Hotel Mobile Applications
In its literature review the research proposal provides an understanding of how mobile applications functions and the estimated amount of money that is required to develop them. The cost discussed will be based on how complex and basic the mobile application is. Moreover, the proposal provides an insight of how hotels can utilize mobile applications to attract more customers as well as generating income and marketing outcomes. The final outcome of the paper will enlighten on whether hotels should implement mobile marketing and how they can ensure success. To arrive at the conclusion of this paper statistical analysis was collected and previous research on the topic of mobile applications was used.
Mobile applications are part and parcel of people’s lives in the present day. People use mobile applications for various reasons; e-marketing is one of the uses. Most hotels, that have realized the potential of mobile applications, have maintained them for marketing and promotional purposes. Besides, applications make developers to generate revenue, not only for sales but also for in-application advertising. All this may sound great but developing a mobile application is not that cheap and simple as many perceive it to be. The research proposal provides an overview of what will be conducted in the research.
3. Literature review
Coming up with an affordable mobile device the business should decide on its goal. Having a mobile application because the competitors have it is not a wise approach, even though there are various explanations for having an application. A mobile consultant should be used to help in recognizing the major advantages that an application can provide to the business, depending on its type of services and required clients.
There are over 700, 000 applications in the Apple application Store, which are estimated to be one million by end of 2013. Half of those people who use smartphones access applications 10+ times a day and over 200,000 applications are downloaded every minute.
The first thing to consider when developing a mobile application is cost. The following factors in relation to cost should be reflected.
Firstly, before beginning to develop a mobile application, there should be an estimated budget of how much will be used to develop it. Mobile application development usually involves a team of people. A more complex mobile application costs a lot but also has the probability of bringing more returns than a basic application.
Hiring the application designer
An impressive and elaborate design will immediately attract users to the application. The design includes aspects like splash screen, application icon and tab icon. This is one of the most essential considerations when developing a mobile application.
Submitting the application
This involves submitting the app to the application stores. Here, a registration fee is required for each app which the company wishes to submit the application to. Once the application is approved, a person is supposed to be assigned to monitor its revenue.
Total application cost
The total application cost incurred on development is determined by the above factors. But, the cost can differ from one company to another. Some companies will charge $1,000 while others will charge $50,000 or more. The cost variation depends on the type of app one wants to develop and the company hired for the job, as well as the quality of the application.
As experts of application development argue, it is wise to take into consideration of quality than cost when developing an app. This research proposal will demonstrate how a hotel business could have a lasting presence on its potential as well as present customers’’
How hotels can use mobile applications to attract more customers
Mobile applications are an orderly technique for marketing to potential as well as current c customers. Using mobile applications a business can control the surroundings as well as everything the user experiences and sees. Then again, mobile applications hold attention or consideration for longer, and in this current, fast-paced business, the interests of likely new clients remain memorable. Mobile apps have a great system of attaining this, since few and small medium sized industries use them.
Like it is necessary for every business in this modern world to have a website, it is also essential for every business to a have a mobile app. However, the fact that almost 99% of businesses do not have a mobile application can be used as a benefit to your business.
The novelty factor should not be underestimated. The application may seem to deliver value only, but it contains a novelty factor at present. Novelty draws attention, and when there is attention from the target audience the business can divert it to whatever it wishes to inform the users about the company. The paper will offer a clarification about the particular functions your application can perform so as to facilitate and reassure that your prospective customers will become new customers.
The foremost way for any business to retain customers is by continuing to offer value, open communication as well as a reliable buying experience. Mobile apps are a great device to facilitate that. Mobile applications contain aspects of functionality that encourage customer retention and acquisition. To begin with, an app can be a “website application” which implies it can show any mobile-optimized website in the app, the same way as it would typically look in a mobile website browse. This implies that anything which can be performed in a website can also be performed in a mobile app.
There is also the choice of making a “native application” which can use the native functionality of the mobile tool itself. The functionality comprises of an accelerometer, touch screen and GPS. This opens up limitless further potentials for user engagement and a functional basis. If an application is more engaging, it will be more outstanding to your business. Besides, users will spend more time using your business’s application, which provides more valuable time for brand building.
There are different ways that mobile applications can be used for the benefits of the hotel business. They can be used to provide directions, click-to-email or click-to-call, show content feeds, convey information, show business contact information, and show the pre-existing website.
Features of mobile application that can improve hotel business
There are different means that hotels can particularly use the mobile applications. They include the following:
Location-based tool- by using triangulation as well as GPS, current smartphones recognize where they are. One can use the benefit to interrelate with customers in location-based way. The business application can provide directions on a location, to assist the customers to locate their way from their place of stay to the business location. Apps can also assist in detecting when users or customers are in the locality and provide exceptional offer coupons to attract them. There are a lot of likelihoods, but to realize the power of the location-specific operation consider this: If a hotel realizes that high-potential clients are within some walking distance from it, would it get a salesperson to go out and entice them to come to the hotel? The mobile application can serve as the salesperson for the hotel and attract potential customers without being paid for the service. Most important of all is that the app is automatic.
Communication device-with a mobile app there is no need of displaying contact details on the advertisements. When a customer is using a mobile application on his or her phone all the contact details are available for communication. The most essential factor of communication in mobile applications is that the user can make direct calls and texts. The calling rates using mobile applications are always cheaper compared to the normal calling rate.
The advantage with customers using the mobile application is that the staff can also contact the users by just using the push messaging. Push messaging is better to use compared to text messaging because most of the service providers offer it for free.
Multimedia device–a mobile application can incorporate the multimedia functions. The user can connect with social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn in various ways. One can play display images and audio files. This makes the users to experience sense of the business’ brand using, which makes it more memorable increasing brand recognition. Services offered in the hotel can also be displayed in the business’s application which increases the business reputation.
The app can also be used to broadcast the business’ information. The following is a list of various functions that can be done with applications: delivery of mobile coupons, show pre-existing websites, show reviews, notify upcoming updates, news and custom HTML.
Prime virtual real estate-the most essential reason for creating the business application is virtual real estate. Companies pay millions of dollars for marketing and advertising, more so on mobile internet. With a mobile application the business can perhaps have a presence in its likely and existing clients.
In addition, the virtual real estate can be used for free for push messaging services. Currently, push messaging is a great tool for marketing. Once the user has installed the business’s application, messages can be sent to them, which promote different special offers and announcements form the company. The advantage with this type of marketing is that the user cannot avoid reading the messages because they remain as notifications on the customers’ mobile phones until he or she opens the app or reads the messages.
How mobile applications can enhance customer convenience
Managing a hotel is not that simple. Every hour the hotel administrators engages in logistic work to make sure the convenience and comfort of the customers. To the inexpert, the variables are incredible. Each day, the hotel directors mobilizes their team to make sure the more than 400-room property is fitted out with the recommended facilities from the toiletries, welcome chocolates, remote controls for the DVD and TV are properly matched for the comfort of the customers. When customers arrive and are smartly checked-in and welcomed to their rooms, the employees require clarifying to the guest the electronic selections that are available in the room, and making sure that every demand is completed in duplicate or triplicate prior to auctioning. Besides, the staff needs to ensure that the bill offered at check-out is accurate and complete (Mobile Hotel Applications, 2009).
All this work has been simplified due to the emergence of mobile applications. For instance, the hYspace application assists in running such kind hotel processes. The application assists in automating back-end procedures and offers hotel guests the capability to easily and quickly create the ideal environments, by providing them with full control or governance of their stay using their mobile phones (Mobile Hotel Applications, 2009).
At check in, the customers’ information for instance, food choices as well as billing data, are stored in a distinct unique identity. When the customers arrive, the hotel employees only require to greet them, and provide them with a sleek tool installed with hYspace, which is loaded with every single kind information that will assist them have a calm or comfortable stay. With the application, the customers can open their apartment doors, regulate temperature, operate the television, and lighting. The best thing concerning the application is that the hotel directors can realize all the information that customers generate by using the application feedback as well as back-end system. This implies that the employees can easily combine and computerize all applications related to the everyday operations for instance, room service, cleaning, and caretaking, which assist to reorganize the processes as well as increase productivity. Ultimately, this leads to considerable cost savings on top of improved customer experience. The in depth data on customers’ choices also becomes vital intelligence information to enhance service as well as increase trust or loyalty in a competitive business (Mobile Hotel Applications, 2009).
Marketing a mobile application
For a hotel to develop an app it must have a marketing plan and ensure marketing principles are included in the apps strategy. For instance, before developing a hotel mobile application the target market must be taken into consideration. Marketing for iPhone applications is the same as marketing other online products, though the marketing devices available have expanded in current years particularly in parts of social media. The stages are almost similar to those that have been mentioned above; developing a product that the hotel customers require, make and deliver a powerful marketing message that draws new customers and retain existing customers.
Then again, in order to create a marketing mobile application, one must understand that marketing is a procedure that includes these essential stages (mentioned below) that will have to be performed. For various iPhone application developers, a familiarization of the required marketing steps is new to them. Whether one is a fist time developer or has created several applications for sale, marketing has to be considered. The following steps can help in making a hotel marketing application successful;
Step 1: Understanding of the applications’ unique value.
Most hotel business creates a mobile application with the aim of outdoing the competitors’ applications. This is because there are many competitors with the same applications. Therefore, one has to come up with techniques that will make his or her company’s application exceptional. There are three main questions that are supposed to be answered to define the applications’ unique value. The responses to the questions are the pillars to the marketing procedure and should be included in one’s marketing strategy:
What is unique about your application? All the features, visuals, functions and sounds that are exceptional to the application should be listed. This will assist in developing a marketing message for the application.
Which type of audience are you targeting? The target audience here entails the people or person who will buy the application. This will assist in developing a targeted marketing strategy.
Who are the competitors? Knowing the competitors will assist one in defining plans to compete against reputable apps. The responses to this question will vary according to the type of application being developed and will help in forming a basis on one’s marketing message.
Step 2: delivering the message to the business’s the targeted audience
There will only be demand to an application when the prospective customer is helped to see that there is a solution to their problem by using the application. The demand for hotel applications is already there; the developer only needs to create a message that resounds with that audience.
Delivering the business’s message happens when it creates powerful portrayals and graphics for the application on the AppStore as well as the application’s website. The hotel must reason in terms of showcasing its application on the Application Store and on a matching website. Besides, the business can use the website to display videos of its application, offer further screen shots as well as other content. The ‘buy now’ button should be displayed prominently on the business’ site that directs purchasers to the application on the AppStore. This will increase revenue to the business.
Step3: implementation of a short-lived marketing strategy for the business application
With the correct message and the correct audience combined with the correct marketing devices and techniques, a business can create marketing operations that will be exceptionally effective in reaching the business’s target audience. The marketing strategy does not have to be lengthy; it only needs to describe the steps the business needs to reach its defined audience. This will assist to create a roadmap of what the business wants to happen before its application hits the application store.
This paper will use various types of research methods. Firstly, it will use quantitative methodology. The quantitative methodology will be useful in this research method because it will be used to test the significance of the hypothesis. On the other hand, the research will use qualitative method for observations and descriptions. This is because qualitative method is descriptive and subjective and therefore will allow opinions to be included in the research which is not allowed in the quantitative research. Besides, qualitative analysis will assist in assessing knowledge and attitudes of individuals in relation to the topic of research.
On the other hand, both primary and secondary research methods will be used. However, primary research will be used more than secondary research. This is because more firsthand information is obtained through primary research than secondary research. The primary research will use questionnaires, personal interviews as well as telephonic interview to get information from areas which cannot be easily reached. In addition, where representative research will be difficult to conduct, small samples will be taken.
Then again, the action research method will be used for the research. Action research method focuses or center on planned transformation as a cyclical procedure in, which primary research of the organization offers information to direct subsequent actions. The outcome of the action is thereafter studied and, evaluated to offer information for guiding further actions. Moreover, the action research method is a research in action, contrary to research about action.
In the collection of data some essential factors in the research such as validity, ethics, and impartiality will be included in order to have effective data. Then again, leading questions in the research will not be included in the research questions. The research design will also be experimental or quasi-experimental for accurate acquiring of data.
Validity will be guaranteed in the research by ensuring that data collected is truthful or correct. Moreover, data collected will not be distorted to fit personal opinion; data will be entered as it is collected from the sources. Moreover, data that will not contain enough evidence will not be taken into consideration at the end of the data sampling process.
- 5. Analysis of result
A lot of hotel marketers have realized that the world has moved mobile. Hotel brands are rushing to build mobile websites and applications that can be downloaded for the millions of industries as well as leisure travelers that depend on their smartphones for getting direction and all forms of information.
According to the report given by e-Business Strategies, almost 40% of those people that own smartphones say that they have done their research on leisure travel using their mobile device; 25% say that they have booked travel apartments using their phones. The percentage is likely to grow as businesses and customers shift form desktop PCs to devices like iPads, BlackBerrys, and iPhones.
Besides, majority of the lodging brands offer smartphone applications, and because iPhone applications appear on the user’s screen when he or she opens his or her device, these min-websites serve as 24/7 marketing agents. The interContinental Hotels Group is emerging as one of the best marketers in the hotel business. More than 30,000 individuals have downloaded the interContinental Hotel Group application (IHG). The app can be used by clients to locate the directions to neighboring IHG hotels and check or cancel upcoming reservations. Customers can book and connect directly to the support desk at the hotels using the application
- 6. Conclusion
Mobile application marketing, and revenue generation is the new trend in the world of business. This research proposal highlights the how a mobile application is created, how it can be used for the success of hotel businesses, the cost of creating it and the revenue generated out of it. The mobile applications can be installed independently or as a group, depending on the needs or interest of the hotel. Generally, hotel mobile applications are used for customer services.
- 7. References
Mobile Hotel Applications. (2009).One solution to will them all. Retrieved on January 10th, 2013 from < http://hotelemarketer.com>