harder to optimize, particularly when it comes to complex data, which can inhibit productivity and make workflows slower.”

To learn more about Intelity’s solutions for both web and mobile to improve guest satisfaction and increase hotel revenue opportunities, take a look at our suite of guest-facing solutions.