We’ve entered a new era of luxury travel. Nowadays, everyone decides for themselves what luxury means and how much it’s worth. For some, it might be renting a suite with a personal wardrobe for $10,000 a day. For others, sticking to a diet is a necessity, so the hotel better come equipped with the right kitchen. Once upon a time, a spa seemed posh, but now that’s just an obvious service offered at most resort hotels.
In this article, we want to explore the more frequent of low-touch case studies, and check out innovative tourist business trends in the mobile industry and how they influence certain groups of people.
During their stay in hotels, patrons rely more and more on their smartphones for information and entertainment. It’s not an overstatement that applications are the best platform for interaction with guests in premium hotels. In city hotels, mobile apps can be derivative, but in resorts, they’re a full-fledged marketing instrument. Experts think the biggest hurdle to using mobile apps is the inconvenience of downloading it, especially in indie hotels. Temp guests simply won’t clutter up their devices with unnecessary applications. The app is mostly geared toward permanent guests who don’t change up their routine and prefer low-touch service. But it’s important to keep in mind that this category of guests doesn’t include only luxury customers, but others, too:
- Always Luxury. For these guests, luxe living is the norm. They travel first class or in a private jet, and standard low-touch luxury is imperative for them.
- Special Occasion. Sumptuousness is a pleasure for these patrons. They seek the wow factor, and if they’ve made up their mind, they’re ready to pay. They might use their loyalty points to raise the service bar or treat themselves at the spa. Since they know the price of extravagance, it has to be “contactless luxury.”
- Bluxury. This category is made up of business types who check into high-end hotels for work — related affairs and are picky with their time. When they get a free moment, all the hotel’s services should be at their fingertips without distracting from work.
- Cash-rich, Time-poor. These guests lack organization and time management skills. Their plans change constantly, and a low-touch standard is definitely for them. It gives them the option to plan and cancel anything in real time.
- Strictly Opulent. These are lovers of glamor and exclusivity who actively use technology along with personal services (high-touch travelers). Loving the spotlight, these guests expect to be the center of the attention. They might order a private tour on a yacht for themselves and their friends, but the social element is of the essence, enabling them to boast about their experience, leave feedback, or use the app to request additional services during their trip.
- Independent and Affluent. This describes a small percentage of patrons. They’re usually solo travelers who hope to connect with others. They thoroughly research and plan their journey and only prefer a low-touch standard.
So we’ve sorted those guests for whom the “ideal” mobile app is an integral part of tourism. But what’s an “ideal” app? Let’s unpack a few cases:
Direct hotel reservation
Direct hotel selection and reservation without the hassle of middlemen. Via the application, guests select their room and reserve it. Hotels with complex infrastructure display an interactive map in the application of the nearby terrain. After getting oriented with the hotel and room, guests indicate their arrival date. The price is shown and the application suggests flight options based on the current location or one that’s manually entered. Reserve just the hotel room, or add on the suggested flight.
Expertly developed functions, available to patrons on mobile devices throughout their stay, expand the hotel’s options, ensure convenience, accessibility, and multiple customizable services, from the room selection to the amount and quality of pillows on the bed. In this context, hotels focus on technologies which establish the right level of comfort without involving personnel.
Personal driver and low-touch room entrance
Upon arrival, the guest can launch the app at the airport to be updated on the waiting car, driver, and route. If your luggage is slow, just send a text to the driver. Once at the hotel, you can go straight to your room, utilizing internal navigation, opening the door with a mobile key.
More and more hotels feature deeply integrated information technology for an effortless stay. Room service is rising to meet the digital standard. Guests download apps — for what? To relax and flick off the light on the phone. To check in on their child in the daycare center during a romantic dinner. To pay the bill and order a towel while unwinding in the tub. To decide whether to head to the beach or the pool after checking the cameras for available chaise lounges. To replace the paper Do Not Disturb sign with a single click in an application. To order dinner. And lots of other little conveniences which we don’t even notice, or maybe this information is simply inaccessible. Yet this “ideal” app delivers all hotel services directly to your fingertips.
Leaving the hotel, we can rent a car for ourselves or with a driver, indicating the date of the car’s arrival at the hotel. After signing in and filling out a couple of fields, we select the desired service from a list. Afterwards, the app will remember our choice.
A smoothly executed visit transcends branded apps and mobile sites. If you’re taking a considerable journey, your trip isn’t limited to the hotel. The app should recommend exciting events and experiences to plan during your stay, whether it’s an excursion to the theater or a safari. The hotel will take care of reservations and payments, all you have to do is decide when you want to go.
The screen displays images of the coolest upcoming events. With a seamless filter, sort events by theme, popularity, location, or any other preference. Tap the event to get more details.
“Hotel guests can benefit from the direct promotion of activities aligned with their preferences and/or previous habits if applicable — it is personalised, real-time, and creates a positive impact. The hotel itself can greatly benefit from ancillary revenues thanks to the additional services it can more easily promote to its guests.”
Samantha Noll, Business Development Manager at Novility.
The app calculates bonuses in the loyalty program, remembers your birthday, and wishes you happy holidays. The guest’s points are shown on the screen, along with a list of partners where points can be used.
Support chat with hotel staff
The application streamlines interaction with hotel staff and administration. It helps resolve tough issues. Instantaneously. The Guest Relations section in online chat rooms responds to guest complaints.
For example, we’re constantly forgetting our stuff in hotels. This might be something valuable, or maybe not so much. We enter the chat and say that we left a pair of earrings in the room. The admin sends a pic for confirmation and ships out a package.
“Interestingly, according to a recent research by J.D. Power titled “2017 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study”, hotels with their own mobile apps receive higher customer satisfaction ratings and hotel guests are naturally more loyal to the brand. With that in mind, there is great potential to further look into the benefits of hotel mobile apps — the big chains are already providing it, is there opportunity for smaller market players to tap into this too? Depending on the type of hotel guests they cater to, why not? The above segments outlined in this article provide good food for thought.”
Samantha Noll, Business Development Manager at Novility.
When it comes to luxury travel, like in other industries, the anticipation of guest needs and preferences is paramount. To that end, we can either harangue the guest with the same questions over and over, or we can guide the guest unobtrusively, presenting all the hotel’s options via an application. It’s essential to strike a balance between high-touch and low-touch splendor. There’s been plenty of research on this subject, and the number of guests expecting low-touch luxury is growing every year. People are willing to shell out money not only for opulence, but also for the extraordinary experience of a hotel stay which goes above and beyond their expectations. In this regard, the sky’s the limit for an “ideal” application’s hotel marketing potential.