With the ubiquity of mobile technology, hoteliers can assume their guests are traveling with some form of smart device. It can be either a phone, tablet, or even both, but this situation has created expectations on the part of hotel guests. Consumers expect to seamlessly connect with the world wherever they go, on any device they may have in hand. They demand user-friendly hotel websites which empower them to compare prices, plan, and book their hotel accommodations.
A number of hotels have created downloadable native hotel apps to meet the needs of their guests. Another means for hotels to provide what the traveling public is seeking is to offer a mobile web-based site featuring a booking engine. All functionality available to web desktop users should be provided on the mobile site as well. This includes checking rates, viewing room accommodations as well as booking, paying for, confirming, and modifying reservations.
Although native apps offer hoteliers a greater degree of control over the user experience and better access to valuable customer data, those advantages come at a price. Web-based apps are much simpler to develop and enjoy greater ease of maintenance, making them more cost-efficient over time. Also, mobile websites do not require a download commitment from users. Native apps, conversely, demand users surrender valuable storage real estate on their favorite devices to the hotel’s app. Furthermore, a web-based hotel app is compatible with any mobile device. Whereas, a separate downloadable version of a native app is required for each device platform the hotel’s customers may use.
All of these considerations must be weighed carefully by hoteliers while taking into account the specific needs of the hotel and the requirements of its customers. Considering how pervasive mobile devices have become and the resulting expectations of the public, it is risky at best for any hotels to not have a website optimized for mobile as a minimum standard.
The traveling public now seems more than willing to dream about, plan the details, and make all the arrangements for their travel via mobile devices. This includes actually paying for and booking the hotel as well. It is imperative for hoteliers to offer their guests an outstanding mobile experience no matter what device they use.