The hotel concierge’s role is much more than a resource for local directions or restaurant recommendations – and a hotel’s mobile concierge has the same potential.
A good concierge delivers a level of personalized service that becomes one of the leading reasons guests decide to come back to a hotel. By adding concierge functionality within your hotel’s mobile app, guests can easily access that service in a way they’re all too familiar: with their mobile devices.
The Road to the Mobile Concierge in Hospitality
Before 2020, mobile-first experiences were already becoming the norm in hospitality and travel. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of online bookings from mobile phones rose almost 60 percent. By 2018, a Google and PhocusWright survey found 70% of travelers “always” use their mobile devices when traveling. In the same survey, travelers also said they frequently use mobile devices to play the concierge on their own, researching activities and attractions and locating their destination’s restaurants and shopping areas.
Beyond the hospitality and travel industry, the mobile concierge model has also established itself as a growing trend in other sectors. From lifestyle management to transportation service, from online personal assistants to Amazon’s Alexa – a hotel’s VIP and millennial guests alike already rely on virtual concierge functionality in their everyday lives.
But the craft of concierge is a tradition of the hotel. And in the world of hospitality today, mobile concierge services have become imperative. In the wake of Covid-19, balancing a personalized guest experience with a contactless or digital experience is the expectation. Now more than ever, there are clear benefits for both guests and staff in offering mobile concierge options.
Mobile Concierge: A Smart, Convenient Guest Experience
It may seem hard to replace the personalized service of an in-person hotel concierge. But by adding a mobile concierge option, guests have an additional avenue to get a prompt response to more general inquiries. This is ideal in the current environment when guests and staff are looking to minimize in-person interactions and while concierge staff adjusts to new safety protocols and guest expectations.
A mobile concierge app can provide guests with immediate access to important local and property information and relevant deals from the vantage of the hotel brand. In-app mobile payments for hotel amenities can use on-file credit card information for easy and secure purchases. Many mobile concierge service providers even offer a two-way chat to accommodate immediate conversation and requests.
Guests also benefit from the speed and convenience of mobile concierge as it optimizes hotel operations. Some hotels utilize AI-driven chatbots in their mobile concierge service to answer basic guest questions or requests for additional information. Others will also leverage solutions that distribute guest support tasks among multiple staff members to ensure a quick, helpful response.
The various mobile concierge capabilities, combined with mobile check in/check out and digital keys, mean guests can enjoy an attentive, personalized experience – all on their mobile devices.
Mobile Concierge Benefits Hotels, Too
In addition to improving the guest experience, mobile concierge presents numerous advantages and opportunities for the hotel itself. The ways it can optimize operational efficiency and impact the bottom line will vary from hotel to hotel, but there are several key benefits:
Give guests answers before they ask
With a strategic selection of content and user-friendly navigation, hotels can answer many guest questions directly in their hotel app. Guests can see restaurant and room service menus, photos, schedules, and information for other hotel amenities, and then make reservations and place orders themselves. You can also provide information for local partners like shopping, tourism, and entertainment destinations outside the hotel.
Drive additional revenue
A mobile concierge can also be a powerful marketing tool. It gives hotels a platform to tailor promotions and offers with a much higher probability of engagement because you often have actionable customer information, like a history of guests’ mobile app activity and purchases. It is a win-win scenario: hotels drive more spending per room while also providing a more personalized customer experience guided by mobile concierge data.
For example, you could offer a free appetizer at your restaurant or a discount on your contactless room service to a guest who requests local dining information. It can also be an effective and direct marketing channel to promote in-app offers for overhauled, safety protocol-compliant amenities as hotels relaunch those services. A mobile concierge gives guests direct access to added incentives and gives you the upper hand in influencing purchases away from outside providers that compete with your in-house offerings.
A variety of reporting functions are typically available within mobile concierge solutions to monitor how quickly staff responds, among other efficiency metrics. Comparing this data to guest service feedback brings more dimension to your appraisal of staff performance and helps to improve your systems and processes.
Reduce human error
The best of employees make mistakes now and then. This technology virtually eliminates any chance of guest requests falling through the cracks. If requests aren’t completed within a given time, many mobile concierge apps have a system of escalating unfulfilled requests up the management chain to ensure someone handles it (and before guests have a chance to complain).
Spend more time with guests
Giving hotel guests the ability to use a mobile concierge solution empowers your concierge staff to be even better in their jobs. When simple concierge requests are handled by a mobile app, the hotel staff can spend more time with nuanced guest services where their personal touch is a clear added value.
And for hotels without a dedicated concierge, a mobile concierge app becomes especially beneficial. Front desk personnel are freed up to focus on their primary responsibilities and on providing superior service.
Cultivate a brand dedicated to the guest experience
Guests expect and prefer hotels to offer the latest in technological convenience. It adds to your property’s positioning as savvy, up-to-date, and dedicated to improving your guests’ experience. This is especially true with younger travelers, who are only beginning to show their profit potential to the hospitality industry. This is also true of the current and trending desire for a contactless guest experience, with the guest’s own smart phone as the only thing they need to access that experience.
Adding a concierge capability to your hotel’s app gives your guests another branded experience and makes your app – and by extension, your hotel brand – more valuable to the traveler. And you can expect that value to be rewarded with greater brand loyalty and happily repeated business.
Getting Your Hotel’s Mobile Concierge Started
Luckily, a hotel does not need to be a large, luxury property to access and implement mobile concierge solutions. There are a few approaches to setting it up, with options to fit different budgets, objectives, and existing resources.
For example, if you already have a hotel mobile app, the first step is asking the developers of your current app if they can add concierge functions. If so, you can give them your mobile concierge capability wish list. You’ll want to work with them to ensure the front end is easy for guests to use and the back end provides efficient workflows for your staff.
For hotels that either don’t yet have a mobile app or can’t easily develop concierge functions within their existing app, there are multiple third-party solutions that are ready to deploy. These solutions offer a range of concierge capabilities, typically integrate with most PMS systems, and are often less expensive.
With all the advantages for guests and hotels that a mobile concierge app can add, the only question remaining is how quickly you can deploy yours. Offering both traditional and mobile concierge options can elevate the personalized service that the concierge team strives to provide, improving the overall hotel experience for your guests.