Developing Your Digital Guest Strategy

By David Tossell

David Tossell, Vice President at DataArt, contributes his second bylined article to Hotel Executive, where he discusses recent changes in the digital guest experience and the leading applications that will have an impact on digital revenue.

“Since Part 1 of this article was written, the new product introductions impacting the digital guest experience have been remarkable… One truth is certainly clear – the pace of development in the digital guest experience only continues to accelerate. And, without finding a way to leverage technology, hoteliers run the risk of further losing control of their guest and seeing increased revenue erosion as apps promote off-property options.

4 Companies That Can Jump Start Your Digital Guest Experience: Fingi (www.fingi.com), iRiS (www.irisapps), Monscierge's (www.monscierge.com) & Cloud 9 Mobility.

In conclusion:

  1. The Digital Guest Experience is Here to Stay

    The perception is changing amongst hoteliers in that consumers are likely to be influenced almost equally by whether there is a Starbucks in the lobby vs. does the hotel offer the ability to order room service via their iPad. Forward-thinking hoteliers are considering the “digital guest experience” as part of their capital investment strategy. Look at loyalty apps being offered by Starwood and Hilton – keyless entry and digital checkin and checkout are only the beginning of what they are likely to offer in the coming years. Unless you believe that the iPhone is “just a fad”, the digital guest experience is moving quickly toward the mainstream as an integral part of the hospitality industry.
  2. Getting Started With Digital Guest Experience Apps Is Easier Than You Think

    Between Fingi, iRiS, Monscierge and Cloud 9 Mobility, each has a different approach to how they and come in at various price points to get started. Depending on the level of integration you are seeking and budget constraints you might have, each vendor has options that fit smaller budgets and can be upgraded over time. ..Just because you are contemplating a change in one of those systems doesn’t mean you have to wait to launch an app for your hotel.
  3. Inaction = Revenue Erosion

    As stated in Part 1 of this article, Foursquare, Urban Spoon, Yelp, and similar apps have been around and driving spend away from full service hotels – especially those where dining and entertainment options are easy for the guest to get to. And while it is difficult to quantify the lost revenue at the hands of these apps, it is safe to assume that as app adoption increases and more apps come to market, the revenue erosion will continue. Hence, there may be no better time than adding to your 2015 plans to deliver a digital guest experience that begins to recapture that lost revenue.”

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