Marriott, the global hotel group, is investing time and effort into mobile guest services, and is seeing the benefits. “Mobile revenue was up 25% year-over-year for 2014 to 2015,” said Marriott’s CIO Bruce Hoffmeister, “and we’re expecting another large increase this year.”
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Hoffmeister said mobile was providing many more opportunities to engage with customers at all stages, from before they arrive, during their stay, and after they leave.
Marriott continues to explore mobile app opportunities to engage with guests
The hotel company provides mobile check-in and check-out services, and is in the process of testing a system where a smartphone can be used to unlock hotel room doors. Additionally, the company’s app is incorporating more services for guests, such as ordering different pillows, and the potential for ordering food.
Following tests in mid-2015, Marriott expanded its Mobile Requests service to 700 of its hotels, complete with a mobile chat feature for direct contact with staff. Hoffmeister says 20% of guests using the app turn to the chat feature, and 40% of guests, “like to start engaging with the hotel before they even arrive.”
Development of the new technology can come from partnerships with smaller startup companies outside of the Marriott family, with the hotel group choosing an established partner to team up with the newcomer. “We have the benefit of the entrepreneurial thinking out of the smaller company, but with the maturity and reliability of the larger company.” Hoffmeister concluded.
Edited highlights of the interview can be found here.