For an urgent meeting with a client, I had to fly from Vancouver to another Canadian city in a jiffy. From tickets to hotel bookings, everything needed to be done in that moment. And it all happened smoothly!
Know how? Some very user-friendly OTA and hotel mobile Apps helped me take a quick and well-informed decision.
I am not the only one who’s flying around at very short notices. The world’s on a move and it’s only appropriate that your mobile App has everything to offer that your guests and customers need.
A leading Indian OTA sells 8,500 to 10,000 tickets daily through its mobile App. A recent international study (which covered hotels, airlines and even car rentals) estimated that bookings through Apps account for 12% of mobile bookings.
Are you missing out on this significant 12?
During my interactions with many small hotel chains, B&Bs and stand-alone hotels, one complaint, which I often hear, is that they are unable to cash in on their mobile Apps.
Just having an App won’t turn your hotel into an overnight success story. Make your App feature rich, user-friendly and an application worth remembering.
Here are 7 features that your hotel’s mobile App must have:
- A menu which speaks volumes
Have a main menu which is clear and not at all confusing. The tabs should be easy to read, in a visually appealing font and with buttons like deals and offers and reservations right at the top. The main menu is not the place to show your blogs or showcase your management. Also, put the sign-in button for your loyalty program members.
- Tap to book
The primary motive of an App is to get more direct bookings. Apps are the best way to get last minute bookings and to promote weekend deals and packages.
If a guest has your App, that means he/she has a liking towards your hotel or has stayed before. So, go that extra mile to pamper him/her. Give deals exclusively on your Apps. It could be on your room rates or restaurant bills or even at the Spa. You could also offer free airport pickup and drop facilities for App bookings.
Most importantly, ensure your phone number & email id are clearly mentioned on the main menu and on the booking screen. Some may not be comfortable booking online. Many last minute guests could be on the move and Internet may be fluctuating. Making your contact details clearly visible always comes in handy.
- A visual treat
Upload a few good pictures of the rooms. After all, ‘Jo Dikhta Hai, Vo Bikta Hai’!
- Enable cancellation
I know it’s disheartening, but why should you hesitate from letting the person cancel the booking through your App. Isn’t it all about guest satisfaction? A clearly visible ‘Cancel your booking’ button would do no harm to you.
- In-room on the App
I have heard hoteliers remark that many of the millennial like to have a digital touch to everything. Once in their rooms, they would like to order a cup of coffee online or book a restaurant table through their smartphones. Introduce the in-room menu on your App, and let them order there too.
- Review it
A recent Trip Advisor study found out that the total number of reviews and the number of reviews in the past one year have a big say in driving engagement. Studies have also found out that an ordinary traveler will not book rooms until he has read online reviews.
On your App, incorporate a tab by which a guest can go to your hotel’s Trip Advisor review page directly.
- Answer them before they ask you
Include a FAQ tab on your App. This will come handy to checked-in guests. Answer all the queries ranging from the check-out time to restaurant and bar timings. This will also help the front desk have lesser calls to attend to.
Now comes the big question.
You have an App or have made a new one. How will you market this or make more guests use this? Do you need to spend money to market your App?
Here are a few cost-effective strategies to help promote your App:
- Promote your App on leading social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Have the exclusive App discounts promoted on social media.
- Include a message on the footer of your emails, mentioning about your App and the exclusive offers.
- Posters in your property highlighting your App. This could be at the front desk, restaurant, lobby and rooms too.
- Give extra discounts to those guests who book again through the App.
- Don’t forget to have your App mentioned on the door key.
- Mention about your App on your routine Press releases.