Check-in and room service apps reassure guests: research

The use of apps to check in and order room service was preferred by cleanliness-seeking guests.

A study undertaken by Criton reported that 62% of guests would prefer to check-in/out through the hotel app and 47% would be happy to order room service if they could do so via the app.

Julie Grieve, founder & CEO, Criton said, “The use of technology is growing and it was there before Covid. Before Covid hit, 73% of guests were happy to use an app and that’s gone up to 80%. The big question we have go to ask ourselves as hoteliers is if that’s what they want, what can I use it for? You can use it to help them get the information they need, but also to help them buy more. Make sure that if you have someone in your hotel, you’re helping them spend their hard-earned cash.”

Richard Harrison, managing director, Coombe Abbey Park, who has been working with Criton, said, “The holdup for us with an app was that we are a very traditional hotel and we were struggling to workout how an app would fit in with that. Then Covid happened and everything happened very quickly. The decision was very much ‘how do we give our guests the option to do something different and not talk to a member of staff?’. We didn’t want to take away the ability to do what they’ve always done at Coombe to talk to staff to check in manually.

“We said we’d like the app, the guest directory, the in-room ordering, the messaging service and we’d also like to upgrade and have the ability for guests to open their doors with their mobile phone. It was about easing the guest journey and we had a high client uptake. They are using it to open their room, to have a seamless journey through the stay. They are very much engaging with it. We’re starting to see people who didn’t know what we do engaging with us.

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“The main driver of this was the removal of printed materials from bedrooms. The only thing you will see in the room now is a card asking people to download the app.

The other great thing is that because, as with other hotels now, we are not cleaning rooms for stopovers unless guests request it, is that ability for someone to request a room clean or more towels – we’re seeing a real spike in people using that.

“There is a fairly even split with who is using it demographically. The older guest is far more tech savvy than we give them credit for and it’s easy to use – if you can use Google you can check in.”

Grieve added, “The older generation is more tech savvy. They’ve all been using their phones and their devices to speak to their family – they’re also more likely to be higher risk or shielding. We had a lady come to stay who had been shielding and she had come to the hotel to spend time with her family – it felt lovely to be able to reduce her anxiety levels.”

“People are used to downloading apps now. If you tell them there’s one available, they will download it,” concluded Harrison.

Grieve: “More importantly, people keep the app, so you have this ability to reconnect with them directly in their phone and it’s not stuck within millions of emails.

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