Skip to main content

Creating a Rewarding Guest Experience Through Engaging Mobile Apps

Building and incentivizing mobile app use is a winning strategy for venues. When done well, it can not only enrich a guest’s stay — and promote future stays — but it can also create valuable upsell and revenue generation opportunities for the venue.
Advertisement - article continues below

The digital transformation that occurred during the pandemic has reverberated across countless industries, and hospitality is no exception. As travelers return to vacation destinations at about the same rate as they did pre-pandemic, they’re coming back with a different set of expectations, and one of those is a digital-friendly guest experience bolstered by engaging mobile apps.

A well-considered, dedicated mobile app is a great investment for guests and operators alike. On the guest side, apps give a detailed overview of a venue’s offerings, amenities, and benefits to make the most of their stay. And, when you factor in that studies show the simple act of having a trip planned can bring joy to a traveler, having a mobile experience where a guest can visualize their visit can boost overall satisfaction even before their stay occurs. For operators, they’re given a platform to boost revenue through special offers as well as garner valuable data insights to optimize guest experiences in the future.

While apps are an increasingly important part of a guest’s experience, a poorly executed app can be more trouble than it’s worth and can negatively impact how guests interact with the venue. Common pain points like app reliability, outdated information, poor functionality, excessive notifications, and questionable data practices can wind up doing more harm than good.

Building and incentivizing mobile app use is a winning strategy for venues. When done well, it can not only enrich a guest’s stay — and promote future stays — but it can also create valuable upsell and revenue generation opportunities for the venue.

How Mobile Apps Work to Enhance the Guest Experience

It’s no surprise that as consumers have been exposed to more digital tools, expectations for those products have gone up across the board. A recent study showed that 76 percent of consumers have higher expectations for the digital tools with which they interact than they did just three years ago. The answer for hospitality operators isn’t simply providing an app, but really nailing it and making sure it actually enhances the guest’s stay.

What this means is providing a frictionless app interface. In practice, this translates to app reliability. Apps that are slow to load, crash often, are confusing or fail to deliver on specific functionality can cause frustration, which can set a negative tone for a guest’s stay as they prepare for their trip.

As a baseline, operators should focus on providing clear, up-to-date educational materials within their app so guests have an accurate expectation of what the venue offers. Showcasing amenities, reservation processes, and location-specific information like maps can give guests a better understanding of the venue. The key here is to not overwhelm guests with too much information, but rather to offer enough insight to boost confidence and build anticipation.

How to Incentivize Mobile App Use

Creating an app is a lot of work, and those efforts shouldn’t be spent if guests aren’t going to use it. As an operator, there is significant value in a guest using your dedicated app: it provides an avenue for special offers and upsells, it can allow advertising real estate for local partners, and it offers valuable user data that can be leveraged to optimize the guest experience in the future.

Connecting app usage towards a rewards program is a great way to incentivize engagement. By offering guests discounts, points, or exclusive content, venue operators can make their app a must-have for guests before, during and after their stay. Choosing the right incentives can be a journey, optimized over time based on the rewards that resonate best with guests.

Encouraging Repeat Visitation with Mobile App-Driven Tools and Tactics

By encouraging app engagement, venues are given user data and preferences that can not only be used to enhance their offerings on a large scale, but can be leveraged to provide a more personalized experience that encourages future visits.

Having guest-specific data enables a venue to provide far more compelling targeted offers and recommendations that can be used to promote repeat stays. For example, after a guest’s stay — and an appropriate period of time — the venue could send that guest a notification that their favorite restaurant at the venue is offering a special deal. The venue can also suggest activities or new and upcoming attractions that the guest might enjoy based on their past visits.

Dedicated mobile apps offer a world of potential benefits for the hospitality industry. They create a longer-lasting bond between a guest and a venue that extends before a stay begins, and creates a touchpoint of contact after a guest has left. By creating personalized experiences within the app, a venue can create a more enriching guest experience and promote increased loyalty and repeat visitation.



Mechele Larmore is the Senior Vice President of Sales at accesso where she leverages nearly two decades of ticketing and ski industry experience to help lead accesso’s international sales efforts. Prior to accesso, Mechele held the role of Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Siriusware, which was later acquired by accesso and transformed into the accesso ShoWareSM live event ticketing platform, which helps clients worldwide streamline operations and boost onsite sales. She also served as the Director of Ticket Services at Heavenly Ski Resort for 16 years. Mechele graduated from Boise State University and enjoys traveling and exploring nature with her husband.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds