A mobile device has become a vital detachable limb for most of us; we can’t seem to function without it, especially if we have a Smartphone. It helps us manage our homes, work, make restaurant reservations, be our navigator, book our flight tickets, manage monthly budgets and so on. According to global research firm, eMarketer, in 2015 there were 1.91 billion smart phone users, and that number would increase by 12.6% in 2016 to touch 2.16 billion.
Travel and hospitality is an industry that has been highly affected by the increasing use of mobile devices. Travellers now have this need for immediacy and instant gratification, everything should happen now, in real time and instantly; so hoteliers across the world have now increased their budgets in technological upgrades.
So how are mobile devices influencing the future of hospitality?
Improving the bandwidth of the hotel: According to HTNG’s Blake, the biggest priority for a guest, is that the hotel’s WiFi should work efficiently and should be free. A survey conducted by hotels.com has found that 49 percent of business travellers consider free Wi-Fi a deciding factor when it comes to their choice of hotel. Thus hoteliers across the globe are updating their networks and increasing their coverage.
Implementing seamless check-ins and mobile keys: Hotels are now enabling online check-ins so that guests can check in before they arrive and their keys would be ready. Hotels such as the Accor group, and Hilton hotels have already implemented this and many other hotels are following suit. Mobile keys shall also help make the guest experience more convenient by being able to open the room doors simply with their Smartphone. No more having to remember where you kept your keys, or to keep the mobile and key card in different pockets.
Creating a more personal rapport: When guests use their SmartPhones as a medium to respond to a hotel, a hotel can greatly benefit in knowing their guests better by listening to their online feedback. Learn about the guest’s preferences; offer them special privileges or discounts based on the drinks they prefer or the restaurant that they like. If a guest gives any constructive feedback about the hotel online, respond and act as fast as you can. This shall validate to the guest that the hotel cares and listen to them.
No Need for a Concierge: Many hotels now have a mobile app which provides local information to their guests so all required information is there at the tips of their fingers. Online navigators ensure that physical maps are not required and your phone can guide you to your favoured destinations. Also numerous travels based or social apps, like Tripadvisor, Trip38, Foursquare, OpenTable provides all the information or requirements that the traditional concierge used to provide.
Tech-Savy rooms: We are a complete tech savvy world and we want our hotels to offer the same: Smart rooms which can be accessed via a tab or a mobile app, TV’s which have a usb drive so that you can use it to charge your phone, play your music, or even watch a movie, wireless charging stations etc. Hotels are also offering all in one systems so that lights, temperatures, music, etc can all be managed with a tab or mobile.
The technological aspect of the hotel industry is changing drastically and the mobile is something that is seriously impacting its future course. Above we have mentioned only a few of the changes that have happened or are happening; but as is the case with technological change the list are endless. The mode of paying the bills, wireless charging systems, less printed material, online personalised services all are the effects of the SmartPhone impact.
Hotels need to move with the times and ensure they are meeting the technological requirements of their guests.
"How mobile devices are influencing the future of Hospitality",