Mobile is the future of business. In recent years, we’ve seen a profusion of mobile- and app-based startups that exploded into multi-billion-dollar corporations — think Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft. And these companies are not the exception to the rule; businesses that want to survive in this new environment must adopt mobile technology to connect with their guests. Here are five reasons why mobile is a must for the hospitality industry:
Many people shy away from confrontation, even if it’s minor. If an aspect of the guest experience is subpar, most people would rather sweep it under the rug than bring it up with a staff member. In fact, according to studies in a Huffington Post article, only one in 26 dissatisfied customers bothers to say anything at all! The rest keep it to themselves, but report their negative experiences to their family and friends, effectively persuading them to take their business elsewhere. So providing them with a feedback channel through a mobile device is one sure, convenient way to remove the element of confrontation and encourage them to come forward while you still have time to resolve the problem.
When it comes to customer relations, digital communication is starting to overtake traditional avenues of dialogue. Forbes reports that, as of 2015, “more than 50 percent of customers would prefer to text with an agent over other methods of communication.” An Accenture study also found that 45 percent of customers are likely to switch brands due to inadequate mobile offerings. Simply put, make it easier for customers to come to you using their channel of choice, and they will.
With the proliferation of social media, it’s easier for people to interact with the brands they like via apps — anytime, anywhere. McKinsey studies show that people under 35 years of age spend, on average, approximately four hours every day on social media, with increasingly large chunks of that time devoted to engaging with brands. But it’s not all just about young people; the study also found that 17 percent of people older than 55 prefer social media to access information versus the telephone. All told, mobile social media is fast becoming the channel of choice for many customers, and businesses can’t afford not to connect with their guests in this way.
For many customers, different issues require different modes of communication. An American Express report states that for “difficult or complicated inquiries, almost half of consumers (46%) prefer speaking with a ‘real’ person on the phone”, while “for simple inquiries…two out of five (38%) consumers prefer using a company website or email.” This is why it’s important to give your guests options: in addition to traditional avenues, making your team accessible by mobile — be it through social media, text, or email —allows guests to decide what works best for them depending on the situation.
Research from eMarketer estimates that by 2017, “mobile travel sales will total nearly $50 billion, and account for almost 30% of all digital travel sales.” By comparison, mobile travel sales in 2011 comprised just three percent of all digital travel sales — an increase of 27 percent over six years. We can reasonably assume that this number will continue to rise beyond 2017, and with it, guest expectations that anything they want — including hotel amenities and services — is available at their fingertips. This, more than convenience, guest preference, and brand interaction, is why mobile guest communication must be a hotel standard.