Mobile platforms are the number one choice for travel research and booking, with 85% of travelers using a mobile device for booking and 60% using navigation apps during the trip itself. More than ever before, this means that mobile apps are essential for Tourism, reaching the user during the whole selection process and accompanying them during the experience itself.
With this in mind, it has never been more important for hotels to bet on their digital side, so as to not only attract more clients, but also to provide a better service and stay connected with their guests. A well-thought-out hotel app that takes into account best practices to provide an unique, pleasurable and unforgettable experience can do all that and go even further to differentiate the hotel and ensure that your experience is fantastic and inimitable.
But what does a good hotel app do? What features should it include? It always depends from situation to situation – the best app, after all, is the one custom-developed with the needs and identity of each brand in mind – but here are the main features you should take into account if you wish to develop the best hotel app for your guests:
1. In-app booking
We started this article by mentioning how most consumers use a mobile device for booking. Therefore, your application should have the option to book through the app itself. Even if new guests use more general services such as Booking to find and book your hotel, loyal guests that know and appreciate your application would rather book directly through it.
Something that doesn’t directly impact your guests, but essential because it’ll make all the difference for your hotel. Your app’s analytics will allow you to gather, organize and analyze data on the way your app is being used. This means not only can you find out the features that add the most value to your user’s experience, but also learn which services are most important, the number of reservations and profit your app is bringing you and the right way to improve your app even further.
3. Hotel contacts
Having your hotel’s main contacts – phone numbers, e-mail addresses – readily available in your app is a must, given that this is information your guests need immediate access to. A section dedicated exclusively to directly contacting the hotel’s front desk, with no delays or hindrances, to ask questions or request services will make your clients more satisfied and, even more importantly, aware that you are always available for anything they need.
4. Room layouts
Room information is extremely important for potential guests, which is why your app should present layouts and high-quality content (photos and copy) to showcase and highlight your rooms’ quality. Only include relevant information so that interested parties can make an informed decision and afterwards be satisfied with the transparency and objectivity of your service.
5. In-hotel activities
If your hotel has activities for your guests – yoga, massages, classes, wine tastings and others –, your app is the best way to promote them. Many of your guests may not even be aware that these activities exist but, through your app, they can find them and even be directly notified based on their interests. This way, the application allows you to centralize the whole hotel experience, from the stay to the activities themselves, in one easy-to-use app.
6. Dining in and out of the hotel
Just as the application should present in-hotel activities, providing information about the hotel’s dining area, from the menus to the day’s specials, is another important feature that adds a lot of value for your guests. Furthermore, if you have any partnerships with local restaurants, you should include them in your application as well and provide relevant information – this adds a lot of value for the end user, given that they’ll learn of points of interest besides your hotel, but which have your seal of approval.
Inform your guests of amenities available in the hotel through a section of the app with that purpose. The fact that you make your list of amenities available in such a simple and practical way – and, preferably, allowing in-app booking – will be an advantage for your current clients and a way to attract new clients by showcasing the services that differentiate and distinguish your hotel.
8. Event space
Let your users, whether they are guests or still deciding, check your available event space options and book them directly through the app. Not only will this make your hotel stand out as a place for events or meetings, but it also provides an additional service to further distinguish your hotel.
9. In-hotel shopping
If your hotel has places to shop, use the app to guide your guests to them or, better yet, include an e-commerce feature in your app, so that your guests can easily shop in the app itself and have the products delivered in their room or pick them up directly in the shop.
10. Interactive map of the city
Besides getting hotel information, your guests will most likely look for points of interest on their smartphones, as previously established. Instead of letting your users’ attentions wander towards other apps, have an interactive map available in your mobile app that shows the location of nearby points of interest and the route there from the hotel. Not only does this mean your guests will spend more time in your app, but they’ll also be happy and grateful for the additional service you provided them.
11. Review and feedback section
The opinions of other guests are a key factor in the decision process of a potential customer, so your app should include a section exclusively meant for this and invite your guests to leave a positive review during and/or at the end of their stay. This way, you can focus the advantages of word-of-mouth marketing towards your app and thus convert more clients, at the same time as you show your existing clients that your opinion matters.
12. Loyalty system
If you have a loyalty program in your hotel – and if you don’t, we recommend you consider it, as it is an excellent way to keep your guests coming back –, your app should include it, letting users accrue points in a simple way and making the whole process much more intuitive and therefore even more satisfying.
13. Exclusive discounts and rates
Present exclusive rates through the app to reward users that choose to use your service. If you have partnerships with restaurants, museums or other tourist attractions, you can also present promotional codes or exclusive discounts for your guests through the application, benefiting both your partner – for whom you attracted new clients – as well as your own guests.
14. Social networks
Just like every area these days, a social network presence is essential for your business. Ensure that your guests have easy access to all your social news and your various profiles, centering access to them in your app and letting users follow and like them through the application itself.
15. Room control
We left the best for last. An almost futuristic feature but in fact completely real, your application can include a hotel room control feature that allows guests to, through their smartphone, control all smart devices in the room, from the TV to the air conditioner and others. Although more complex and requiring greater investment, this feature makes all the difference between a high-quality hotel and one that is absolutely unforgettable and cutting-edge. If you really want to impress your guests, this is a safe bet.
The difference between a good hotel app and an unforgettable hotel app is simple: bet on the features that really matter and take into account quality in everything, from the initial planning and native Android/iOS development to the content itself – the quality of image and video representing your hotel, in particular, is crucial. If you’re looking for a qualified team with experience in this field and the dedication to create the best hotel app possible, get in touch!