Are you a hotel that wants to highlight and promote your property and services in a visually dynamic, technologically savvy way? There’s an app for that.
Today’s travelers are dependent on mobile devices, and hotels are constantly trying to keep ahead of the curve. Having a hotel app is an essential marketing tool that can generate incremental revenue and boost guest satisfaction scores. And AppyHotel, a new software platform created specifically for the hospitality industry, is setting out to make the app-creation process as easy as possible.
“I’ve been on the receiving end of creating an app from scratch, and I know how painful and hard it is,” says JP Dumas, founder and CEO of AppyHotel. “Hotel owners and managers are very busy people and they just don’t have time for complicated things that don’t work. From the start, the idea was to make something as easy to use as Facebook.”
Dumas, who spent years working in both the technology and hospitality industries, gathered a few friends and fleshed out the idea for a multifaceted, user-friendly platform. AppyHotel launched in beta mode last June and underwent a six-month pilot program where hotel clients were able to supply feedback and shape the outcome of the service. In the first six months, AppyHotel signed up 500 hotel clients ranging from large-scale companies such as Marriott and Starwood to smaller boutique hotels. Last week, the platform launched to the global market and is now available to hotels all over the world.
Hotels wishing to create a basic app can do so free of charge. AppyHotel has four different pricing programs to cater to a variety of property types. The free app gives clients three menu pages to showcase rooms, restaurants, and sightseeing opportunities. Other pay-per-month packages offer hotels more options for highlighting amenities, and give hotels the chance to customize and personalize the app.
“There are many, many different kinds of hotels,” says Dumas. “We wanted to be a platform that catered to everyone. A five-star hotel in an international chain will have a very different need than a bed and breakfast.”
But even if hotels chose one of the packages with a monthly fee, Dumas explains that the ROI is almost immediate. Because apps can digitally promote a hotel’s amenities and act as a guide to local sightseeing, a property can save a substantial amount on the printing costs of marketing materials. Soon, AppyHotel will also offer a “Book Now” button, where guests will have the ability to book spa treatments, make dining reservations, order room service, and schedule tours by using the hotel app. This means hotels can drive their incremental revenue and upsell directly to their guests through the mobile application.
AppyHotel provides hoteliers with resources and training tools for creating their apps, and tries to reach out personally to connect with hotels to make sure they are utilizing the service to its full potential. One thing Dumas warns against is creating an app and then failing to promote it or update it.
“We’ve created a great platform, but it’s just that—a platform,” he says. “If the app isn’t used as well as it could be, it becomes sleeping and dormant, which is of no use to the hotel or its guests.”
Right now, AppyHotel is focused on perfecting its service for the hotel industry and will launch new features such as video capability, maps, and language support. And although Appy Hotel currently only works with iPhone and iPad devices, it will be available on Android devices in the near future.
“The hotels have had a very strong hand in the development of the platform,” says Dumas. “We’re looking to add features as hoteliers request them. It’s really meant to be as simple, easy, and cost effective as possible.”