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Guest Data: Are You Getting the Full Picture?

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We know why guest data is important to hoteliers; no matter how streamlined your operations, if the guests aren’t happy, nobody is happy. Information gathering has come a long way since the days hotels relied on comment cards. While those cards are not yet extinct, hoteliers have come to rely on technology for gathering, translating, and reporting guest data.

Online booking and behaviors provide insight to guest preferences and satisfaction, but without mobile, are you getting the entire picture?

A recent report by Flurry shows that mobile users are spending 86% of mobile time on apps, and only 14% on mobile web.  This means that companies relying solely on web are missing out on a huge piece of the data puzzle.

So what could mobile do for you? Here are five things that we’ve found, actionable by hotels into a better experience for all of their guests.

  1. Are your guests sharing your hotel information on their social networks?
  2. What is grabbing your guests’ attention in your app, and what are they ignoring? Better yet, which aspects of your app are bringing in the most revenue?
  3. Are guests using your app more on property or off?
  4. Are the guests in your hotel at this moment having a positive or negative experience?
  5. And in terms of all of these touch points, how is does your property or brand compare to the competition?

This is valuable information, but unless you’re utilizing mobile capabilities, getting this kind of feedback would be time-consuming and difficult, if not impossible. What could your staff do with this kind of insight into your guests’ stay? A branded mobile app is more than just a pretty toy or a new booking channel. For more information on maximizing your app power, check out this recent post from our Chief Innovation Officer.

 

 

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Maximizing App Power for Hotels

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Two of the biggest hurdles to overcome with hotel apps are adoption and retention. In January, Angie shared ideas for getting guests to download and use your branded app. This month, we hear from Ken Marold on maximizing the power of your hotel app.

Hotel smartphone apps have a unique burden in that they own a lot of power over the guest experience and subsequent loyalty. They have to intelligently address every aspect of each guest through their entire journey. Right now, you may have the OTAs or a booking app, but there’s a much bigger picture. If your app has reached its full potential, your guests will not need to leave it for their travel needs.

On the business side, approaching an app as an end-to-end experience opens up incremental revenue opportunities along the entire guest journey. Just think for a second, what services could you promote through mobile if you could combine it with a personalized guest profile?

For instance:

  •  Signature moments: Can you think of new signature moments that would be exclusive to your mobile app, something that you could use as a differentiator?
  •  Local expertise:  Individual insight means custom tailored experiences unique to each person. The one size fits all mentality is the big, dead dinosaur in the room.
  •  Elevating service levels with communication: Don’t forget about the power of a conversation, using mobile to facilitate those two-way communications opens up new streams of actionable data and a historical lens to anticipate each guests next expectation.

No single one of these is enough, but as a comprehensive strategy it is a very powerful approach. Maximizing app power is about reaching the entire guest journey. It’s about maximizing the number of connections between guests, staff, the local area and their travel beyond.

Booking is just a sliver of the guest journey; you should own the experience throughout the entire journey. Any time you break the flow of this journey in an app, you’re giving your guests an exit point, a reason to close your app, delete it, and move on to other services.

 5 Core philosophies for delivering an immersive guest experience:

  1. Curating local recommendations and local activities, attach the great stuff around you to your brand
  2. Tying in to your social media outlets and offering new ways for guests to outwardly promote your property
  3. Integrating with your current hotel systems is critical in building the kind of rich insight you need to know about each guest
  4. Embracing new layers of mobile engagement and communication between guests and staff
  5. And, of course, embedding booking and reservation services so once that guest has done everything above, they are ready to book to do it all over again.

To boil it down, maximizing app power is about creating great customer experiences through a broad range of services, targeted and tailored to each individual guest – making it familiar, comfortable, and consistent; in short, a virtual extension of hospitality itself.

 

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5 Ways to Kill Your Mobile App

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  1. Don’t use it – If you and your staff are not using your app, you are putting it at a serious disadvantage. The best way to increase guest adoption is to create a buzz, and that starts with you and your staff.
  2. Make it inaccessible – Your app should be available for use by as many guests as possible. Make it available for multiple devices. Or, as is our current focus, multi-lingual capabilities to break down any language barrier between guests and staff.
  3. Make it useless off-site – Guests are more likely to download and keep your app if you provide value beyond the stay. Your concierge recommendations, directions, and even other travel information are all functions that can be useful to guests even when they are not on your property.
  4. One-sided conversation – Provide a channel for guests to speak with your staff, instead of just using your app as a fancy marketing message. Sure, it’s useful to view spa or restaurant hours, but what if they can make reservations while they’re looking?
  5. Limit functionality – Along the same lines, try to think of your app as an extension of your hotel as a whole, rather than an extension of one department. Allowing more hotel offerings through this channel will increase guest adoption, usage, and retention, while enhancing the overall guest experience.

 

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Egalitarian Service for 3 Billion Hotel Guests

Today’s post is written by our VP EMEA, Eric Lunt.  Eric spent his early years living and working in France in the hospitality industry and has spent the last 15 years in various areas of technology, most recently with Monscierge working with international hotel brands and developing technologies to improve the guest experience. He is excited to be part of a rapidly changing cultural and technological evolution.

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For a few of us at Monscierge, this is not our first attempt at building a global software company.

Some of us will remember the frustration of trying to make software designed in America work in Europe. Something innocuous like an unfamiliar date format could bring it to a grinding halt. A truly multinational platform benefits from being designed that way from the beginning and we just need to take a peek at what’s available in the market to know how challenging this must be.

The decision to grow Monscierge simultaneously in multiple geographies and to build a platform that was both unphased by and, highly aware of, the location of its user is now revealing its full worth.

I recall a trip to sub Saharan Africa where, for once, speaking English could not get me by. It was an uncomfortable and frustrating experience for all involved and I certainly would not deliberately put myself in that situation again.

Within the developed travel market there has long been a tacit acceptance between hoteliers and their guests that as long as you speak a bit of English and we speak a bit of English then we can get by.

While this state of affairs suits we English speakers very nicely thank you, it’s not meeting the needs of the burgeoning tourism markets from China, Russia, South America and India. Neither is it providing good service to the many guests for whom English is not their first language.

Amid the array of “sexy” functionality we have built into our mobile application framework, I believe that our strength in languages might be our most valuable single capability. Any hotel mobile application should at least be able to inform and communicate with the guest in their language, until it can do this, all other attempts at improving service through that medium are superfluous. It isn’t just about translation, its about showing the guest that they’ve been considered and that they’re welcome.

The 13 languages we’ve released so far cover more than 3 billion potential travellers around the world and there are more to come. More information about the value of a multilingual product set can be found on our video case study with Novotel here:  http://www.monscierge.com/videos

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Virtual Concierge: Why Not to Depend on Outside Apps

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Last month, we talked about quality local recommendations for a Virtual Concierge. Expanding on that point, I want to explain the benefits for hotel operators in curating their own recommendations versus relying on generic apps guests may already have on their phone.

First, you should think of this as an extension of your concierge services. Even if you don’t have an on-site concierge, your staff will have the best picks for dining and entertainment.

Owning your recommendations also ensures that they are always up to date. It takes a while for user-generated apps to catch up with business closings, management changes, and hours of operation. Hotels can stay on top of these things easily.

These recommendations add tremendous value to your branded app as well, by providing extra incentive for guests to download and keep the app on their phone, by being useful and relevant even when they are not on your property, and by promoting your hotel amenities and reservation channels.

Finally, this is a chance to build loyalty with your guests. Any time you own a positive travel experience, on site or off – you are building an emotional connection with your guest, giving them a something to share with their friends, positive memories of their stay, and a reason to return.

 

 

 

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