Skip to main content

Integrating Mobile Technology into Customer Service

Today, 52% of the population have smartphones, of whom over 94% are expected to use smartphones in searching for local business, according to a recent newsletter I received from the California Lodging Industry Association.  Many OTAs (online travel agents such as Expedia.com and Priceline.com) and entrepreneurs are getting into the “app business,” and they are doing very well (as suggested in the Bloomberg video).  Hotels and restaurants for sure would also like to have a piece of the pie. 

Indeed, many hotels follow the SoLoMo (Social, Local, and Mobile) movement and have introduced many mobile apps.  The big hotel groups, for example, all have mobile apps, allowing customers to search and make reservations using mobile devices; but at the same time, there are also other apps for different hotel brands within the same hotel group and even apps for individual properties.  Moreover, there are concierge (service) apps for luxury and upper upscale brands.  Really?  Does a hotel group need that many apps?  Will customers get confused in front of “the sea of mobile apps?”  If people are not using those apps, how much can mobile technology help hotels improve customer satisfaction and business?

To provide customers exceptional “total guest experience,” hotels must ensure high service quality when customers search information prior to purchase (i.e., “search quality”), when they actually make a purchase and stay in the hotel (i.e., “experience quality”), and even after they leave the hotel (i.e., “credence quality”).  Most mobile apps that are available in the app store right now, however, only have one focus on either search quality or experience quality.  Personally, I have not seen a mobile app that truly integrates technology into all three stages of service quality.  As a traveler, I would prefer one powerful app that provides me the total guest experience.  With this powerful app, I can search and make reservations on my phone, check into a hotel with the same app, use the same app to request anything I need during my stay, such as wake-up calls, extra towels, and room service, and lastly use the same app to retrieve and track the information of my previous stays and/or complaints.  Am I asking for too much?

I am not sure if hotels have the mindset of competing with OTAs when they invest in mobile apps.  I hope they don’t.  Because without the big picture of providing exceptional total guest experience, they will never be able to develop a powerful mobile app that truly integrates mobile technology into customer service, and they will not be able to compete with those OTAs that are specialized in “search experience.”

Do you use any hotel (or restaurant) mobile apps?  How do you like or dislike those apps?  What can hotels (or restaurants) do to improve customers’ mobile app experience? 
 
Some relevant discussions within this blog: 
SoLoMo for Social Media Strategists 
 “SoLoMo”and Legislation
Is It a Good Business Strategy to Offer Phone-Free Discount?
Renaissance Hotels Replaced Concierge with “Navigator”

References:
The picture was downloaded from BlogOnline.co.uk

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yammer: A Social Networking Site Exclusively for the Workplace

Effective internal communications among employees are related to some desirable organizational outcomes, such as robust morale, a clear vision, low turnover, and high employee engagement. The question is what platform can serve the purpose. This ABC News video introduces “ Yammer ,” an exclusive internal communication tool for companies. A user must use a valid company e-mail address to sign up for an account. Once an account is validated, the user will be led to the company page that is pretty much like a Facebook page. The difference is that only the users whose e-mail addresses share the same domain can see the wall and communicate with each other. I have no question about whether Yammer could be a useful internal communication tool for companies, but I just wonder: how many social networking sites do people need for communication? Why people have to “create” so many platforms or channels for “effective communications”? To many people, Facebook is only for “friends,” whe

Luxury vs. Millennials and Their Technology: The Ritz-Carlton (By Julia Shorr)

Embodying the finest luxury experience, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC has been established since 1983. In 1998, Marriott International purchased the brand offering it more opportunity for growth while being independently owned and operated. They are known for their enhanced service level as the motto states, “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”. The luxury brand now carries 97 hotels and resorts internationally and is attempting to keep the aspects of luxury while keeping up with the trends of the technologically improving generations. The Varying Demographics of the Target Market The Ritz-Carlton’s typical target market includes: business executives, corporate, leisure travelers, typically middle-aged persons and elders, and families from the upper and upper-middle class section of society .   This infers a large range of types of travelers in which all are similar in that they are not opposed to spending extra for the luxurious ambiance. However, with

How to choose the best credit cards for travel (By David Mai)

  Traveling in a Post-Pandemic World If there was one thing the pandemic taught us, it was that everybody became hesitant and unwilling to travel. Shaver (2020) of The Washington Post shared an interesting tidbit in which Americans were actually staying home less during the pandemic, according to research that tracks users' smartphone data.  The quarantine fatigue affected nearly everyone who lived an active lifestyle or loved to be out and about in the world. It was simply not a safe time, and too many regulations were in place that deterred consumers from traveling for leisure. Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the travel and hospitality industry. Yet, there is no doubt that people will yearn to travel again when the pandemic is fully lifted. Around this same time, credit card companies have developed unique ways to retain business with consumers who look to maximize rewards and benefits for their journey. A Little Preparation Goes a Long Way