If you are evaluating mobile solutions for hotels, one choice you’re weighing is how a native app or mobile website can add value to your hotel. There is more to consider than just how your chosen solution looks or the features that it contains. For a mobile solution to truly be successful, it must be easily integrated into your existing systems, readily adopted by your guests, supported by your staff and built for future innovation.
Are you envisioning a mobile-optimized website or a mobile app that is downloadable from the app store? A debate is raging about whether HTML5 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. HTML5, on the other hand, is accessible on any smart device. And, with iPads using about 25% of wi-fi connections in hotels, HTML5 is attractive because of how responsive the design is, meaning that it looks great on a phone, computer or tablet.
Both native apps and HTML5 have strong selling points. But realistically, a native app is only the better option if you can drive your guests to download it. It’s a great idea if you have a strong base of business travelers and other loyal repeat guests. Otherwise, a mobile-optimized website might be the way to go.