All of the major hotel companies recognize the importance of mobile to their business plan, with many launching proprietary apps that aim to capture a greater share of bookings from potential guests who are glued to their smart phones. Long story short, it worked. Now, hotel companies are awash in data generated by these applications. Now, the question is, how do they use it?
“There is so much information being captured, and it’s no longer a challenge to capture it,” says Hugh Owen, SVP of product marketing at MicroStrategy, a company that helps companies turn their data into actionable intelligence. “The challenge is how you can use that data to run the organization more effectively.”
Owen notes this could mean driving margins, reducing costs, or analyzing guest feedback to provide a better experience. This data becomes doubly useful in hoteliers’ ability to access it anytime, whether via their own smartphones or a tablet. “Tablets have given team members the ability to tap into key metrics and operational costs instantaneously, which gives them the opportunity to make needed changes on the fly to become more competitive,” Dotty Harris, senior manager of product and services marketing at MicroStrategy, adds.
And this data is only going to get better. App developers are making their latest offerings more and more personalized, which, in turn, makes the apps much more efficient at collecting data. “Over the last few years, the trend in app development has been toward engaging the customer at every single point of interaction on a personal level,” Srinivas Kasthoori, head of travel, transport, and hospitality at global information technology consulting firm Mindtree, describes.
Kasthoori says that this move toward personalization is driving some of the latest innovations in the app space—the incorporation of artificial intelligence, chatbots, and voice recognition. “As companies roll out advanced mobile capabilities, you’ll see machines taking over some of the more mundane activities, such as responding to requests for extra towels,” he explains. “This saves time for associates and allows them to more fully concentrate on people-oriented tasks.”