Your favorite hotel might look the same on the outside, but chances are the technology behind those walls, used to improve and augment the customer experience, is radically changing. Just a few short years ago, wedding mobile to guests’ hotel stays meant mobile booking. And, if particularly innovative, the hotel would provide remote check-in and check-out, along with the ability to order room service or schedule the use of other amenities, e.g., the gym or conference room.
Today those “perks” have become “must haves.” Now, guests expect more – much more – and hotels are aggressively trying to deliver genuine customer experiences via loyalty programs that move past the points-for-rewards stereotype. That means mobile-enabled location-based apps that weave cross-industry loyalty programs, such as restaurants’ and retailers’, together. It also means an aggressive use of social media – e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. – to help engage guests with genuine dialogue and outreach.
Hotels are taking on this challenge at perhaps the most opportune time in the hospitality industry’s history – a contradictory time of rising occupancy rates, but with rising brand loyalty skepticism too. In Bram Hechtkopf’s recent article, The Evolution of Hotel Loyalty Programs: What Guests Expect in 2013, featured on Hotel Business Executive, explores the details behind hotels’ latest mobile and loyalty efforts, citing examples of which brands are doing loyalty 2.0 best and how to reinvigorate hotel loyalty and encourage repeat stays.
How is mobile impacting your loyalty initiatives and guest expectations? And how is your hotel brand tackling these challenges? Please share your insights and comments in the section below.