Report paints picture of hotel, restaurant app usage

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Consumers are willing to engage with brands through mobile applications if operators can deliver differentiated value, according to the report. Photo credit: Pixabay

Nearly of a quarter of consumers (23 percent) have at least one hotel or restaurant branded app on their mobile device and 70 of users are actually using the app at least once a week, according to new research. "Get Appy: Do Consumers Use Restaurant & Hotel Branded Apps" from Oracle revealed that a majority of global consumers (57 percent) have used or are using mobile applications to engage with hospitality operators. The study polled 15,000 consumers across Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and North America. 

Increased app engagement with global consumers creates new opportunities to personalize service, incentives and menu offerings and highlights the need for modern food-and-beverage technology to deliver more meaningful guest experiences, said Chris Adams, VP strategy, Oracle Food and Beverage.

“Consumers are willing to engage with brands through mobile applications if operators can deliver differentiated value,” Adams said in a statement. “Operators that lean into the mobile opportunity for the food-and-beverage industry will have a significant competitive advantage with greater insight into service preferences and emerging menu trends.”

Hotels need to take note that overall food delivery sales grew 51 percent from August 2017 to March 2018, according to Second Measure, a company that tracks consumer spending. DoorDash, one of the largest delivery apps, has seen a notable growth in hotel orders. Between 2014 and 2018, for example, hotel orders grew 900 percent in New York City and 550 percent in San Francisco, a company spokeswoman told Conde Nast Traveler. The two largest platforms, Grubhub and Uber Eats, don’t specifically track how many orders go to hotels, but both have seen a noticeable uptick.

Last November, InterContinental Hotels Group added Grubhub to the IHG app, website and IHG Connect in-room television menu. “Up until this partnership, guests had to leave the hotel to find restaurants in local areas,” said David Canty, VP of global loyalty programs at IHG. Now, they can stay in — and even get IHG Reward Club points for ordering delivery at more than 1,000 Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites properties.

In 2016, Hyatt Centric introduced its Restaurant To Go program, which gave guests the option of either ordering in-room dining from the hotel or from a Grubhub pilot program featuring a curated list of local restaurants. Guests loved it, according to the brand, and it has since expanded the partnership to eight of its 13 hotels, including locations in Chicago, Miami Beach, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.

Hotels with mobile apps get higher customer satisfaction ratings from their guests, making smartphone technology a key part of providing good service, according to a study by market researcher J.D. Power. The largest boost on J.D. Power’s "2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study," from technology comes from mobile app adoption at 58 points, though it is down from a 65-point increase in 2017.

Because of this, Jennifer Corwin, associate practice lead for the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power, said it’s up to hotels to turn to service areas to create improvements, singling out direct bookings. According to Corwin, improvements in service should translate into stronger direct bookings, but J.D. Power's survey did not reflect these results.

Going back to the Oracle report, of the 23 percent of consumers who have download a restaurant or hotel app, two-thirds have more than three apps on their devices. One in five global consumers has at least one app for a food-delivery service and 23 percent have a booking app for hotels or restaurants on their device. 

Asia Pacific leads with 82 percent of consumers using a hospitality app at least once a week compared to 54 percent of consumers in North America. Almost a third (28 percent) of consumers have paid for food and drink from an app on their mobile device at least once with increased adoption among Asia-Pacific consumers (37 percent).