June 20, 2012

O’Rourke on why mobile apps are not pointless for hotels

More and more we're seeing companies trying to promote the idea that mobile apps are pointless for hotels to consider as part of their marketing strategies. Here is why O’Rourke Hospitality strongly disagrees with this point of view.

Mobile apps present a new and unique channel that all hotels must consider if they are serious about a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy. Apps provide a channel that you can use to shift share, capture more demand, create loyalty and differentiate yourself. This post will clear up many of the myths that exist out there and that are incorrectly spreading through the hospitality industry.

Myth #1 – Apps are expensive

This is completely false. If you were to try and build an app from scratch, on your own, through a company that doesn’t have a lot of app experience, then yes that would be expensive. But that is not your only option. There are plenty of options out there for you to get an app for a nominal setup fee and an ongoing monthly fee costing roughly the equivalent of 1 incremental roomnight per month. One option (our offering) is Mobile Media Applications. I believe that many companies are trying to tell you that you don’t need an app because they don’t have an app solution. Yes, we have an app solution so we are going to do the exact opposite, but we would rather give hotels all the relevant information and let them decide what they need rather than spread ideas that are untrue.

Myth #2 – You need to build a separate app for each mobile platform

This is another myth that we see frequently and this is not the case. There are technologies out there that allow developers to build an app once and it is created for both iPhone and most Android versions, which is all that you should be worried about because combined they represent 91% of the mobile OS market share. You can build it once and address 91% of the market.

Myth # 3 – If you have a mobile website you don’t need an app

Are you familiar with the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)? You should be. It is a study that highlights the evolving customer research journey and reinforces the fact that consumers are in control. In today’s world consumers are going to use whatever channel and whatever device they want. The ZMOT study reports that the average travel shopper uses 10.2 sources before buying. Obviously, more and more of those sources are mobile, everyone is talking about this. However, what is being ignored is that some of those sources are mobile apps. The ZMOT study highlights that, in the US, the average smartphone user has 23 apps installed and has used 10 of them within the last 30 days. There is an app audience in addition to the mobile web audience. Our recommendation is that, if you want to properly address all of the channels that consumers are using for research, you need BOTH a mobile website and a mobile app.

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