Over the past year, consumers have become conditioned to use their mobile phones to interact with businesses in a contactless way – and hotel stays are no different. As of August 2021, 62% of U.S. consumers felt safe staying in a hotel. But with COVID-19 still looming, understanding protocols and aligning guest expectations are more important than ever. The goal is to provide guests an exceptional experience.
With contactless mobile engagement, hotels can improve the overall guest experience and build loyalty with both leisure and business travelers. Guests are already used to starting their journey with a hotel on their mobile phone, from researching room rates all the way to following up with a hotel after their stay. A strategic investment in SMS, MMS, mobile app, and native mobile wallet enables hotels to engage guests driving greater action and loyalty.
With mobile engagement, brands can keep guests informed during the entirety of their stay. For example, guests can check in through their phone – or, if they arrive before their room is ready – they can opt to receive an SMS or push notification when it’s time to check in. What’s more, guests are all too familiar with the feeling of arriving at a hotel, exhausted from hours of travel, only to find that the key doesn’t work for the room. Native mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay can eliminate this inconvenience with digital room keys delivered right to a guest’s phone.
As well, some hotels are even providing guests with room control from their mobile device, for everything from the thermostat, to lighting, to the TV remote. These smart features provide guests with a safe, frictionless, and personalized experience. As a result, guests are expecting more and more from hotels to engage with them through their mobile device, making it a critical initiative for creating an exceptional stay.
Hotels often use email to keep guests informed. However, important messages, even reward program numbers, often get buried in an inbox or deleted without being read. Mobile communication is an alternate way to receive a direct message from the front desk that’s guaranteed to be seen. What guest wouldn’t love seeing a text message that they got a room upgrade? That chance to please could easily be lost using email. Additionally, if a visitor wants to book a spa treatment or order room service, this can be done directly from their phone using text or an app, no matter their location.
When pairing mobile wallet with loyalty programs, guests can easily view their status and rewards, and access check-in information for appointments or reservations. What’s more, because mobile wallet is interactive, guests can be sent notifications and updates as information changes. This transparency allows hotels to communicate and engage with guests through mobile before, during, and after their stay, building loyalty and incentivizing return visits.
An additional benefit of mobile engagement is the ability to send personalized messages to each guestbased on their unique needs. For example, travelers on business might be interested in recommendations for more upscale restaurants in the area, while parents with young children might look for family-friendly activities.
With guests opting in to share their information and receive targeted mobile notifications, hotels can utilize this data to improve the timeliness and relevance messages over time and better serve these users.
With more than 290 million smartphone users in the U.S. alone, businesses can tap into this opportunity and interact with guests in the way they prefer. As opposed to email communications, mobile engagement is a massive opportunity to connect with guests, especially younger, mobile-native guests that are just beginning to travel. Mobile engagement can also serve as a major differentiator and a deciding factor when guests choose where to stay. All in all, mobile engagement should be a key part of any hotel’s engagement strategy to create a superior experience that keeps guests coming back.
About the Author
Alex Campbell has long been recognized as one of mobile marketing’s original pioneers, working tirelessly to educate marketers on the value of mobile as a viable discipline. A true entrepreneur at heart, Alex oversees Vibes’ innovation strategy – always looking for the next great mobile technology brands can leverage to drive deeper customer engagement and untapped revenue opportunities.