Smartphones are becoming ubiquitous across the world. They have made life so much easier and more convenient in many ways, and they are particularly useful for travelers. Smartphones become a companion on the road, providing us with up-to-date information and a source of entertainment. It is therefore no surprise that the hotel industry is taking notice of smartphones and using them to enhance the customer experience. But how exactly is the industry going about this?
The simplest way in which hotels are adapting their mobile strategies is through creating intuitive mobile websites. Because so many people now use their smartphones to access the web, it makes sense for businesses, including hotels, to be better prepared for mobile visitors.
Hotel guests are also likely to search for hotels online when they are on the road and do not have access to a computer. By making sure that their websites are optimized for mobile devices, hotels can make the experience of finding their hotel and booking a room a lot more convenient.
Technologies like QR codes are now being put to use all over the place, and hotels are not missing out on these. QR codes provide a way to quickly use a smartphone to scan a code and the user is then sent directly to a web page to get more information.
This is being put to use by hotels in areas such as their restaurants. In some hotels, customers can now find QR codes next to menu items, which they can scan to immediately get more information about the ingredients and the preparation of the food.
Paying via smartphones is set to become one of the biggest developments in the industry over the coming years. Making payments using NFC is still in its infancy, but it is easy to see how they will take off in the near future. This is particularly useful in hotels because travelers often don’t want to carry around large amounts of cash, and paying by phone can help them to control their spending.
Smartphones are even being used in place of room keys in some hotels, and this is a technology that is sure to catch on more in the future. By getting rid of room keys and allowing guests to use their smartphones to enter and lock their doors, it is just one more way in which the customer experience can be improved.
Complete Room Control
Some hotels are now taking the idea of smartphone use in hotels to a new level. Using branded apps for devices running on iOS and Android, they are coming up with solutions that allow their guests to control almost any aspect of their stay using just their mobile devices.
- Shutting the curtains in the room
- Turning down the lights
- Adjusting the thermostat
- Changing the mood settings
- Changing the TV channel
- Activating the lifts
- Getting access to local information
- Ordering room service
The Future of Hotels
Smartphone technology is being rapidly adapted by hotels across the world in order to provide their customers with a better experience, and it is easy to see how this technology will become a lot more widespread in the future as technology improves. However, the main concern for hotels is that they manage to use smartphones to enhance the customer experience without using them as a replacement for high-quality personal service. If they get this balance right, smartphone integration in hotels is almost certain to improve the experience for all guests.
Chris McMahon is a service industry technology consultant. His articles mainly appear on service blogs where he enjoys sharing his expertise. Visit the Marriott.com website and see how they use technology to reach their customer base.