Hotels are growing more and more complex as technology gets better and better. Gone were the days where the guest list was on a piece of paper. Now, every hotel that wants a customer needs a hotel app to simplify business operations, especially for the front-of-the-house (FOH) team.
If you’re planning to deal with different clients, a hotel app should give you features that can simplify how you do work. Here are 5 features that hotel apps should have today so you can make the most out of your software investment.
1. In-App Booking and APIs
For starters, a hotel app that aims to collect room reservations needs to have an in-app booking engine. Even if you use a third-party booking service, you will need a way to interface via API with your booking engine, also to send bookings confirmation to your guests.
You want to make sure that you can secure hotel guest information. Their details are crucial towards gaining the trust and loyalty of your guests, especially if you’re not a chain hotel. These details contain everything from financial information to guest requests, so you want to keep it working.
If you’re planning to use your own booking client, it’s best to incentivize customers with it. Add a loyalty program that will ensure your customers get something extra with your app. Give them rewards points or even additional discounts if they do it straight with you. Add virtual check-in and check-out to make everything easier too.
2. Loyalty Program Management
Speaking of loyalty programs, you want a hotel app that offers a dedicated tool to ensure customer satisfaction, such as feedback collection, messaging feature to get in touch with hotel staff and, above all, a loyalty program management feature. Every hotel needs to make sure to create long-time customers who can provide higher lifetime value per pax. A loyalty program feature can make your life much easier.
With many loyalty programs, you want to make sure that customers would want to keep using your services. Many services, for example, offer seamless integration that allows users to keep tabs on their points, how they earn them, and the rewards they can get.
You also need to make sure that the rewards are worth it for your customers. For example, some rewards offer one-of-a-kind services to those in the loyalty program, including access to a specialized hotel assistant for mobile check-ins. You can even give them a way to use points for discounts on their next room and access to unique facilities in the hotel.
3. User-Friendly Interface
One internal feature that you want in your hotel app is a seamless, customized and user-friendly interface. This might look weird, as most interfaces are not a feature but rather a design decision. Regardless, a good interface is beneficial not only to your clientele but also to your staff too.
For starters, you want to have a bug reporter feature that allows everyone to report a potential app issue or service failure. These bug reports can help simplify matters within the business, especially if your employees are having some trouble with the system. You can also have a bug bounty program for your client app, giving points to customers if they find potential issues with your app or failure in supplying hotel services.
As for the interface, you want everything to be easy to navigate for your team. You want to have buttons that use icons and text, making a simple interface without unnecessary elements. Be consistent with your design, button sizes, and colors too.
Use typography to create a clear hierarchy for the app. Make it scalable and responsive, especially if you provide a mobile client for your hotel app. Anticipate people’s goals and use the absolute minimum number of elements to do the job.
4. Hotel Contacts and City Guide
Having hotel contacts is a must in a hotel app. Whether it’s for you or your customers, you want to provide the correct contact details that can help improve overall satisfaction with your service. The contact details should include everything, from contact numbers to email and company name if part of an external service or subcontract.
For example, it’s a must for customers to always have access to your reception desk contact details. This can help simplify bookings and answer customers’ burning questions if the inquiry is not a part of the FAQs. Having a section dedicated to the front desk and all the extra services you provide can help them see what you offer.
Having a hotel app means having all the information for your guests, and a city guide feature will give you that. It will help guests find restaurants, attractions, tours, and other points of interest during their stay. This will not only make your FOH team’s job easier but the guests’ as well.
Most hotels provide peripheral services to their customers. These include shuttles, ticketing to nearby amusement hot spots, taxi services, restaurant partners, and more. Have these numbers ready in case customers want other experiences from your hotel. You can even add a surcharge on the external booking for extra income.
Having a city guide feature will also give your hotel an advantage over other hotels. If you’re planning to have a city guide feature, make sure it’s regularly updated. That way, your customers can find updated information on the city they’re visiting.
5. Guest Room Layouts
One must-have for a hotel app for your staff and guests is room layouts, including room information for each one. This is a fantastic way to market your rooms, rates, and the amenities of each room, especially if you have themed styles. For your staff, this allows them to track the status of the rooms too.
For client hotel apps, you want to have high-quality photos of the room, together with a small layout on the side if possible. Use professional copy to talk about the room, its significance, and the experience people can expect. Include relevant information so customers can get an informed decision.
6. Concierge/Room Service Booking
Room services are one of the most crucial features of any hotel app because your guests need them. Room service affects customer satisfaction and can make or break reviews, especially for bed and breakfast hotels. You need to be able to send push notifications about room services, such as laundry, room service, and housekeeping.
If your customers book directly with you, you need to have in-app room service. Again, this is where a lot of hotels go wrong. They focus on the FOH side of the business, neglecting the backend.
Guests want to be able to book room service right from your app. They need to be able to go online, order room service and pay for it all through their app.
This is a good way to encourage the reservation of room services, considering people often forget to do so. However, making it a feature on your hotel app can help remind customers and make the process simpler.
The Bottom Line
The difference between a good hotel app and a fantastic one is in the details. You want to provide a good, simple, and engaging client-side app and an easy-to-use app for your team. These features for both customers and staff alike can help simplify your business operation and give everyone a more enjoyable experience.
Manet is a fully customisable digital concierge app allowing hoteliers to shape their guests’ experience inside the hotel as well as outside the hotel, in the hotel’s destination.
Article by Chatty Garrate – Manet blog contributor