A mobile device has become a vital phantom-like limb for most of us. We have come to rely on our smartphones for everything, from staying in touch with family and friends to delegating errands, managing our home, working, ordering food, buying groceries, paying bills, acquiring and streaming movies and music, booking a taxi, storing loyalty cards, using it as a wallet, opening doors, making payments… the list is endless. They have come to change the very nature of how we interact with the world around us.
As we become more demanding regarding the kinds of services we have at our fingertips, hospitality is an industry that has been highly affected by the increasing use of mobile devices; they have drastically reshaped their functioning.
Here are just a few ways mobile devices are influencing the future of hospitality.
Rise of Self-Check-In: In many airports, it’s no longer necessary to stand in a queue to check in and people expect the same kind of easy, technology-driven check-ins at hotels. Where guests previously expected to be greeted by front desk staff, guests now want control over their check-in experiences, preferring a mobile check-in option, allowing them to bypass lines and interact with the hotel freely. While most hotels today have a front desk that is much the same as it was two decades ago, self-service check-in is becoming the new standard – even some brands like CitizenM Hotels have done away with the front desk altogether, opting instead for self-service kiosks in their lobbies.
Wi-Fi Infrastructure Overhaul: A decade ago, if you looked to the future of hospitality, you would have never thought that WiFi would be a key factor in choosing a hotel. With connected consumers checking their mobile devices an average of 150 times a day, for hotel guests, WiFi connectivity is second in importance only to clean sheets. WiFi is no longer considered a luxury. In fact, most consumers today assume it will be available and are frustrated when it’s not – 96% of guests think Wi-Fi should be free with many considering a lack of it to be a deal-breaker. As such, hoteliers across the globe are re-thinking their current infrastructure, updating their networks and increasing their coverage.
Rise of the Portable Concierge: The role of the hotel concierge might never disappear entirely, but with mobile technology and the numerous travels based and social apps available, guests can research and find all the information they need that a traditional concierge used to provide. As a result, many hotels now provide their own mobile app that provides guests with access to important local and property information at the tips of their fingers. Many mobile concierge solutions even offer a two-way chat to accommodate immediate conversation to ensure guests’ requests and needs are being met.
The Demise of Pay-Per-View: In-room, on-demand video is a thing of the past as guests across all generations increasingly prefer streaming from their personal devices. A survey by Smith Micro Software showed that 81% of respondents want access to their own mobile content at hotels and 55% said that mobile content availability at a hotel would influence where they choose to stay. While Marriott was one of the first adopters to offer guests access to streaming services they use at home, many hotels have since followed suit.
Similarly, many hotels are beginning to offer an all in one system so that guests can have control over more room function such as lights, temperatures, music, etc. all via their mobile device.
It’s only been ten years but mobile has significantly reshaped the hotel industry and transformed guest expectations. As mobile continues to occupy more importance in the consumer’s daily life, fine tuning your hospitality venture to make to most of mobile is imperative in order to drive guest engagement, increase revenue growthand remain competitive.