Five Things Hospitality Can Do to Drive Growth Through Mobile
The mobile revolution is upon us, and its impact on the hospitality industry will be huge. Therefore, when it comes to your company, you have to ask yourself, “Do we have an enterprise-level mobility strategy to accelerate growth?” The answer is likely “no.”
Sure, you’re thinking about apps, smart phones, and tablets; you’re probably even using them already. But developing an app and using a tablet or a smart phone are just components of something that’s far bigger—and that is to create an overarching mobile strategy that can transform both business processes and customer experiences.
Realize that for your customers, their main computers are now becoming their smart phones and tablets. Hospitality organizations must embrace a broader view of what a mobility strategy really looks like.
Make websites adaptive. Most hospitality companies probably have a mobile website and a main website for the facility. But chances are they don’t look good on all the various sizes of smart phone and tablet screens because they aren’t adaptive. Therefore, it’s important that a site is adaptive so it automatically adjusts to the size screen the user has.
For an example, see www.burrus.com, www.calebogden.com, http://owltastic.com/, or http://thinkvitamin.com/ and give them a try. View them on your laptop first. Shrink the browser window and notice how the site changes to fit any size screen. Then try them on your tablet or smart phone. Regardless of screen size, they will all look and work great.
Design websites for mobile first. People are making decisions using their phones and tablets more so than on their laptops. It has reached a point where more tablets and smart phones are being sold than PCs. Last year, the majority of phones sold globally were smart phones. This trend will only continue to grow, so think mobile first when you redo your website, not desktop or laptop.
Rethink how people pay. Credit cards are easy, but e-wallets are easier. Currently, Google has a mobile wallet that works with Citi MasterCard and in the future it will work with other credit cards. It is secure and enables customers to make payments with smart phones. In the near future, as every financial service firm gets into mobile payments, society in general will move very quickly from a leather wallet to a smart phone wallet system. One example of an enabling technology is NFC, near-field communications chips, which are now being built into smart phones. They allow for secure and easy payment, and will have a major impact on the industry.
Create full-functionality apps. Since so many people have smart phones and tablets, the need for things like room keys, alarm clocks, in-room phones, and even TV remote controls is waning. What guests really need when they check into a hotel is an app for that hotel. The app can give guests not only the ability to have the room key right on their phone, but it can also give them a number of things that function for them within that hotel chain or specific hotel. For example, the app can have a button that enables guests to connect to the front desk, access a virtual concierge desk 24/7, order room service, etc. It can also sync with the television to become the remote control. The app can provide maps of the property grounds including jogging trails, information on local events, and a way to view the guest’s bill in real time. So let’s think of a broad app for the user that takes over the functionality of several devices.
Make mobile easy. Most people have multiple devices they need to charge when they travel, and inevitably there’s never a power outlet where it’s convenient. How about installing a wireless power charging plate in guest rooms, one on the desk and one on the night stand? People put their devices on the plate and they’re all charged wirelessly. With easy access to device charging, there’s no reason for people not to embrace your mobile strategy.
Realize that everything mentioned here is not years away. It’s right here, right now, staring you in the face. The question is, “Will you do it?” Remember that if it can be done, it will be done. If you don’t do it, your competitors will.
Daniel Burrus is a leading technology forecaster and business strategist, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research. For more information, please visit www.burrus.com.