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Mobile First in 2015

The turn of the calendar year is a great time to take stock, toss old calendars, and archive the outdated. The goal is to make room for “new” in whatever form that may take. Part of the regrouping process here at HT is to check-in with the editorial advisory board for our annual Industry Outlook, and find out what they’re making room for in 2015.

This year, a focus on payments is reaching fever-pitch as board members look at mobile wallet options such as Apple Pay and others; and as they replace devices in preparation for EMV. Many are hopeful that the former will eventually ease the strain associated with payment security. In fact, enabling e-wallet is the number-one driving factor in 56% of POS upgrades, according to our 2015 POS Software Trends Survey (HT, Dec. 2014).

Another hot topic is location-based technology. Beacons are called out for their ability to identify opt-in guests. In fact, “location-based tech” was a top pick for new IT rollouts in HT’s 2015 Lodging Technology Study; tied for second place with the installation of “tablets at the front desk”, and right behind “consumer mobile apps” in the top spot. I recently spoke to the founder of the Location Based Marketing Association Asif Khan, who said that while location-based technology is absolutely hot, beacons may well be replaced within the next 18-24 months by a more sophisticated tool. Khan is speaking at both MURTEC and HTF this year, and will spill those details in his talks, so we hope you’ll join us.

The common denominator in all of these hot technologies — e-wallets, apps, location-based, and tablets — is mobility. Mobile technology has reached a level of utility where it’s impacting every aspect of operations. Retail mobile strategist and 2015 MURTEC speaker Jonathan Stark is a mobile evangelist, but he believes many organizations are going about it wrong. Those that take an app-centric or solutions-first mentality are destined to end up with poor integration and inaccessible data. Stark’s philosophy is to take a mobile-first approach, and architect your organization and systems thinking about mobile as the new normal. As you make room for mobile solutions in 2015, consider also making room for a new way of thinking about mobile: a mobile-first mentality.

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