10 reasons why your hotel needs an app post COVID-19

12th November 2020

Rockliffe Hall app

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has fundamentally changed our society, creating new challenges in the way we interact with others and live our everyday life. Social distancing restrictions pose unprecedented challenges to hoteliers and serviced apartment providers, who now need to adapt to this new reality and put measures in place to ensure staff and guests' safety and wellbeing.

Despite all the challenges ahead of us, the crisis is also offering the hospitality businesses the opportunity to review operations, embrace technology and restart from a new and stronger position when they re-open. 

In a recent article, Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta said that "comeback depends on how quickly contactless tech features roll out". He mentioned how the Hilton Honors app, which offers digital check-in and digital door key, will become a key component of the company’s health and safety measures going forward. “Certain mechanical elements of the experience are going to be digitised, but that was happening anyway. It’ll just happen faster" he added.

Hotel chain CitizenM, which has been paving the way in adopting digital solutions to enhance the guest experience via check-in kiosks and in-room tablets, has recently released the CitizenM App to enable guests to have everything they need on their own mobile phone. 

Reducing touchpoints to ensure employees' and guests' safety and wellbeing is crucial for hoteliers post COVID-19.

We have compiled a list with the top 10 reasons why your hotel or serviced apartment business should adopt a mobile app for guests to give you an overview of the benefits of adopting this technology. 

1. A guest app helps reduce touchpoints and put guests' safety first 

Guest expectations have changed. Health, hygiene and safety are now guests' top priority and an app helps operators reduce touchpoints and put guests' safety first by giving everything guests need on their own phone. 

In 2020, Criton conducted two surveys, before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, to assess the technology preferences of more than 7,500 hotel guests and to measure their expectations when staying in a hotel. You can read the results of the research here

Hotel Guest Expectations 2020

2. An app will help you enhance the guest experience and support your entire guest journey

You can offer a seamless guest experience and make your guests feel special by giving all the information that they need at their fingertips. Guests can use your hotel app to read your recommendations on things to do, get directions, discover services you offer, peruse your restaurant menu, book a table or spa treatments and much more.

A mobile app integrates with your hotel PMS, door locks and other systems and enables you to take the guest experience to the next level. You can give your guests the ability to check-in through the app, use a mobile key to access their room, request items and chat with your team when they want and ultimately give guests the power to chose how they want to engage with you. 

3. Mobile apps help increase your hotel revenue and in-stay spend

Create a new revenue stream with your app. You can promote special offers, winter packages and deals at your restaurant or spa with targeted push notifications. An app for your property helps you earn more from every booking by encouraging restaurant/spa bookings and room upgrades.

An app enables your guests to easily order extra items or in-room service from their own phone. In 2020, 47% of guests said would be more likely to order room service if the hotel would give them the option of ordering via an app, so it's clear that guests would like the convenience of ordering with just a few clicks on their own device. 

To feel safe and not touch menus that have previously touched by others, 48% of guests would be more likely to go to the hotel restaurant if the hotel would give them the option of ordering food via an app and this shows, once again, that guests would happily order and pay for food and drinks using their own phone. 

In July and August 2020, Balbirnie House Hotel received and processed 10,000 food orders using the F&B order and pay system available on their own branded mobile app.

Balbirnie House Hotel app

4. Your own branded app can boost your direct bookings

You can use your own hotel app to create a close marketing group of highly engaged customers, encourage direct bookings through the app and reduce OTA commission. 

George Westwell, Director of Cheval Residences, said: “Since its introduction the Cheval App has become a digital extension of our concierge team, generating new conversations with hundreds of in-house and prospective guests. The platform has also generated revenue directly via our mobile booking platform and via the in-apartment ordering system”.

5. You can save time and costs

You can save your staff time and reduce costs by digitising your guest services directory and creating your own branded app for iOS and Android devices. Your app lets your staff focus on improving the guest experience and become a sustainable business by reducing the amount of paper printed every year. This will help you show that your hotel is environmentally friendly.

6. An app can improve your operational efficiency

85% of international travellers have a mobile device while exploring the world, so it is no surprise that 70% of guests want to use their phone to speed up check-in. You can enable your guests to check-in through the app and use digital door key to access their room. This will enable you to streamline your guest experience and avoid lengthy queues at reception.

7. Maintain and improve brand awareness for your hotel 

If you have more than one property, an app enables you to showcase your entire portfolio of properties so that your guests staying in one of them will see all the others. This will help you not only to promote your unique brand, but also to cross-sell to your current guests, especially business travellers. 

8. Wrap all your guest-facing technology within your app

Your hotel app helps you to bring all your hotel guest-facing technology within one single mobile platform for Android and iOS and deliver a seamless guest experience. For example, here at Criton, we have partnered with industry-leading technology providers to offer you the very best hotel technology all in one place; from PMS integration for in-app check-in to loyalty programme, guest messaging, digital door key, guest reviews and location-based push notifications.

9. Increase guest loyalty and save on OTA commission

As we all know, loyal guests are important for a number of reasons. They like your property and amenities, they are likely to spend more and very likely to book again directly. 

The Hilton’s loyalty programme, Hilton Honors, has gained 65 million members since origin in 1987, who account for 52% of room nights. Members have increased by 9 million since HHonors app capabilities. Hilton serve 160 million guest bookings per year of which 30% are website direct. These stats clearly show the importance of having a loyal clientele.

You can include your loyalty programme within your own app and make it easier for guests to see the benefits they would gain by becoming members and to book their next stay directly. 

10. A mobile app helps your hotel be seen as an innovator in the industry

Having an app not only helps you cater to your mobile-friendly guests but it also enhances your brand image and helps you to be seen as an innovator in the hospitality and travel space. For example, luxury hotel Tigerlily gained a lot of press coverage in 2019 when they announced their brand new guest app.  

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How Criton can help you

Criton is an award-winning technology provider which enables hotels and serviced apartment operators to take the guest experience to the next level with a sophisticated mobile app. Criton helps hotels to streamline the entire guest journey and maximise in-stay revenue. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your business. 

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