App Attack. The concierge apps of the world’s largest hotels
16th May 2019
Hotels are responding to the ever-increasing demand for more personalised experiences with concierge apps. These hotel apps can provide guests with all the information they need about the hotel as well as advice about anything from local nightlife to great shopping experiences. The functionalities of concierge apps often go far beyond simply providing information, as they enable guests to order room service, book spa treatments, and include features such as digital door key and loyalty programme.
Let’s take a look at the mobile apps of the world’s largest hotels, their main features and what they are helping hoteliers achieve.
The Hilton Honors app lets users search and book over 4,9000 hotels and resorts all over the world. The Hilton Honors app has delivered 20 percent of all reservations across its brand portfolio, driven by the brand’s loyalty program, embedded within the app. The hotel chain has also introduced a digital key, allowing guests to use their smartphones to access rooms, removing the need to physically check in and freeing front of house (FOH) staff to concentrate on enhancing the guest experience.
Hilton rolled out its own messaging system in 2016 in which guests can request information, report an issue or make requests by text. Customers can also order comforts like food, drinks, or more pillows, even before arriving at the hotel, so they are ready and waiting. "We are able to come out from behind the desk and provide more hospitality,” said Stuart Foster, Hilton’s VP of global marketing.
In 2018, Hilton partnered with Foursquare to launch Explore, a location-based feature that, available for 1,000 hotels across all Hilton brands, enables local hotel staff to provide tips on subjects ranging from food, shopping, nightlife and other activities. Each recommendation comes with photos and suggestions such as best times to visit. The Hilton Honors app has been so successful it ranks within the top 30 mobile apps in Apple's travel category.
The AccorHotels app enables travellers to browse through 4,200 hotels in 2,000 destinations in 95 countries. The app includes features such as off-line interactive maps, 360° virtual tours, thousands of photos and videos as well as Le Club AccorHotels loyalty programme.
Accor pushes messages through its app to guests on check-in, providing details about the property's amenities. Through localisation technology, when a guest arrives Accor can inform them on everything from gym and spa times, to menus of on-site restaurants. Additional services can also be offered, including car rental reservations, or offers of local restaurant and attraction information, all with the intent of being the guests' travel companion.
Accor is going beyond merely attracting the out-of-town visitor by integrating its AccorLocal programme. This digital strategy marks a shift from the hotel being just a 'travel' brand to becoming a platform offering experiences, whenever and wherever you may be. This puts AccorHotels at the heart of the local community by rewarding locals with promotions and services. Accor Hotels continues its own revolution by adding the capability for guests to order meals and drinks within its app.
Lucy by Virgin Hotels
Virgin Hotels has taken an inventive approach. With the idea to create the perfect hotel personal assistant, in 2015 Virgin Hotels launched its mobile app, Lucy. The app allows guests to integrate their mobile device into their hotel experience and view menus, order room service, communicate with the hotel staff, stream personal content, control the room thermostat, order extra pillows, laundry pick-ups, a turndown service and even a valet. Lucy makes things happen without guests having to talk to anyone, but simply giving guests everything they need at their fingertips.
Doug Carrillo, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Virgin Hotels, explains: “Our mobile app Lucy, will put guests in the captain’s chair. The technology will be smart and intuitive, and light the way to a more immersive experience within the hotel. We can’t wait to build upon the platform as the brand and our guests’ needs grow.”
Although Best Western has so far utilised a mobile version of its website, the brand will launch its own smartphone app featuring a digital mobile key in 2019. Best Western provides a guest communication platform that operates pre-arrival, on property and at check-out. The service includes local TripAdvisor-driven content on places to eat, sightseeing and entertainment, and can interact through mobile, texting, email and voice.
Properties that tested the platform saw increases in both guest satisfaction and room revenue via upselling and advertising functions. And now Best Western plans to integrate the service with Amazon Echo Dot so that guests can ask for local information from a voice-controlled digital assistant in their rooms.
Hub by Premier Inn
Hub by Premier Inn moves its local guide into augmented reality through the Explore function in its app. Guests can hold their smartphones up to the in-room illustrated wall map to watch the city come to life. The Hub by Premier Inn is all about technology and practicality with its app providing a hotel access key for guests. And it goes one-step further by working as a remote control for in-room technology including the TV, lights and air conditioning.
Marriott International has a mobile app, the Marriott Bonvoy, that includes search and book feature, check-in, real-time service requests, messaging and mobile key. By using the app, guests of the Marriott can also request items such as a fresh towels delivery, shampoo and shaving kit. What’s more, they can get curated recommendations for spa and local attractions, dining, as well as upcoming hotel events.
Digital concierges are a great way to engage customers more personally, giving them the recommendations they’re looking for to create better, more tailored and seamless experiences.
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How Criton can help you?
At Criton, we give independent hotels and serviced apartment operators access to the same technology that big chains already adopt. We have built bespoke apps with a wide range of functionalities (including push notifications, messaging, ordering, PMS integration, digital key) for clients including luxury boutique hotels and national chains of serviced apartments. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your business.