Why Business Travelers Are Choosing Hotel Apps
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.
As technology continues to advance and the hotel industry continues to innovate, hotel apps are becoming more and more popular among business travelers.
According to a recent survey of 800-plus North American business travelers conducted by the Global Business Travel Association's (GBTA) Foundation in partnership with Best Western Hotels & Resorts, 61 percent of road warriors have downloaded at least one of the seven major hotel chains' mobile apps in the past year.
What's more, more than one-half of those business travelers have at least two apps, while one-quarter of them have downloaded at least three.
As GBTA Foundation Director of Research Monica Sanchez points out, the increased popularity equates to opportunity for the hotel industry.
"Hotels have room to expand the capabilities of their mobile app as well as promote increased awareness of those capabilities as the interest is there," Sanchez said in a statement. "In the future, hotels could invest in innovative new technologies, but should also continue to focus on improving existing amenities, especially Wi-Fi as that remains most important for business travelers."
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The GBTA study found that business travelers are most often using their hotel apps to check a reservation status, manage their loyalty accounts and book a stay. Since most if not all hotel apps allow users to complete the aforementioned tasks, hotels must search for new ways to stand out.
What Do Road Warriors Want?
While the ability to book a room and subsequently check in from a smartphone undoubtedly draws business travelers to hotel apps, there's a slew of other innovations that this group is seeking.
Based on the GBTA Foundation's research, regular power and USB outlets are at the top of the list, with 35 percent wanting more places to charge or connect their devices. Streaming services like Netflix and in-room chargers for devices are also high on business travelers' priority list.
Trailing those innovations is mobile room entry, which is yet another reason it makes sense to download a hotel app. While not every brand has rolled out keyless entry, loyalty programs including Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton HHonors already allow members to unlock their room from their smartphone.
There's also considerable interest in self check-in and check-out kiosks as well as online mobile check-in and check-out, both of which speed up the reservation process for busy road warriors.
Is a Hotel App Right for You?
There are a lot of perks that can come with downloading a hotel chain's mobile app, but perhaps none more important than free Wi-Fi in some cases. According to the GBTA study, a majority of respondents indicated that they are "more likely" or "much more likely" to book directly in exchange for free Wi-Fi or high speed Internet in the future.
Although not all hotels require guests to sign up for loyalty programs or download an app to access the Internet from their room for free, newer innovations including online check-in and keyless room entry will likely require it.
If those features are important to you, now's the time to jump on the bandwagon.
More by Patrick Clarke
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