Hoteliers: mobile critical to boosting guest experiences

Ninety-one percent of hotel executives surveyed said mobile technologies are critical to improving guest experience and cultivating loyalty, according to the "2019 Hospitality Benchmark - Mobile Maturity Analysis" study, which was conducted by Oracle. But only 69 percent were confident in their organization’s ability to adopt and deliver those mobile experiences.

“It’s clear that hotels need to provide mobile innovations to meet the requirements of today’s savvy consumers, yet some haven’t started their mobile journey,” Oracle Hospitality SVP/GM Greg Webb said in a statement. “Customers want to be able to engage with brands wherever they are—booking a room from their child’s soccer game to ordering drinks while sitting poolside at the hotel. The properties that can’t deliver these kinds of mobile experiences will quickly lose to those that can make the engagement simple and seamless for their customers.”

The study focused on three key areas of mobility:

  • The ability to offer WI-FI to guests throughout the property;
  • Guest-facing apps to enhance the customer experience; and
  • Staff-facing mobile to improve the hotel team’s daily operational workflow. 

Despite high self-ratings for mobile utilization prowess, 50 percent of respondents expressed fear that their organization would be disrupted by more mobile-friendly competitors. It was not surprising that 90 percent of the hotel executives surveyed agreed that mobile was critical to maintaining a competitive advantage, according to the report. 

Ninety percent also added that guest experience could be improved by the ability to use smartphones to manage basic services such as booking a room and managing the check-in and check-out processes. Ninety-one percent said their guest-facing mobile app is the preferred way they’d like guests to request service from hotel staff. 
In addition to enhancing guest experience, 66 percent of respondents said reducing operational costs was another major driver for embracing mobility.

Even with the high ratings for mobile adoption, there is room for improvement in elevating the guest experience and providing personalized services via mobile, according to the survey—starting with awareness. Twenty-three percent of respondents agreed that they struggle to promote their guest-facing mobile app technology. 

The survey underscores the importance of offering guests incentives, such as free perks, drinks or discounted roomservice, to download and use hotel apps. In the absence of such mobile initiatives, it is essential for hoteliers to provide guests with other communication channels, such as texting, to quickly respond to their needs.
The majority of hotel executives believe that mobile technologies are critical to guest experiences and Oracle believes that there are three areas they can focus on to make that happen: empowering guests to take advantage of self-service tools, allowing guests to communicate with the hotel through their preferred channel and continuing to invest in mobile technologies to reduce friction.
Methodology: 199 executive leaders in the hospitality industry were surveyed regarding the current use of mobile technology within their organizations. Seventy-seven percent of respondents were director level or higher, with 53 percent from companies whose annual revenue is greater than $500 million.