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Transform imagination into innovation. Localz Director of Business Devlopment, Chris DeRuiter, explores the potential for growth and advancement in location-enabled mobile platforms.
Surprisingly, travel and accommodation have changed very little in the last couple of decades. Aside from decor shifts and sleek flat-screen TV’s usurping the CRTs - very little innovation has taken place.
We still wait in a queue upon check-in, carry around little plastic cards to access our rooms, call the front desk for room service and pick up pamphlets at the concierge desk when seeking offers for nearby amenities such as shopping or dining.
A couple decades ago cell phones essentially only made calls (expensively I might add). Well nowadays we carry around mini-personal computers in our pockets and purses. Why shouldn’t these be our gateway to new experiences in hospitality?
With the emergence of location-based technologies - the future is here. The opportunities for creating a truly personalized experience for weary travellers are plenty.
At a high level there are four main categories for which a strong location-enabled mobile platform could positively impact; Push Marketing, Pull Engagements, Customer Satisfaction (UX - user experience) and Operational Efficiencies. Of course, these are not silos, and driving innovation in any one of these can benefit the other.
Some other assumptions need to be clarified; for users to access these experiences, they would need to be registered users of the Brand’s Loyalty App (ex. Mobile Marriott App), have it installed on their phone and enable Bluetooth.
Your resort's first impression Why make it one where guests need to stand in a line like cattle?
Before even walking through the front doors, users could be greeted with a welcome message confirming their reservation, their loyalty point balance, and any offers or gifts of an upgrade, including pictures of the actual upgradeable room.
After checking in on their phones while sitting on a comfortable couch with a welcome drink in hand…Guests can then be directed towards their rooms via indoor navigation. No more getting lost at the resort! When they reach their door, the lock recognizes the device and unlocks.
In place of those antiquated binders full of information – there could be a “Touch here for resort information” which uses NFC technology to bring up the information specific to the hotel you are staying in; ice locations, pools, towel service, etc. Two minutes after entering the room, a Passbook/Wallet coupon could be pushed to the user for a free welcome drink at any of the resort’s bars. The coupon could be time sensitive and expire in an hour. Now that guests have seamlessly checked-in, gained insight into their resort and its amenities, and have also been surprised with a welcome gift - they are feeling special. However the journey has only just begun. It is time to use technology to amp up the Guest Experience with even more:
resort a la carte reservations from their mobile
real-time “density” data provides guests with details are how busy certain restaurants are and suggests alternatives
gift shops and on-resort stores accept frictionless mobile payments
Social Media Hotspots: where webcams are placed around the resort and can stream photos or even live video to guests’ accounts (if they have opted-in of course) Facebook, Instagram, Meerkat, Twitter. No more short-armed selfies!
Lets not forget about increased partner revenue opportunities. In place of pushy activity sales people walking around your resort - allow users to pull information to themselves. When they pass a desk for the first time a quick message will ask if they would like to learn about skydiving or Jeep tours. If they do, they can get prices, see pictures/videos/reviews, and even book their adventure.
These are just a sliver of the guest experiences that could be introduced into the modern era Resort. The only limitation is your team’s imagination.