Here’s a peek at the hotel guest experience in the near future. With mobile phones becoming an increasingly important marketing and CRM channel, improving technology and awareness will soon allow hotel marketers to enhance the hotel guest interaction, in a very similar way to what’s described below…
Hotel Booking and Research
Sam wants to book a hotel for an overnight stay in a nearby city in a weeks time.
He visits a website to look for hotels to see what’s available.
He sees a hotel he likes and book a room online.
As part of the booking procedure Sam is asked to enter his email address and his mobile phone number.
He’s instantly sent both an email and an SMS message confirming his booking.
The SMS message is addressed to Sam personally and contains his booking reference and the dates of his stay.
Both the email and SMS message contain a link to a specially built hotel website that can be browsed and navigated upon using any mobile phone.
This mobile website can detect what type of mobile phone is accessing it and can display the relevant content in the right screen size, so that it’s easily navigated regardless of whether Sam has a Blackberry, Nokia, Iphone, Sony Erickson, Motorola, Samsung or any other type of mobile phone.
The mobile site contains the same type of content contained on the hotels traditional website, but the content has been optimised to be viewed and displayed on a mobile phone.
The information on the site is displayed in small packets. Sam doesn’t spend hours browsing the internet on his phone, as he prefers to do that on the bigger screen size on his laptop, so instead wants his information presented to him in a straightforward format that’s easy to find and easy to read.
On his mobile phone, Sam has a range of options that he can choose to use. He can look at a range of 30 second videos highlighting the different facilities of the hotel, he can look at the various F&B venues and what he’s particularly interested in, he can download mobile vouchers that will give him 20% off of a bill of any F&B location that he likes the look of.
Sam is interested in a particular F&B location and he can choose from a couple of options.
- Check out the menu
- He’s a sports fan so he can see what games they’re showing during the dates of his stay.
- He can book a table (including one next to the TV so he’s got a great view of the game)
- He can even leave a message on the site, letting other people know that he’s going to be there and what team he supports, if other fans are showing up too.
- If he wants to eat, he can even pre-order his preferences on the menu.
- He can also recommend this location to some friends to see what they think of the place.
He decides to recommend the bar to a friend to see what they think of it and he’s instantly taken to his list of contacts in his mobile phone book. He selects the friend he wants to send the details of the store too and seconds later, Sam’s friend receives this invite into his inbox, and he gives Sam the thumbs up.
Following Sam’s friend saying he thinks that the bar looks pretty good, Sam clicks a link to request a confirmation of his table booking to be sent to his phone via either SMS, Email or picture message. Now he’s got the confirmation and contact details stored on his phone.
He’s also invited to download the mobile voucher to his phone that gives him 20% off. All he has to do is show the voucher on his phone when he’s presented with his bill and he automatically receives the 20% off.
He’s also asked if he’d like to receive a reminder SMS message of these offers during his stay, but he’s not that keen, so ticks the box titled “No Thanks”.
The day before Sam is due to arrive, he receives a follow up video message from the hotel.
“Hi Sam, we hope you’re excited about your stay with us. Please click the link shown at the end of this clip to view a list of places to visit that we think will help you to enjoy your stay.”
Sam clicks the link and is taken to another mobile website that is fully branded by the hotel.
This mobile website contains details on places that could be of interest during Sam’s stay and information that he could find important.
Recommended shopping malls, local beauty spots, ‘handy hints’ such as the average prices for taxi rides and meals, places to take children, local music events etc.
The Arrival and Stay
A few days later, Sam lands at the airport, he shows his taxi driver the location and map of the hotel that he’d previously requested to be sent to his phone. He also checks the rate for his cab ride against the recommended price he should be paying in his handy hints section on the hotel mobile website, to make sure he’s not being taken advantage of.
Upon check in at the hotel, Sam’s asked to swipe his phone over a reader at the front of desk, the receptionist smiles and informs Sam, that during his stay, he won’t be issued a key card, but instead he can swipe his phone over a sensor next to the door of his room to get in.
Sam’s also informed that if he’s interested, he can turn on the Bluetooth settings on his phone and he’ll be sent a video of potential places of interest that he could enjoy during his stay.
Sam’s already found his places of interest, so doesn’t turn on his Bluetooth settings, but he’s glad that he’s got that option should he want it.
When Sam gets to his room, he sees there’s a flyer containing details of some discount offers at the Spa in the hotel. Using his cameraphone, Sam takes a picture of a QR code, a 2d barcode about an inch high and wide, that’s shown next to the ad on the flyer, and seconds later Sam receives a call from the Spa, thanking him for his interest and asking if there’s a time he’d like to book his relaxing massage.
Later that evening, after his massage and the visit to the bar to watch his team win for a change, Sam decides he’d like to head out for some more fun before his busy day tomorrow.
He’s not sure of where to head to next, so pulls out his phone and checks his SMS inbox, where he’s saved the message with the link to the hotel mobile website.
He visits the mobile website again and heads to the section that lists local places of interest. The mobile website asks Sam “Would like to search for places of interest in your immediate area?”
Sam clicks ACCEPT to turn on his Location Based settings. The site instantly refreshes and he’s shown a page listing of a number of different points of interest within a 10 mile radius of where he is.
Bars and restaurants are at the top of this listing, as the site remembers that these were of particular interest to Sam the last time he visited the site.
To his surprise and delight Sam’s also asked if he’d like to check to see if any of his friends stored on his Google contact list are in the nearby vicinity? Sam clicks yes and seconds later their names appear along with arrows hovering above their location in the map of his surrounding area.
Sam sees an old friend he didn’t know would be in the area, and clicks on their name to send them an instant message letting them know that he’s just around the corner and that they should come over and join him.
Sam’s friend heads over to join him and decide where to head to next.
They see in the bar, that there’s an invitation to SMS their names to 6625 if they’d like to receive VIP entry at the hotel nightclub and be able to jump to the front of the queue.
They’re not sure if they’ll like the music at the club, but they can hear it by taking a picture of another QR code that’s on the flyer for the nightclub.
Sam takes a picture of the QR code and this triggers an SMS message sent to his phone, that when he clicks the link, starts playing a 30 second clip of a selection of some of the music the club will be playing that evening.
Sam and his friend like what they hear, so they take advantage of this offer and receive their Queue jump tickets as SMS messages to their phone.
They head to the nightclub and show their messages to the door staff who scan the screens of their phone to allow them entry.
Inside the club, the DJ’s playing a song that Sam loves, but doesn’t know who’s it by.
To find out, he calls a songfinder number on his phone and holds it up to a speaker for 5 seconds. At the end of the 5 seconds the call ends and Sam’s instantly sent a link that tells him the name of the song and who’s it by and that he can click on the link at the bottom of the message that’ll take him to the page on the Amazon.com mobile site where he can buy it over his phone.
Check Out and Post-Stay
The next morning Sam wakes up and gets ready to check out of the hotel.
He sees there’s a form on his bill asking him to provide some feedback. This form is different though, as he’s asked to SMS his thoughts and feedback into a Shortcode, 6626 and this feedback, after being carefully moderated for inappropriate language, will appear on the hotel’s blog.
An hour before Sam’s flight, he receive a final SMS message from the hotel.
“Sam, we sincerely hope you enjoyed your stay. Please use this code XDF$352 to get 25% off of your bill or a free upgrade should you wish to visit us again. We hope you have a safe trip and we look forward to seeing you again soon.”
Sam can’t wait for his next trip!
Note: While the above is merely an illustration of the possible guest interaction and mobile experience, marketers will realize that the possibilities of the technology previewed above are virtually limitless. What’s even more exciting, though, is the fact that the building blocks to such solutions are already available…all you need to do is use them to build the optimal solution to fit your needs.
About the author: Matt is a contributing author at www.HoteleMarketer.com. Currently based in Dubai, he is a Mobile Tech Enthusiast and Expert, with over 10 years of experience providing end-to-end and creative mobile solutions. Matt’s company, PureMobile, are a mobile solution provider that use SMS, the mobile internet and much much more to help brands achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. Find out more at www.puremobileonline.com