A Blog by INTELITY

At Your Service

Presenting the latest innovation and trends in hospitality technology and the products that are revolutionizing the service industry.

hotel app

Is This The End Of The Hotel App?

Is it too late for the hotel app to catch on among travelers or is there still hope for hospitality to use mobile for innovation?

There’s an app for that! The phrase became popular after Apple introduced the App Store in 2008 (the same year Intelity went to market), signaling the start of the golden age of apps. Years later, hotel apps have finally become a major focus for investment among the hospitality industry. But has the hospitality industry waited too long to embrace the mobile hotel app?

There has been recent speculation about the role that apps will play in the future.

There are more mobile devices than humans on the planet.

App downloads have steadily decreased in recent years. Nearly half of smartphone users reportedly don’t download any new apps at all.

But mobile technology itself is more popular than ever. There are more mobile devices than humans on the planet, and the number of devices is growing more quickly than our population. Not to mention, the average smartphone user checks their phone incessantly throughout the day – an average of 85 times per day in fact.

In reality, apps are NOT dead. Mobile users are still spending a lot of time within apps, and not only on their smartphones. Apps are also popular on many other devices, even TVs.

What has died is an easy opportunity for app developers or brands looking for a mobile connection with consumers. With about 4 million different apps available, mobile users are selective with the limited real estate in memory on their devices. Most use an average of only 26 apps in total. In fact, 70 percent of all app usage is spread among only the top 200 apps.

“You’ll still interface with wearables/robotics and features using apps.”

Current interest has shifted to chatbots as a means to open two-way communication between brands in industries like hospitality and customers, enhancing the significance of hotel apps.

One industry commentator observes, “Apps become ever more important in a smartphone-centric wearables/robotics/voice-controlled/artificial intelligence-dominated world. You’ll still interface with those wearables/robotics and features using apps.”

When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the incorporation of bots into popular video and text messaging app Skype, he said, “Intelligence is infused into all of your apps.”

Hotel apps must have obvious value. They must be worth the time it takes to download and engage with them. They should provide a fluid, thoughtful experience that serves the best interests of the end-user by providing them with convenience, benefits, and a voice that is heard by the brand they want to interact with.

A hotel app has great potential to aid in cultivating satisfied, loyal guests if hospitality can figure out how to embrace innovation and prove to guests that this category of apps is designed with their best interest at heart. Features such as Messaging, Mobile Check-In/Out, and Mobile Key are a step in this direction, but it’s up to hoteliers to become more forward thinking in taking advantage of the opportunity that mobile presents to create a much-needed refreshment in the guest experience.

Hotel Technology at Boston Harbor Hotel

Read about this hotel technology love story in the heart of Boston at the iconic Boston Harbor Hotel.

Arching majestically over the Rowes Wharf, the Boston Harbor Hotel is renowned for impeccable service and personalized attention to hotel guests that rivals any other luxury accommodation in the city.

The property boasts a number of different awards in recognition of the high priority placed on guest satisfaction TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Winner, Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, U.S. News & World Report Best Hotels in the USA, etc). It’s also got the distinguishing credentials of both five stars and four diamonds.

In other words, it’s the embodiment of a love letter to its guests.

Stephen Johnston, Managing Director and General Manager, says, “We listen to our guests a lot. We’ve very engaged as a Five-Star hotel.”

It was an interest in maintaining this high level of guest engagement, and even deepening the connection, that led Boston Harbor Hotel to invest in new hotel technology through a partnership with industry innovator INTELITY. What better way to woo both new and returning travelers who wound up in the hotel’s lobby than with modern touches that facilitate communication, service, and engagement?

“When INTELITY was first sold to me, I liked it because we didn’t have much technology in the hotel, but we knew it was time to introduce some,” Stephen says.

And following the release of a customized hotel app, in addition to the installation of hotel in-room tablets in each of the guest rooms, the Boston Harbor Hotel has already noticed dramatic improvements.

Increased in-room dining revenue, reduced operational costs, and positive guest feedback was only the start of the benefits realized.

Read more about how we helped foster hotel technology love among staff and guests at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

5 Benefits of Mobile Device Management for Hotels

With the BYOD trend in hotels on the rise, hoteliers are facing challenges in meeting the expectations of both guests and staff who are carrying an increasing number of mobile devices. The benefits of mobile are plentiful, but ensuring efficient use throughout an organization can be difficult.

Availability of mobile device management (MDM) to the hospitality industry has brought about improvements in this arena by allowing hotels to take control of the hotel enterprise mobile technology trend.

Mobile device management (MDM) is defined as a solution that allows for “the administration of mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers, laptops, and desktop computers.” It isn’t just a hotel technology trend buzzword. As more hotels see an increase in travelers carrying mobile devices and as hotel rooms become fitted for advanced technology, such as hotel in-room tablets, enterprise mobility tools are going to continue to increase in value to simplify these hotel technology upgrades.

Remote Management of Devices

With more connected devices on your property than staff, MDM solutions assist in monitoring and managing these in a more efficient way. For instance, many hotels are now installing in-room tablets in guest rooms as a way to improve guest service and engagement. Hotel MDM is the best way to easily get these up and running, as well as perform ongoing maintenance. Using MDM in hotels, devices on the network can be remote wiped or have diagnostics run for troubleshooting.

Regulation of Applications

Hotel apps are more popular than ever and providing complimentary access to these on hotel tablets has become extremely popular in the hospitality industry. Using a hotel MDM solution, hotel management can select which apps they want to load or disable on devices across the network to create a superior digital staff and guest experience.

Data Protection and Backup

Data management using a hotel MDM solution can reduce the risk of costly incidents relating to exposure and breach. Hoteliers can use mobile device management to protect data and prevent leaks or wipe data completely from unauthorized user devices.

Expanded Security Features

Security of hotel digital networks and guest data is a top priority for many hoteliers, and there’s been discussion over how to enhance hotel security when it comes to network use, especially from mobile devices. Hotel MDM use can allow for expansion of security measures, such as requiring authentication of all devices and active monitoring of registered devices. It can also allow for tracking the physical location of devices on the network to reduce hardware theft or loss.

Establishing Network Use Policies

Every hotel should have a policy in place regarding the use of any networks, and this policy should apply to staff and guests alike. A mobile device management solution can assist in enforcing and solidifying this policy by consolidating regulation in the hands of those overseeing the network. Useful features include defining WiFi settings, setting compliance guidelines, and optimizing the function of the network overall.

Read the first part of our series on Mobile Device Management for Hotels and Hospitality for more on the specific uses of this hotel technology trend.

7 Travel Safety Precautions to Follow While Traveling Abroad

Here are some travel safety tips you should be mindful of when you’re on the road away from home.

The thought of exploring a foreign nation is exciting. When traveling abroad, you get to experience new cultures, tempting food, new languages, and much more of the elements that make up our beautiful planet. Although traveling internationally is safe in most of the parts, it is still advisable to keep in mind these travel safety tips for peace of mind. Let’s check them out:

Travel insurance is a must

If you’ve planned an overseas vacation then you must get travel insurance. It protects your precious belongings, cover the medical expenses and help you out in case if you get stuck in a problem. In short, insurance is mandatory for people going to a foreign country.

Scan all the important documents

Just imagine a situation wherein you’ve lost all your important papers, your passport, your flight ticket etc. Horrible enough! That’s why you should have backup copies of your all important papers, including digital versions of them, just in case you happen to misplace them during your joyous trip.

Don’t carry everything important in a single bag

It might be tempting to keep traveler’s checks, credit cards, cash, passport etc in a small bag or wallet. But don’t make this common travel mistake. Keep your checks, IDs, cards, and cash in a hotel room safe or locked compartment. Separate identifying items and cash into different places. This safety tip could increase your peace of mind even while you’re away from your hotel room and exploring the area.

Before and after you stay

Do some homework before booking a hotel or any lodging options haphazardly. Choosing to stay in self-catering studio rooms is a good option as it offers greater flexibility and can easily fit in within your budget. Once you get the right accommodation, lock all valuables in a safe or locker and do not share your room number with anyone. Another thing to keep in mind is the peepholes. Yes, anyone can easily get a quick look of your room through small holes. To avoid this, just put a bandage or small piece of cloth over the peephole of your hotel room door.

Connect with the embassy

Before stepping inside the plane to take off for a new location, acquaint yourself with the designated country’s embassy. The embassy will send you alert messages if any sort of threat takes place in the designated area. In a natural calamity or in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, you’ll want the embassy to know you are still in the area so they can equip you with required help.

Get local

Monitor Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Although they don’t provide you genuine details, they’ll alert you to activities in places you need to stay away from. And avoid places with bustling crowds, political gatherings, riots, and protests.

Warily research ground transportation

Research ridesharing and taxi providers that are trustworthy and available without any hassle in the area. Do they accept cash or credit cards only? Is there any emergency number you can call if you get stuck in an emergency? If you’re thinking of using public transportation, check for a good mobile app that can provide you accurate updates about the transportation system in the chosen country or area.

This post was submitted by Lana Marshall, who has worked at Space Apart Hotel for over seven years and has extensive knowledge of both the serviced apartments and the rental studio property market.

 

Tips For A Better Hotel App From: Google Travel

Borrow from Google to create the best hotel app possible.

Google has slowly but steadily been making headway when it comes to the travel industry, with a collection of mobile apps designed to make travel easier. Google Travel is a product capable of serving as a digital travel agent or trip planner and more. It exemplifies the concept of mobile-first as well, due to the heavy use of mobile by travelers.

Here are some takeaways from Google for developing a better hotel app.

Search Filters

Ease of use is key to gaining and keeping users for a hotel app, or really any app at that. Being able to navigate an app without confusion is a major draw, and this should be kept in mind during the hotel app development process.

Google is a master of online search, being the go-to Internet search engine of choice for so long now, and their travel features reflect this. Various search filters can be applied by travelers looking to plan a trip or perform mobile hotel bookings, such as location, price and hotel type. These make it extremely easy for users of Google’s apps to find exactly what they want quickly and efficiently.

Exclusive Deals

What better reason could there be for guests to use a hotel app than saving money? It adds incentive to taking the time to download and retain an app if there are exclusives offered through it that can’t be found on a company’s website or through a third party.

To note, Google even sends notifications to travelers about when great prices are available for their desired flights and hotels. The additional convenience shows true thoughtfulness for improving the user experience, and hospitality should be all about exceptional guest experience, no matter the channel or method through which it’s delivered. Convenience and financial discounts will no doubt increase the appeal and result in a better hotel app.

Complete Travel Experience Management

Google Travel features don’t focus solely on mobile hotel booking. Travelers can also access flight information, maps and directions, suggestions for building a vacation itinerary, and more.

A hotel app can be more useful if it presents multi-dimensional features that focus on the full travel experience, even before or after a guest’s stay. Incorporating useful information, such as flight information, maps, social media access, and hotel concierge recommendations for exploring the local area, will delight hotel app users and give them a reason to open a hotel app time and time again.

Constant Innovation

If there’s one inspiring takeaway from Google Travel (or Google in general) it’s the value of constant innovation. In order to develop the best hotel app, it’s necessary to experiment and take risks, not just follow the crowd. Thinking outside the box and jumping on leading trends can be difficult to justify, but being a hotel technology leader can pay off in the long run with modern guests who appreciate the conveniences afforded by digital amenities.

 

Hotel Technology Tips: Generating Revenue with a Hotel App

The benefits of hotel mobile apps are a hot debate throughout the industry. A sampling of those benefits includes Improved guest satisfaction, more efficient staff interactions, and better communication with guests, all of which increase a hotel’s competitive advantage. Yet, while leveraging mobile to result in increasing guest satisfaction and operational efficiency is a top priority when implementing mobile technology in hotels, increasing revenue through the use of mobile apps can also be a major part of justifying the investment. When used correctly, hotel apps can maximize revenue in order to provide significant ROI.

Mobile Booking

This is the most straightforward method to generate revenue from mobile apps. Allowing for mobile hotel room reservations is a primary source where hotels can create profit. With hotel bookings on smartphones rising (including 65 percent of same-day bookings), mobile reservations are a lucrative and sensible feature to enable when seeking to generate revenue through a hospitality app.

And booking room reservations don’t have to be the end of it. Hoteliers can also generate revenue by allowing for in-app booking for other hotel amenities, such as hotel spa services, golf or sports activities, restaurant reservations, in-room dining, and more.

Mobile Ads and Marketing

The benefit of guests utilizing a hotel app is that it gives hoteliers the opportunity to market directly to guests through a channel that is always on and always in the palm of a guest’s hand.

Push notifications give hoteliers an increased reach to market their services to their guests and the ability to provide consistent reminders and prompts to app users. Implementing advertisements into a hotel app is also an effective and clever way to generate revenue when done in a way that isn’t disruptive to the user experience. Hoteliers can boost revenue through pay-per-click or banner ads embedded in mobile apps.

Enabling guests to act on these prompts and mobile ads through in-app purchasing features can be very lucrative, as 76 percent of profits from apps stem from these types of purchases.

Third-Party Partnerships

Hotels can take advantage of partnering with local companies to maximize available space through a mobile app. Allowing these partners to seamlessly advertise on the hotel app interface for a fee can generate revenue for you and provide guests with information about relevant services, such as local boutiques. It’s important to select partners that enhance the existing brand image or provide significant benefit to a hotel’s most common demographic of guests, though.

As the landscape of the hospitality industry is shifting to focus more on mobile technology in response to guests who are demanding more sophisticated digital engagement during travel, developing apps that are functional on multiple levels and provide an ROI that offsets investment is growing more important as well.

For more information about how to generate revenue with a hotel app and determine the ROI of hospitality mobile technology, explore our mobile solutions or schedule a demo with a member of our team.