“Adapting to the digital age is difficult in any industry. It’s risky, it’s scary and it’s easy to sit back and watch the other guys try it first. But today, three incentives have emerged which should make it easier for hoteliers to embrace digital; this new study shows how the right mobile technology could save dollars, make dollars, and improve guest loyalty” Professor Ian Millar, Head of Information Technology at EHL (Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne, named the world’s top hotel management school in 2013.)
HITEC 2015 is underway with a bang, and the first day brings with it a new YouGov study showing how most Americans now want mobile tech inside their hotels – and it seems many are prepared to pay extra for the privilege.
Commissioned by iRiS Software Systems, a staggering nine in ten (89%) hotel guests surveyed by YouGov across North East America, say they want stay-enhancing tech; and it looks like time and convenience are the driving forces behind it. The same number said hotels these days have at least one thing about them that wastes their time, with check-in queues and key card problems, cited as major culprits.
Questioned further, nearly two-thirds (60%) thought a mobile check-in service, being able to use smart phones as keys, and ordering room service on mobile devices would save them time, and nearly all of them (92%) said they’d make use of any minutes saved by hotel technology.
And that could mean extra revenue for hoteliers. Examples of using that extra time include planning future bookings at the same hotel for over a fifth of guests, while ordering a drink at the bar and making restaurant reservations are top contenders for others.
Jeremy Ward, former President of HTNG and current COO of iRiS Software Systems commented: “The industry should see this as an incentive. It’s not to say turning your hotel digital is easy, but the type of technology the research shows people want certainly isn’t the stuff of Star Trek or other famous sci-fi movies. It’s a powerful encouragement when you know there’s a demand, and when it seems many guests would pay extra for it. In fact, the results say nearly half (47%) would accept higher rates if those dollars included reliable tech.”
For the guests who responded to the YouGov study, nearly half (45%) said a good experience with stay enhancing tech would make them more likely to post a positive review on TripAdvisor, while well over a third (39%) said they’d be more likely to book with a hotel offering mobile check-in over others that didn’t; and the same applies for a quarter when it comes to hotels offering mobile key technology.
But do happier guests, prepared to spend more money, mean hoteliers can expect to save money too?
Jason Jefferys, CEO of iRiS Software Systems believes yes: “The research suggests good mobile technology, which saves guests time, will build customer loyalty. It presents evidence of guests preferring to book through hotel-owned apps rather than via commission hungry OTAs. If you were thinking about introducing this type of service then hopefully these results will mitigate the perceived risks and be enough of a nudge to help you go for it!”
Jason Jefferys is a serial entrepreneur in the digital marketing space. He has grown companies from inception becoming multi-million pound revenue generating enterprises. Having spotted an opportunity to create a global business to deliver guest facing applicants for the hotel and hospitality sector, Jason has dedicated his time and effort to growing iRiS to become the world leader in this space.