Increase Direct Reservations with a Hotel Mobile App
It isn’t any surprise that consumers have grown to love using their smartphones for everything. In fact, it just makes them feel smarter to have apps they can use for just about anything. According to the New York Post, Americans check their mobile devices around 80 times per day.
Oftentimes, many consumers use their phones to look for deals – including travel deals. Imagine if your hotel app was on their screen every time they took a look at it? How might that impact your direct reservations each time a person decides to travel? Your customers are on their phones, which means you need to be there as well.
Use Data to Distinguish Customer Segments
With your hotel mobile app, you can gain valuable data-driven insights about what matters most for your target customer. In our digitally-connected world, data is the necessary key for increasing direct hotel bookings. Here are the two questions you can then answer:
- Who are your guests?
- Why are they choosing your property?
Now, once you have the answers to these two highly-relevant questions consider how you might tailor your future marketing and sales campaigns to drive direct bookings.
Naturally, all of your guests have varying preferences and spending habits. Yet, when you can analyze – and segment – this data, then you can determine who are your most profitable guest segments. Next, you can focus your marketing strategy on the segment of customers who offer the biggest return.
Other valuable insights you can glean from your mobile app include:
- Types of travelers (business, leisure, educational)
- When your most frequent guests visit
- Average length of stay
- Most-used services and amenities
- How far in advance they are booking
- The geographical region of their origin
Imagine how you can use this information to drive bookings, and increase guest loyalty. Customers want to stay at a hotel that values their preferences.
Create Targeted Guest Communications
With the data you receive from your hotel mobile app, you can then refine your brand strategy. Today’s guests want to book a property that offers some personality and a customized experience. If you can offer this to your guests, they will continue to return.
In order to cultivate long-lasting guest relationships, hotels need to execute targeted communications with well-timed campaigns that align with their brand and increase customer engagement.
With your app, you can stay in touch through the entire customer life cycle. For instance, messages can be sent automatically based on data received from guest profiles, reservations, preferences, and check-in dates. If your guest checks in when a popular summer festival is being held, you might offer free transportation, discounted tickets, or even free tickets – depending on the guest.
You can also communicate regularly before they stay at your property. Once your hotel receives the reservation, you can send pre-arrival messages to ensure the guests are excited to stay at your property.
A few days prior to check-in, you might offer early check-in, a free drink upon arrival, list property amenities, highlight insider information about the area, or offer free room upgrades. If the travelers are a couple, you might remind them of your specials on spa services. For families, you could send information on kids’ programs or nearby attractions.
Other pre-arrival messages could include information related specific to their reservation such as special requests and personalized itineraries.
Enhance Communications During and After the Stay
Now that you know how to use your app before arrival, you should still maintain communication during-and-after the guest stay. It takes more than just getting a customer through the door to earn their loyalty.
Once they have checked in, your app can send welcome messages, information about the room, or perhaps an invite for other services which align with their customer profile, for instance a foodie who might enjoy a chef-centered meal.
Boost Retention Rates
If you can gain a customer for a lifetime, then all your discounts and special offers will have been worth it. Just think about the idea of customer lifetime value (CLV). You can certainly improve the overall value of your hotel business by improving retention rates and increasing the amount spent by each guest.
Of course, an app should not just be created and then forgotten. Your guest must receive constant updates, new and valuable content, special promotions, and relevant reminders. If your app does not provide value, it will be uninstalled. On the other hand, if customers find your app useful – then expect increased retention rates.
As you can see, there is much proof that a hotel mobile app is the key for increasing direct bookings in the digital world. Hotels which already have relevant mobile apps are experiencing these types of benefits first-hand. As smartphone usage and app downloads continue to rise, so too will the need for having your own hotel app.
Also, your app can act as a mobile concierge for the guest to ensure active communication and engagement. As a result, guests can access information at their convenience.
Once the customer has checked out, it’s important to stay in touch. The first message should be a thank you message. A second message could request feedback via a survey. Later, your hotel could start sending return offers several weeks before the guest’s booking anniversary. All of these types of communications help to increase customer loyalty because over half of hotel reservations are now completed on smartphones.