The advancements in mobile technology mean that more and more people own a smartphone. Mobile integration has impacted several changes in key industries. From e-commerce to social media, the proliferation of smartphones has transformed how industries do business. For hoteliers, simply offering free Wi-Fi will no longer attract the smartphone-toting traveler.
These days, the tech-savvy, highly-connected traveler performs all necessary details of their trip using their smartphone. From booking hotel rooms to flights and finding relevant travel information, everything can be accessed with a few taps and swipes.
Hotels must remain at the forefront of adopting burgeoning technology to continue attracting tech-savvy travelers looking to stay conveniently connected.
Here are several key trends hotels need to adopt to remain competitive.
1. Introduce shared workspaces
With millennials entering the peak of their purchasing power, hotels will do well to implement amenities that cater to the flexibility, personalization and, most important of all, the connectivity that these constantly connected travelers crave.
Access to the high-speed Internet remains a priority for tech-savvy millennials, as many will be seeking opportunities to perform remote work wherever their destination is.
Catering to the “laptop and latte” traveler will require hotels to introduce shared workspaces, a quiet work environment that still encourages interactions and network opportunities with similar, like-minded guests.
2. Provide a mobile-friendly website
The maturation of app technology has given rise to many highly-connected travelers first turning to their smartphones to make hotel bookings.
Reports from Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity and other top Travel Websites highlight the increase in hotel bookings occurring on mobile devices.
It’s convenient, making travel booking on-the-go a cinch. Many smartphone-toting travelers book on their way to work or during their lunch break or even while laying in bed.
Guests want access to a hotel website that is mobile optimized, easy-to-use, fast-loading and modern.
Outdated hotel sites with unresponsive designs will simply turn away potential customers. When designing your hotel website, various factors will play a role, but the main sought-after features tech-savvy travelers want are responsive design, intuitive technology, and high processing speeds.
3. Prioritize connectivity
Connectivity is key for hotels to cater for the smartphone generation. Travelers hooked on technology, particularly mobile devices, seek opportunities to employ the ability of their smartphones to conveniently manage their hotel experience.
Smartphone-enabled guests want to be able to check in through their mobile device, stream Internet radio in their rooms, and even control the temperature via a smartphone app or a hotel-provided tablet.
Some hotels are already adopting emerging technology to offer complete mobile-integrated control of the hotel experience — apps to dim the lights in the room, touch panels on the wall to controls curtains, and even unlocking hotel room doors using smartphone technology, bypassing the need for a hotel key or card.
4. Cater to the social media savvy guest
Smartphone-toting travelers do more with their mobile devices than simply book rooms or dim lights. One of the many ways that smartphones have transformed society is the instant gratification of photo-enabled social media.
It has become a norm for many digitally-connected travelers to turn selfie photography as a way of documenting their whole trip, from their hotel experience to the destination’s iconic landmarks.
Hotels will do well to establish partnerships with local tour groups or top local photographers to enable the photo-obsessed traveler many opportunities to indulge in their desire to capture lifelong memories through their smartphone.
5. Offer tactical offers and loyalty programs
Hotels can encourage brand loyalty with the ever-connected traveler through discounted packages and exclusive loyalty programs. Hotels that reward travelers when they book through their website or app have proven to be popular. Particularly if these rewards come with the previously mentioned tactical offers.
Another way hotels can employ their mobile-friendly website or app is by providing unique curated guides to make trip planning easier.
This concerted effort will be appreciated by the tech-savvy traveler as they can access insightful features and guides directly from their smartphone.
These days, smartphones are enabling the modern traveler greater flexibility when it comes to booking, planning, and organizing their trips.
As travelers are now capable of planning and booking their trip through their smartphone, hotels must use these opportunities to market themselves to remain competitive and garner the undivided attention of the digital-savvy traveler.
Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels.
He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain.
Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.”