This is an excerpt of our free Definitive Guide to Guest Feedback for Hoteliers. CLICK HERE to download the full guide.
Today’s travelers expect a seamless digital experience and access to information around the clock. With the prevalence of smartphones, travelers now use mobile devices to do more than research and book travel. They also use their mobile devices to plan entire itineraries, research destinations while on the road, purchase in-destination activities, and share their experiences with their friends and family.
Taking digital surveys a step further, a mobile solution that is easily accessed and used by every staff member is the ideal channel to optimize the connection between the hotel and guest. Hoteliers can communicate with their guests via the preferred method of communication. Guests can leave feedback from anywhere in the hotel, at any time of the day or night. Also, a mobile solution like a native app or mobile website can be both a 1:1 connection between hotelier and guest and a back-end ticketing system so that hotel staff can assign tasks amongst themselves. Hoteliers can make sure that guest feedback never gets lost in translation, and ensure that all necessary follow-up is completed.
In total, the use of a mobile solution represents a more efficient way to operationalize guest feedback. But before you can get started, you need to evaluate your options and pick the right solution for your hotel.
Should Hoteliers Invest in a Native App or Mobile-Optimized Site?
A debate is raging about whether mobile web or native apps are best for your guests’ mobile experience. Traditionally, a native app provides the best user experience on a smartphone since it can use the features of the phone, such as GPS. However, native apps have two major drawbacks: developing for both iPhone and Android can be time-consuming and expensive, and getting guests to download an app when they might just be staying in your hotel for two or three nights can be an inhibitor to active use.
A mobile-optimized website, on the other hand, is accessible on any smart device. It’s also essential, according to Google’s 2014 Traveler Study, because users who have already downloaded a hotel’s app continue to use the site as a result of their natural interactions with search engines. Also, with iPads using about 25% of wi-fi connections in hotels, a mobile-optimized website is attractive because of its responsive design, meaning that it looks great on a phone, computer or tablet.
Both native apps and mobile-optimized sites have strong selling points, and in fact, it’s not an either-or question. Ideally, all hotels should invest in both a native app and a mobile-optimized website.
On the other hand, for the hotelier with limited resources, here’s a good point: a native app is only a good investment if you can drive your guests to download it. It’s a great option if your hotel is a large global brand with a large base of loyalty club members. Otherwise, focus your resources on providing an outstanding mobile web experience.