In today’s world, consumers have a great number of options to choose from. This is a great challenge for businesses as far as guest retention is concerned.
There are a lot of offers, discounts, and competitive prices on the market and these compel consumers to consider switching to other brands. Brand loyalty is gradually becoming a difficult task to achieve.
The primary goal of every business is to make a profit. For this to be achieved, the customer can’t be left out.
Any business that doesn’t know the value of its customers and ignore them in its decision-making process will only be daydreaming as far as achieving its primary goal (making profit) is concerned.
It is, therefore, crucial that as a business seeking to achieve great feats and stand out amongst the lot, guest retention and loyalty are of great priority to you.
There are several avenues through which this can be achieved – one of which is a mobile app.
Why You Need a Business App For Your Business
Studies show that mobile app downloads amounted to 143.7 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach 297.8 billion by 2023.
Isn’t that quite a number?
90% of the time people spend on mobile devices is spent on apps. Revenue from mobile apps totaled over 365 billion U.S dollars in 2018 and is estimated to hit 935 US dollars in 2023.
Mobile apps are therefore without any doubt a crucial factor in the success of your business.
There are quite many advantages to having a mobile app.
It gives a competitive advantage.
It helps establish brand and recognition.
It makes the business visible to the customer all the time across the world.
It also helps increase sales.
It is also cost-effective in the long run
It helps in customer retention and loyalty
Developing a mobile app can help you win the heart of your guests and ensure their preservation and commitment, as well.
Having a mobile app can significantly help you win the heart of your customers. One of the critical factors that drive guest retention is customer satisfaction. As long as a customer is happy with your services, they will be willing to do business with you.
About 52% of customers will buy more from a company after a positive customer service experience.
One of the most effective ways to meet and exceed the customers’ expectations and ensure their satisfaction is through a mobile app.
How a Mobile App Makes All the Difference in the Hospitality Industry
A useful and excellent mobile app that offers customer time effectiveness, convenience, push notifications, loyalty programs, reduced cost of a transaction, customer support services, and user-friendliness, amongst others. Mobile apps can even be integrated into your point of sale system, so you always have your data accessible from one place.
These are some of the critical things that a customer looks out for in every business. Once you effectively meet their needs, you win their heart.
The key ways a mobile app can help you retain your guests is by offering:
Time is a precious commodity and, therefore, is treated with a high level of premium, especially when it comes to hospitality.
The days where people will want to go and wait in line to book a room at a hotel or make reservations at a restaurant are long gone. If you can’t save them time while booking or finding their way around your establishment, they will switch to a business that can.
People want to do that from the comfort of their home, during commutes, whenever they want.
When you have a mobile app that supports reservations, orders, booking, and more, that’s precisely what you are offering to them—the opportunity to make reservations on the fly.
You’re offering efficiency, and you’re making sure you don’t waste their time. They will need just a few minutes to order for a meal from a restaurant or make reservations or book a room at a hotel.
As long as you strive to offer them the best, they would have no reason to leave.
Another important factor that drives guest retention is convenience.
When people have to go through stress or unpleasant situations to do business with you, you will lose them.
Don’t forget that the options they have are innumerable.
It is, therefore, necessary that you try everything possible to make the customers’ experience with your brand a stress-free one.
Hotels and hostels can choose to develop a bespoke mobile app that will offer what their guests are after. The guests can book rooms, use self-check-in or self-check-out, set up light and temperature preferences for their rooms, even use a digital concierge, all from their phones.
Guests can choose to opt-in to all these features and receive updates and vital information concerning the activities of your establishment right to their phones.
Another feature that a mobile app offers that can help you retain your guests is the loyalty program.
It will amaze you to know that up to 80% of customers will stick with any hospitality brand or restaurant that offers loyalty reward programs. And 70% are more likely to engage in a loyalty program as long as it is accessible through their mobile device.
Through the mobile app, you can give out discounts to customers who have been patronizing your brand for quite some time.
The mobile app can also include a gamification strategy – where customers are allowed to earn reward points or stars that they can redeem with other services.
This gamification strategy has helped Starbucks earn the loyalty of most of its customers.
Reduced Cost of Transactions
The expenses guests end up incurring in doing business with you is another factor that affects their decision to come back.
It is less likely for guests to come back if they have to spend more than necessary to book a room or make reservations with your establishment.
Imagine a guest drives a long way to your hotel only for him to be told all the rooms are occupied. He has to drive to a different hotel – another cost – to get a room.
Do you think this person will ever come back to the hotel?
This is what a mobile app will help you avoid.
Using the mobile app to book rooms or make reservations helps reduce the cost of 3rd party service providers and possible issues in the process.
It is more likely that a guest will return again and again if the total amount he will spend when he chooses you over your competitors is less expensive.
Customer Support Services and User Friendliness
Last but not least, the mobile app provides 24/7 quality support services to guests and is also user-friendly – sometimes even better than interacting with some employees.
This helps minimize some of the human barriers – confrontations, poor customer service due to personal issues, attitudinal issues, amongst others – to guest retention.
The mobile app is also an avenue through which the business can collect feedback from guests. It allows guests to leave their comments and reviews.
These reviews and comments – what they think is right or wrong, how they feel about the business – can be used by the company in its decision-making process to better the experiences of its guests.
Businesses that Use Mobile Apps to Drive Guest Loyalty
As discussed earlier, the survival of your business much depends on your customers.
According to Zendesk, 95% of your guests will share the bad experience they have with your business with other people whereas 87% of them share their good experience.
The following two hospitality businesses did their research on how to retain guests with great apps.
Starbucks is one of the companies that has leverage mobile app substantially to improve and boost its performance. Guest retention is a significant area that has been dramatically impacted by its use of a mobile app.
It currently has 10.3 million active members of its Reward Program. About 6 million of these users – gold members – have used the mobile app to make a minimum of 30 purchases within a year.
According to the Chief Digital Officer – Adam Brotman, the mobile app has gradually become one of their key strategies. Also, he said more than 50% of transactions within US stores are expected to be made by their mobile app in a few years.
The mobile app within Starbucks is indeed a critical factor that has contributed to its excellent performance today as far as guest retention is concerned.
Marriott hotel is also another company that has taken advantage of the many opportunities that a mobile app offers to boost its clientele. It is one of the highly competitive brands in the hospitality industry.
Marriott International was at the forefront of mobile app adoption and started offering an app back in 2011. It is currently one of its key factors driving revenue growth for them.
Almost everything – from making reservations, through check-ins to check-outs – is done with the mobile app.
Guests are notified through the app when their reservations are ready. This offers guests convenience and reduces consumption time.
Loyalty programs are also offered, and these factors have much helped the organization in the retention of its guests.
Without any doubt, a mobile app is a vital component that every business seeking to improve on its guest retention can’t ignore.
Having a well developed mobile app will not only help in retaining guests but will go a long way to boost your sales and revenue.
With a mobile app, your business can be everywhere in the world at any time.
It is a smarter way to do business in today’s world. It may look expensive, but it will pay off in the long run.
You don’t necessarily have to have an app like that of Marriott or Starbucks. All you need is one that suits the size of your business.
David is an internet marketing expert with a passion for everything related to technology and point-of-sale. He has become a regular contributor to POSUSA.com and has even joined our team as an internet marketing consultant. To learn more about David, you can visit his website at www.davidriewe.com or connect with David Riewe on LinkedIn.