Roger El Khoury, managing partner Neorcha, on why customised apps make investment sense.
In an increasingly competitive environment, where pressure on profitability continues to grow, leading hoteliers are dedicated to identifying ways to enhance guest experience to achieve greater operational success.
It comes as no surprise that mobile technology solutions, such as customised apps, are increasingly being recognised as the most efficient way of driving direct bookings to hotel properties.
Additionally, apps have the benefit of providing a solution that, through beacons and messaging functionality, helps hoteliers build guest profile information, which then forms part of their comprehensive customer relations management and marketing communications resources.
What’s important however, is that innovations that promise to enhance guest satisfaction and optimise business performance, offer a return on investment.
Our customisable myHotel app was inspired by a passion to connect people and enables hotels to maximise their customer experience by providing guests with access to a range of services, including pre-arrival and pre-check-in arrangements, concierge services, destination information and express check-out—all in the palm of their hand.
Central to the success of any customised app is the simple and easy interaction it facilitates between hoteliers and guests. Features such as GEO location, further maximise the effectiveness of a hotel’s marketing program through clever integration that can dynamically, and in real time, alert guests to events and promotions.
Ultimately, customised apps make investment sense, because they can be fully customised to hotel brand standards and guidelines, while delivering best-in-class customer service, through unique mobile platforms that seamlessly integrate with hotel CRM, PMS, CRS and restaurant booking systems.
Furthermore, apps can streamline hotel processes and reduce hassle for guests. A good example is mobile check-in/out, which is globally recognised as one of the most critical guest satisfaction triggers, as it’s the first and last impression the guest has of a hotel.
Many hotel companies are still struggling with this, often cumbersome, process because of legal requirements, local regulations and credit card authorisations. Mobile technology is increasingly used to enhance this check-in/out process, which has a positive impact on guest satisfaction and reduces cost. Furthermore, less paper and manpower is required once it’s automated.
In summary, customised apps enable hoteliers to reduce online travel agency costs by providing a direct booking channel that enables discounts to be applied. The platform also collects and collates accurate, rich guest data, via the online pre-checkin feature, without the need for staff involvement.
This rich data provides a multitude of valuable information that enables hoteliers to then push personalised offers and promotions.
App technology ultimately enables hoteliers to concentrate their efforts on their regular guests and/or loyalty members as well as long stayers, as they will be most receptive to the hotel app and therefore inclined to use it on a regular basis.
Many think that the primary role of a customised app is to simplify check-in, however the real goal is to make a hotel guests’ stay smarter and simpler between arrival and departure.
And the best way to do this is by integrating access to the app with hotel loyalty and privilege programmes, marketing collateral, phone and instant messaging services, location-based services and keyless entry—all of which, combined, form the critical points of the guest lifecycle.
About the author: Roger El Khoury has over 20 years’ international experience in hospitality technology and revenue management, gained in the Middle East and Europe. In 2012, he established Neorcha, with a vision of creating one of the leading mobile applications companies in the world. Inspired by data, El Khoury combines his mobile expertise with a commitment to understanding customer needs and making opportune connections, which help clients thrive and grow in today’s ever-changing technological world.