The guest hotel relationship is shifting. The mobile market is resetting. There is a new opportunity for hotels to get into their guests’ smartphones.
No, Your Hotel Business Doesn’t Need a Mobile App
This statement was made probably for the first time about 5 years ago by Blue Magnet Interactive. The article holds many truths, and I totally agree that a hotel doesn’t need a mobile app — today more than ever — even though there are many[mobile app]
companies who still want hoteliers to believe otherwise.
Here is why:
Booking Portals Have Mobile Apps. They Win.
This point should be quite clear to anyone by now, especially to hoteliers. Booking.com, TripAdvisor, AirBnB and the other accommodation portals have found a quite successful way to wedge themselves between hotels and guests. Their websites and mobile apps are powerful, simple, useful and efficient. Plus, by now they have the cash to promote their mobile apps, add new features to the apps, and make them widely available in gazilions of languages.
Unless you own a mega hotel chain like Hilton or Marriott (or work in one), you shouldn’t even think about creating a mobile app, because:
- It needs resources (cash, developers, designers, product managers, infrastructure, tech support, etc.)
- It needs adoption, i.e. you need to put it in your guests’ hands, which requires marketing and promotion.
That’s a lot of work. It is an expensive process. What is more, it will be extremely hard for a small-to-medium hotel to compete with these conglomerates in the booking business. Even if a hotelier decides to create a mobile app, I doubt that many guests will use it frequently — they would rather call the hotel or book through its website.
Your hotel mobile app will not increase your revenue, because no one will use it.
Travel Review Websites Have Mobile Apps. They Win.
In the past, hotel guests used to book off-property activities through the hotel they were staying at. In today’s connected world, however, guests come prepared and over 70% of them book activities a week or more in advance. They use TripAdvisor, Yelp, FourSquare or a local review website to do this. Yes, most of these review sites have expanded into offering activity and restaurant bookings, and they too offer mobile apps.
It will be close to impossible for a hotel to create a mobile app which to complete with travel companies for the exact same reasons stated before.
Your hotel mobile app will not increase activity bookings nor your ratings.
There Is User Fatigue for Mobile Apps, Email and Newsletters. Hotels Don’t Win.
A majority of users (51%) don’t download any apps in a month. Even if they do, they’ll also often delete apps they don’t like or don’t use too often. These stats tell us that a dedicated hotel app will not last long on a guest’s device unless he/she is a loyal business guest.
What is worse, there is a decrease in email and newsletter engagement (opens, clicks, subscribes) which reflects user discontent and disinterest. I, personally, had unsubscribed from tons of newsletters I used to be subscribed to, including such from hotels and airline companies, because of 1) inbox overflow and 2) lack of quality information that targets me. I prefer to get my news automagically via already curated services like Google Now and news sites, and occasionally from The Morning Brew. The bottom line is that users (and hotel guests) want quality curated information at the right time.
Hotels want to establish strong long-term relationship with their guests in order to increase revenue per guest, yet the guest <> hotel relationship is shifting… How to establish a relationship when guests are becoming more disinterested in apps, emails and newsletters, and more interested in using services such as AirBnB? How to reach out to these guests? See Tame Your Hotel Guests. The Alternative to Mobile Apps Is Here.