The hotel and hospitality sector has gone through a sea change in recent times and the competition to claim a slice of the pie has intensified among hotels, hostels, and accommodation providers.
It is estimated that in the USA alone, the hotel industry will generate almost $650 billion in 2018. Hence, if you want your hotel to have the reservation ledger perpetually full, booking facilities should be put in the palms of prospective clients – literally through a hotel booking app!
Hotel booking mobile app – A necessity
With a mobile app driving your accommodation business, the benefits are multi-dimensional, from the viewpoint of your hotel’s profits as well as guests’ convenience. More and more people today search for hotels online and make an online booking through a apps.
So, why should you have a highly functional mobile app for your hotel?
Enhancing Guest reservation experience
Hotel booking app greatly simplifies pre-reservation experience. Apps enable guests to shortlist rooms as per convenience or budget and have complete booking and hotel information at the touch of a finger.
Helping to structure personalized services
An app helps track the behavioral pattern of guests, and collect vital information on guest preferences. With data, you will know which areas of your business needs improvement and what should be your approach to clock more rooms.
Providing the best of services at cost-effective tariffs
Based on feedback from your guests on apps, you can launch new services to maximize customer satisfaction. This will take you ahead of your competitors. Mobile apps for hotel industry help to establish personal communication with guests and opens the channel of personal communication & support.
Build customer loyalty
The world today is a global village and you are bound to get guests from all corners of the planet. So, more loyal customers and repeat bookings you have, better will be the profits. To cater global citizens, an app will multi-language features will be super.
Now that you know what magic an app can create for your hotel business, here are some must-have features for your hotel booking app:
Features for every hotel booking app
Even though all hotels are unique in their own way, there are some standardized features that are common in almost all the mobile apps that process hotel bookings.
These are the features that are mandatory in hotel apps;
A mobile app for hotel should allow potential guests to search for available rooms on selected dates and make the necessary bookings. To enhance customer experience, incorporate additional functions like saving the booking in the app for future reference, repeat bookings and reserving tables in the restaurant. Small add-ons like being able to order food, or having a bottle of wine delivered on arrival are small quirks that will get you ahead of the competition.
Every hotel management app can use reviews management feature to help father reviews and feedback from guests. This is especially important for entrepreneurs building hotel booking aggregators. Though this looks simple to look at, the review management platform can be quite compress.
Have a rewards scheme that is not only limited to hotel bookings but also applicable for downloading the app and using it. For example, you might offer a special rebate on the first booking made through the app. It goes a long way to personalize customer experience as well as increase customer loyalty. Include submission of reviews in the rewards scheme and the positive ones can be shared on social media platforms as a part of your marketing strategy and to create more interest in your app and services.
Never compromise with quality! Hire the best mobile app developers for your hotel booking app.
These are features that will give a sharper edge to your hotel booking app.
Uploading holiday snaps
A photograph speaks more than a thousand words. Incorporate features when you opt for mobile app development that allows guests to share their own photos and experiences on the app. This is in addition to the hotel and room photos on your apps. The photos of your guests will add credibility to the actual services offered by you and will lead to increased footfalls and reservations.
Holiday information and guide
This is a bit complex but will add authority to your mobile app. You can provide information on local events and attractions in your area as well as updates of your hotels. It will help potential guests to stay consistently connected to your hotel and the app will be like a constant travel companion. It will offer value to your app and make it stand out.
Your mobile app developer must integrate features like filters, intuitive calendar, and calendar integration to add more value to your product.
Now that we have a basic understanding of how a hotel booking app looks like, let’s learn what kind of apps can be created to generate busines.
Developing a mobile app for hotel- Best options
Developing a mobile app for hotel depends greatly on what you have in mined Basically, there are three different categories when it comes app tech for accommodation providers :
This is the most powerful of hotel booking app. The app is linked to an online hotel booking service or aggregator. When a potential guest searches by destination, what appears on the screen is a list of hotels with various price options from different online booking services. Booking aggregators are expensive to build and require big spend on APIs.
Hotel chain app
This app is for major hotel chains where one app unites all resorts and hotels in different locations. There are core hotel booking functionalities in these apps and they go a little beyond making bookings and making payments. Bookings can be made across hotel chains, cancelled, modified or transferred subject to vacancies. Guests can log in for special services and go through remote check-ins on arrival at the destination and much before they reach the hotel.
The Hybrid Approach
The hybrid approach to app development combines both the processes mentioned above. It allows travelers to check and choose from a leading online hotel booking service while going through exclusive offers. It is ideal for those who own more than one hotel and are on a small budget . These apps can be made as diverse as required to fit your app vision.
The app development approach you opt for depends on your niche in the hotel industry. Sometimes, hostels and hotels don’t even process payments online but ask guests to pay at the reception.
Android, iOS or both? This iOS and Android development future recommendations can help you decide your hotel’s app platform.
Development of hotel booking app
As seen before, the spadework for developing a hotel booking app has to take in various factors. Given here are some of the critical aspects in the development of hotel booking app.
Unique Value Proposition or UVP has to be considered first to succeed in developing an app for a certain niche. These include:
Last-minute booking deals – This is a critical UVP widely used on most hotel booking platforms. Experiences too are widely sold along with rooms nowadays .
Room sharing and apartment rental – This niche has been made very popular by Airbnb. Both these models are comparatively new in mobile apps for hotel industry.
Admin Panel is required to smoothly manage any mobile or web application. It is an integral part of a hotel app regardless of it being for a hotel chain or aggregator. It is required for managing listings and keeping track of important data related to guests and hotel services.
Minimum Viable Product MVP and the features that have to be incorporated have to be decided after careful thought. The Minimum Viable Product for a hotel app include –
- Analyzing the online travel market.
- Deciding on the app distribution area
- Choosing a model for the app
- Finalizing the business objectives and expectations
- Selecting the app development agency
- Deciding on a marketing strategy
- Launching the app in selected markets
This will form the skeleton framework of the mobile app and will be indicative of where to start.
New User Registration is a basic feature. On the other hand, visitors should be allowed to utilize all the core functions of the app in a guest mode. If not, the conversions will be lower than expected. Further, a user-friendly approach is to have several registration modes – email/password, social media account for example.
Accommodation booking screen should be simple without being cluttered with unnecessary details. All appropriate fields required for booking should be included. Have a map that enables location tracking of your hotel in the accommodation booking screen.
Flexible filters in a mobile app for hotel increases ease of booking. Guests should be able to quickly find the required accommodation through definite filters such as price-range, booking plan, type of room and others instead of having to go through everything on offer. Filters should be as flexible as possible.
Accommodation details screen enables guests to get a closer look at the room they are going to book and the facilities on offer in them. Hence include such critical parameters as a photo gallery, price, hotel facilities and policies, sharing button, call-to-action button and favorite button. These is information that travelers usually want to know before hitting the “Book” button
Smooth checkout process is vital for enhanced customer experience. There should be several payment options. Once payment has been made, details of booking should pop up on the screen and confirmation message should be received through given email and mobile phone number.
Flexible cancellation policy gives users a protected feeling should they have to cancel a booking made on the app in case of an emergency. A user-friendly cancellation policy increases the credibility of your establishment.
Flexible push notifications that are appropriate and personalized make for a better user-friendly hotel booking app. Incorporate check-in/check-out alerts, special deals, offers and discounts, and interesting places and activities nearby as a part of push notifications.
Built-in suggestion engine boosts conversion rates. However, suggestions algorithms are quite complex and require considerable outlays of financial investments and time. Top mobile apps for hotel industry have this feature as standard.
Mobile apps offer the best opportunity to attract, engage and stay connected with guests, considering the cut-throat competition in the hotel industry today and the challenges being faced by hotel owners to keep the bottom line healthy. You can establish a personal rapport with guests and provide all information in one place. In short, a hotel booking app will grow your profits.
Developing a mobile app for hotel is a complex and time-consuming and requires the expertise of seasoned mobile app developers. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your plans and get a custom estimation for your project.