There's no denying that the hospitality industry has been struck hard in the last year. COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult to attract and serve customers, and even keep the doors open. Think of the number of empty hotel rooms, closed bars and quiet restaurants you've seen in the last few months. The good news, though, is that these challenging times have led to industry-shifting innovations. Leaders in hospitality are coming up with creative ways to get back on their feet, with many of them looking to technology for solutions. So let's look at how hospitality companies can benefit from integrating innovative tech and - specifically - mobile apps to survive and thrive in these tough times and beyond...
How can mobile apps help grow a hospitality business?
1). Attract customers on the move
You might have noticed that many hotels, bars and restaurants have gone the mobile route. That's because mobile-friendly websites and apps allow potential customers to make bookings, view menus, browse galleries and read reviews no matter where they are. Recent stats show that 70% of last-minute hotel bookings are made on a mobile device. And 74% of travellers would use a hotel app if their favourite hotel had one. Could this be because when you're on the move, it's that much easier to open a website or app on your phone than wait until you're at your desktop? People have their smartphones with them all the time, and mobile apps give you the chance to attract those people anytime, anywhere.
ALSO SEE: 10 Reasons To Build A Mobile App In 2021
2). A better booking experience
Manual booking procedures can be clumsy and time-consuming. And relying on booking sites means someone else takes a cut of your potential profit. With a mobile app, you can encourage more bookings through your system and offer special discounts for in-app bookings. Bookings and payments can be made effortlessly with the right app features. And, you'll reach a wider audience because anyone with a smartphone is a potential customer.
3). Share up-to-date information
Push notifications in mobile applications make it easy to share live, up-to-date information with customers. Whether it's an alert about changes to a booking or service, or to update clients about upcoming events, new products or special offers. With a streamlined CMS system, hospitality managers can inform customers quickly and receive instant feedback. It's about content control and easy access to data - for you and the client.
4). Understand customer behaviour
A custom mobile app allows you to track guests and diners' behaviour once they're in the app, giving you valuable insights into the customer's preferences, behaviour and interactions. This information can assist you in making better decisions, predicting trending products and services, and even altering staff operations to accommodate customers' demands. Specific analytics can be set so that you gain the data you need to grow your hospitality business.
5). Create and maintain relationships
Without being overly pushy, a mobile app can help you stay connected to customers even after they've checked out or left the table. And this is one of the most powerful tools in hospitality. Without having to send an e-mail or make a phone call, you can ask customers detailed questions about their stay, including things like food quality, service and overall satisfaction. You can also respond immediately to reviews or comments on social media to help build a personal relationship with consumers. Wouldn't it be nice if, the next time a customer made a booking, yours was the first name they thought of?
ALSO SEE: Is Building A Mobile App Expensive?
6). Offer 'loyalty program' perks
This follows on from the previous benefit of using mobile apps to grow your hospitality business. To help build that long-term relationship, you might want to include a special in-app loyalty program. If customers sign up, they could receive special discounts, or be the first to hear about exclusive events. The trick is leveraging the loyalty program to encourage customers to make that booking or purchase by sending targeted push notifications based on their previous behaviour, purchase history, location, profile etc. Ask customers to sign up before, during or after a visit - there's no reason the perks can't start now.
7). Encourage self-service options
While some customers might enjoy the rapport of face-to-face interactions, many would appreciate the option to handle aspects of their visit themselves. Especially in the age of social distancing and sanitiser. A hospitality-style mobile app would make it easy for users to check in and out, order menu items, request laundry services, make online payments or book additional treatments. This makes their stay more convenient and allows your staff to use their time more efficiently.
We've outlined some of the ways mobile apps can help boost business in the hospitality industry, but there are probably many more. With a custom mobile app, anything is possible. And the most crucial outcome is to streamline services and improve customer experiences. If you need help, developing a mobile app for your hospitality business, we'd love to partner with you. Contact us to find out more about our services.