“For every one great idea that failed because it wasn’t right, there are 100 that never even got started.” ~ Michael Masterson
Nearly 90 percent of hotel guests want their hotel to have a mobile app. When you finally decide to give your guests the digital experience they crave by developing an app for your hotel, you’re going to have a strong desire to get it absolutely perfect right out of the gate. However, elements you think are important may not matter to your guests, and vice versa. You could end up wasting money on features and functions that are irrelevant to your end user. So, when it comes to hotel app development, it’s often best to take a “Ready, Fire, Aim!” approach.
Step 1: Ready
The first step in designing your hotel app is to develop a thorough needs analysis, starting with your guests. In our current tech-savvy, post-pandemic era, what are they looking for in an application? A great way to discover this information is to reach out to your most loyal guests and simply ask them. Certain features may be considered must-haves, such as a booking portal, remote check-in/checkout, mobile key and maps of the hotel and local area. In addition, messaging capability with hotel staff, custom QR codes, food-and-beverage (F&B) ordering, the ability to view area attractions and mobile payment may also be sought-after options.
Consider whether a web app or a fully customized native solution will best serve your needs. And make certain your app is designed with a simple, intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate. Keep an open mind and don’t limit yourself to a rigid plan. Once you have a minimum viable product (MVP), it’s time to move on to next step.
Step 2: Fire
Step two is launching your app. There’s a tendency among hoteliers to think too much before taking this step. Or they waste valuable time with tweaking and putting on finishing touches. The thing is, it’s only after execution that you can truly see what’s working and what isn’t. It’s always easier to adjust an actual product than a concept.
Consider launching the app among your loyalty members first. This creates an air of exclusivity that makes them feel special while also allowing you to gain valuable feedback from a trusted network before you roll the app out full scale. You want to carefully monitor that feedback to determine the peaks and valleys of your functionality, as well as what features guests enjoy, where people are getting hung up, and what additional features your guests may be asking for.
Step 3: Aim!
Your final step is fine-tuning what you have. By utilizing the feedback you gained in step two, you spend your time truly perfecting the ideal app for your guests, and you don’t waste time on elements that nobody will use or care about.
Through usage, you may discover additional nice-to-have features would be beneficial, such as implementing mobile in-room controls for the TV, lighting and thermostat; loyalty program integration; guest profile management; the ability to book amenities or send push notifications. Your app needs to be a flexible, scalable solution so it can evolve with the changing needs of your guests.
The “Ready, Fire, Aim!” strategy doesn’t mean you should be reckless, launching too soon so that you require extensive post-launch changes to your app. The goal of this strategy is simply to ensure that you don’t waste too much time in the “Ready” stage. Prepare, but don’t over prepare. Fire your shot and keep correcting your aim to ensure your app delivers an engaging guest experience that helps boost loyalty and earn lucrative repeat business.
So, what do you say? Would you like to “Ready, Fire, Aim!” an app for your hotel?
 “Infographic: Survey Reveals Tech-Supported 'New Normal' For Hotels Amid COVID-19.” Metova, 10 Nov. 2020, metova.com/infographic-survey-tech-supported-new-normal-hotels-covid-19/.