There are over 20,000 travel apps across the app markets today — and that number is climbing daily. But as the app market grows, so do consumer expectations. As many other companies have learned, one small misstep in the development process can mean the difference between a mobile app that generates significant revenue and one that gets ignored.
On Thursday, May 19 at 2 p.m. CDT, you can join a free webinar where I’ll be talking about what to do and what not to do when it comes to creating and maintaining hospitality apps. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at a few of the lessons I’ll be covering:
1. Make your app free if you’re selling something other than the technology.
Rather than charging up front, most hospitality organizations will get much more value out providing guests with a free app they can use to explore the property, upgrade rooms, order room service, book spa appointments and more. Just as you wouldn’t charge for guests to visit your web site, you shouldn’t charge your customers for an app that helps you sell your core products and services.
2. Take advantage of a smart phone or tablet’s capabilities.
Don’t just duplicate your web site and make your app a mobile brochure. Mobile devices have interactive features that most personal computers don’t have — like GPS, an accelerometer, cameras, QR Code readers and more. Users want an app that is fun to use, helps them during their visit, and takes advantage of their device’s capabilities. You want to create experiences that are customized to a guest on the go.
3. Keep content fresh, interesting and easy to find.
To keep people coming back to an app, it’s critical to make sure you don’t let the content stagnate. Outdated or difficult-to-find info is one of the guaranteed ways to anger guests and generate negative feedback. We constantly encourage our customers to use our CMS to regularly update the content in their apps and to look at what is resonating with users and what is falling flat. People frequently discover that what works wonders in the online world doesn’t necessarily work in the mobile world.
4. Promote your app and align your mobile strategy with your marketing goals.
We find that properties that cross-promote their app across several marketing channels, including on-site signage, social media, advertising, public relations, direct mail and customer service get the most downloads and interest.
5. Continue to innovate.
Mobile is still a young technology, and the rules are still being written. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things — you never know where it can lead.
For more tips and a look ahead, join us for an hour-long free webinar on “Going Mobile – The Future of Hospitality Apps” on Thursday, May 19 at 2 p.m. CDT. Register for the webinar on the HFTP web site.
Aron Ezra is CEO of MacroView Labs, a leading mobile software company with clients including the MGM Grand, Rancho La Puerta, Bellagio, Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood & Tampa, Elitch Gardens, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, the City of Arlington, TX and more. For more information, visit www.macroviewlabs.com or follow the company on Twitter @macroviewlabs.