Mobile Apps for Hospitality and Travel … Getting it right.
The mobile has changed the way we travel and stay and the tourism industry is growing in leaps and bounds. People are now less dependent on “agents” to plan and confirm their travel itineraries and are using mobile apps to do the jobs and why not, each individual hotel, travel company or aggregator is doling out the goodies in tons. The war to acquire business is now fought on the mobile platform, discounts, bundled offers, and redeemable reward points are just a few incentives laid out for the discerning traveler.
To the customer the world is accessible through his phone and his expectations from the travel industry is becoming very unrealistic, with each operator vying to catch his attention the customer is “Extracting his pound of flesh” from concessions to compliments to freebies his demands are only growing.
His advantage being the ability to plan well in advance, which first brings him an incredible economic advantage, also he has “virtually” toured his destination on his mobile and knows exactly what to do when he gets there. With data and feedback driving buying and traveling decisions, today’s traveler is the most advantaged stake holder in the business.
It is imperative for anyone in the hospitality or travel business who is in the process of developing a mobile app to promote his offerings, to be complete and comprehensive so that the customer is not diverted to another site. Some of the salient features which have to be considered while creating the application are,
The app should be easy to navigate without many fancy and complicated touch points. Visuals have to be the core of the display props with an attractive gallery and a virtual tour of the facility being absolutely important. Reviews, testimonials and feedback should highlight the positive experiences to enable the customer to ‘feel the goodness.’ Finally the critical components of availability and tariffs need to be transparent and competitive and the booking process should be fast and effective.
The app has to be simple and has to be optimally informative; many apps tend to drown the customer in a deluge of information. Data from the customers experience should be analyzed to understand his preferences and patterns to firm up future offerings. The customer communications should look personalized and should mostly feature offerings which are aligned to his preferences.
Chat-bots or virtual-assistants should be designed to enhance customer engagement and information should be dispersed real time to avoid distractions. Digital tools like geographical information, utilities, places of interest, logistics, language conversion, currency exchange among others should be made available.
Needless to say that any business related to hospitality, travel and tourism should have a mobile app with advanced features offering ease of access and rich information. Though the future of the industry will be determined by the technology prevalent then for now your APP should do well to set the ball rolling.