The use of contactless check-in is growing rapidly – guests love the security and convenience, and hotels love the efficiency, especially with labor so hard to find and retain at the moment. If your hotel is considering going this route, you’ll need to make a decision up front: native app or web-based solution?
Apps work well for regular guests, but what about the majority of guests who don’t belong to your hotel’s loyalty program or don’t have your app? Consider that even though the average person has about 80 apps on their phone, they only use nine a day, and only use 30 at least once a month. Unless they’re very heavy travelers, a hotel app probably isn’t one of them. Besides, 91 percent of people get frustrated with having to download an app they don’t want.
These customers need a web-based option that allows them to simply click a link in an email or text message to complete their transaction.
Why hotel guests (and staff) love web-based solutions
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with a native app that needs to be downloaded to a device. Traditionally, they have offered more features and deeper integrations with features and functions of smartphones and tablets. But in recent years, web-based solutions have caught up in many areas of functionality and have consistently outperformed native apps in terms of broad and immediate accessibility.
One of the great things about the World Wide Web is that it only takes one native application to access a fantastic amount of information and robust digital services. This app is called a mobile web browser and it has the innate advantage over all other native apps in that there is one preloaded on every mobile device.
Chrome, Safari and Samsung Internet are the most commonly used web browsersand all three support a wide range of ways that web-based solutions can interact with smartphone or tablet functionality (eg, camera, microphone, etc.).
When combined, these two factors enable technology providers to deliver extremely engaging digital experiences to hotel guests with very low barriers to adoption.
The rate of adoption of web-based hotel technology solutions
Reportedly, even the biggest hotel brands see less than 10% of all customers interacting with the native apps they’ve built. App development is an expensive business, and these below-average adoption rates are notorious for frustrating hoteliers from their efforts.
Conversely, mobile-friendly web solutions that do not require downloads typically see customer adoption rates of 50-75%. When you do the math, that equates to about 5-8x more guests using mobile web solutions than native apps.
For hoteliers going the web route, the real positive impact of technologies like contactless check-in and payment becomes all too apparent. Given the numbers above, a 100-room hotel using web-based guest management solutions can expect the following benefits:
- More than 20% increase in staff efficiency and productivity
- 1,500 new guest emails captured per year from those who booked through OTAs
- $30,000-40,000 in additional revenue from upsells
- A 90% reduction in chargebacks and fraud
Although native apps may have initially appealed to hoteliers because of their features and functionality, the reality is that hotel owners need to interact with their customers online, and those customers are often not interested in downloading. of another new application. The expense of developing native apps doesn’t justify the end result, especially when web-based solutions can drive better engagement with customers without the barrier of a download.
SJ Sawhney is the co-founder of Canary Technologies, a leading solutions provider modernizing the hotel technology stack with the first end-to-end guest management system on the mobile web, digitizing everything from post-booking to payment. Prior to co-founding Canary, Sawhney led product and technology at Stayful, an independent and boutique hotel booking platform founded by the former president of Hotels.com. Sawhney is a serial entrepreneur, having founded several successful venture capital-backed tech companies over the previous decade. He graduated from Columbia University.
Are you an industry thought leader with a perspective on hotel technology that you would like to share with our readers? If so, we invite you to consult our editorial guidelines and submit your article for publication.