Industry trends show that mobile is now the most important method for hotels to reach and engage guests. Based on a recent survey, 55% of guests prefer to check in online, 72% use smartphones to research hotels or reserve rooms, and 67% of travelers use smartphones to figure out their itinerary.
As the hospitality industry embraces technology to improve the guest experience, convenience is a critical part of its strategy.
Large hotel chains such as Hilton and Marriott already offer mobile check-in as well as keyless entry to their rooms via their mobile apps. Additionally, their chatbot-based digital concierge enables guests to conveniently place requests or reserve services with just a few taps on their phones. Not only does it spare guests the long wait time to speak to the front desk, but it's also fast, personalized, discreet, and available 24/7.
Although the benefits of investing in this technology are clear and compelling, several challenges stand in the way of making this experience mainstream for all hotels.
There is a new technology approach that enables rapid innovation, faster time to market, and incremental investment while providing an integrated and seamless experience for both guests and staff: micro apps.
Micro apps are essentially a collection of mini applications that perform a single function. For example, a tee time micro app enables guests to look up available tee time slots and reserve one, while a smart key micro app allows guests to unlock their room with their phone.
Here's how the micro application approach helps address the challenges listed above.
Micro apps are lightweight single-purpose apps with a very limited scope, which dramatically reduces their complexity. They enable hotels to build customized experiences for guests by creating lightweight wrapper apps that connect to existing systems or third-party services. These apps can be built using HTML5, which makes them easy to develop and able to work cross-platform.
Even though each micro app is an independent app that offers a specific functionality, they can be bundled within a single application. Bundling allows hotels to provide an integrated and seamless experience for their guests while keeping their complex infrastructure safely behind the curtain.
Each micro app can be dynamically added to the main app without requiring users to update or go through app store approval. This enables properties to incrementally provide new features and capabilities rather than having to do major rollouts.
Some micro app platforms also provide an AI-enabled search experience. Guests can search in conversational language, such as typing in "I want some coffee," and the platform will automatically present the guest with the concierge app to place a request for coffee.
The micro app technology allows users to view apps configured for their persona. In other words, guests may or may not see certain apps based on their preferences or historical data. Additionally, a chain hotel may have a universal container app for all their properties, but then show different micro apps depending on the location or amenities of that property. Personalization also allows properties to offer productivity applications for their staff via the same app, but keep it visible only for employees.
In short, micro apps are a collection of individual functions that can be assembled into a seamless, integrated experience. Features such as search and role-based provisioning create a highly personalized and engaging user experience that has hospitality executives talking.
This technology addresses the challenges for properties to conceal the complexity of their infrastructure from guests while offering them a smooth, modernized experience. Hotels can start rolling out mobile-based guest solutions with a small footprint and the most essential features. Then, when ready, they can add more features to continually enhance and evolve the apps over time without breaking the bank.
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Praveen Kanyadi is Co-founder and VP Products at SpotCues, a micro-app platform that helps organizations rapidly mobilize their workforce. Praveen is an experienced product leader who has successfully led product teams, hired & mentored product managers in fortune 500 companies and start ups. In his previous role at Yahoo, he built social experiences that reached over 750 million end users. Praveen also holds a patent publication in the social space. Praveen started his career as a software developer in the ERP and Middleware technology and went on to lead large scale implementations in US, Europe and Middle East. In the past 5 years, Praveen has extensively worked in developing mobile based solutions in the B2B and B2C space and these solutions have been deployed at large enterprises across the globe. Praveen is a foodie who loves trying out different food and cuisine. His retirement plans include traveling around the world and tasting every cuisine out there.