It's every parent's summer dream: Cold drinks in hand, seagulls circling overhead, kids frolicking happily among the crashing waves. But the thought of researching hotels and logistics can turn any hope of this dream into a nightmare. If only planning a family beach trip could be as easy as picturing it.
Thanks to technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI), it finally can be. By typing a sentence or two about their ideal vacation — "Find me a kid-friendly beach resort less than a two-hour flight from here" — into a mobile app or a text message, travelers can quickly receive a personalized list of hotel and destination recommendations and make their dreams a reality.
That's just one of the latest advancements in mobile technology, which took off at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hotels also increased their investments in tech-associated platforms like AI-assisted communication to be customer-centric and drive bookings.
As these institutions continue to understand their customers from in-person and digital interactions and seek ways to maximize their return on tech spending, they're learning how to further leverage user data to provide a memorable stay and heighten brand loyalty.
Personalization Powered by Mobile Data
Guests increasingly want a pure mobile hotel experience without physical interaction. According to an Oracle study, 73% of travelers now use their mobile devices to minimize staff contact during hotel stays.
But that doesn't mean you can't get to know them. Every time guests engage with your hotel before, during, or after a stay, they add to a data profile that helps you better serve them next time. If someone consistently searches for budget accommodations in Miami, why turn them off by suggesting upscale resorts? If they would benefit a room on the first floor, or they'd prefer an oceanside view, why inconvenience them with anything else?
And those types of interactions no longer occur exclusively within hotel apps, either. By connecting with guests through SMS, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger, you can be more personal, avoid app fatigue, and meet travelers where they are.
Regardless of the channel, AI-powered chatbots can suggest the perfect hotel brand for their vibe, push deals at nearby seafood restaurants upon arrival, and confirm that a poolside cabana has been reserved as a birthday surprise. Moreover, they can easily shift from a synchronous to an asynchronous conversation, fold in a live agent experience when needed, and link back to the mobile app to complete a transaction.
Mobile data, then, empowers hotels to be proactive rather than reactive. Instead of merely responding to requests, you can use information to predict needs and deliver personalized experiences that show guests they're understood as individuals — and this is just the beginning.
More Intelligent Conversations, More Customized Stays
While current use cases are impressive, the future possibilities for mobile technology in hospitality are equally exciting.
As AI evolves, mobile-based guest interactions will become more adaptive and conversational. What's currently a simple SMS booking confirmation, for example, will morph into a rich, personalized dialogue that includes the option to upgrade rooms, arrange a car service, or change the reservation simply by responding.
The in-room experience will be completely tailored to a guest's preferences, too. You can set their preferred temperature before arrival, change digital wall art based on their tastes, and even use stored log-in details to activate their streaming subscriptions on the smart TV.
Hotels will also continue segmenting their brands to provide experiences that resonate with the right clientele. Mobile data will help you identify whether a guest prefers the JW Marriott's modern stylings or the Ritz-Carlton's traditional comfort and curate more personalized stays from there.
Looking further ahead, immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) tours will gain traction. The Oracle study found 68% of travelers are interested in previewing properties in the metaverse. However, whether these applications become widespread depends on the technology's affordability and how rich the experience may be.
When it comes to delivering the exact type of getaway a traveler craves, the possibilities will be endless.
The Payoff Is Real — In More Ways Than One
Mobile technology has already transformed the guest experience in a short time and will continue to spur imaginative approaches throughout the hospitality industry. While each adoption relies on feasibility, the direction is clear: Hotels will leverage data and innovation to offer personalized stays that precisely match each traveler's preferences and expectations.
Although these features are designed to appeal to guests, they're also about maximizing revenue. Every touchpoint can be used as insight into travelers' habits and desires, thereby allowing hotels to optimize their approaches to provide the most memorable stay possible. And, as guests return for a future stay, they create additional data points that can be used to adjust their profiles and continually redefine how the hotel caters to other visitors, too.
This perpetuating cycle will promote a greater quality of service, no matter what the purpose of the stay may be — and that's something any traveler can dream of.