February 10, 2016

How hotels use tech-friendly privileges to increase direct bookings

Among tech-savvy travelers, there’s a perception that booking hotel stays through an OTA will give them the lowest rates. However, hotel marketers know there is more to “value” than the price tag. Here’s how some of the major hotel brands are using tech-friendly privileges to increase direct bookings.

Marriot Goes Mobile and Wearable
Marriott’s new mobile app offers Marriott Rewards members a streamlined mobile guest experience. While using the Marriott smartphone, tablet, and Apple Watch app, guests who booked directly can check in and check out, review their reservations, and receive alerts when rooms are ready. Guests can also use Apple Pay, order from a menu of services and amenities, and make requests through a live chat before, during, and after their stay.

Starwood Opens Door to Keyless Entry
Starwood, who recently merged with Marriott, is known for its Sheraton, W Hotel, Westin, and St. Regis brands. Always technology leaders, Starwood offers mobile check-in and check-out, room number alerts, and digital room keys for guests to unlock rooms via smartphones or an Apple Watch.

Hilton Worldwide Gives Guests the Gift of Room Selection
Through its HHonors app, Hilton Worldwide offers several tech-based perks to loyalty program members who book stays directly. Digital keys, remote check-in, free standard Wi-Fi, and options for customizing their stay -- from ordering room service to requesting extra pillows -- all provide added value for booking directly. Hilton upped the ante in 2014 by introducing interactive room maps on the HHonors app, in addition to allowing guests who book directly to select their own rooms.

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