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2022 tech trend for hospitalities: Digital guest experience

Jan 31, 2022

Chances are, before a guest arrives at your front desk, they’ve already visited you online. In fact, research shows that consumers visit an average of 38 travel sites before they book a trip.

Digital properties are an increasingly important tool to meet customers where they are, and to cater to their communications and engagement preferences.

The drive guest selection and booking processes, and can deepen loyalty among existing customers. Apps can also activate new amenities, like keyless entry and contactless payments.

So, if you’re wondering if you need an app for that … the answer is probably yes.

A billion-dollar opportunity?

The Marriott Bonvoy app has millions of users and has generated over $1 billion in ecommerce revenue.

When Marriott redesigned its app in 2015, it became the first hospitality player to offer mobile keyless entry, Apple PassKit for payments and Apple Watch-enabled check-in. The app became a central part of the guest experience – and an essential extension of Marriot’s brand.

Here is how Marriott connected with their guests through the Bonvoy app:

  • Mobile check-in. Guests can use the app to check in up to two days before their stay. Marriot sends a notification when rooms are ready, and guests can use a mobile key to skip the front desk if they choose. They can also get information about amenities and opt-out of housekeeping to “go green.”
  • Mobile keys. The app eliminated a major guest headache: keeping track of key cards. A mobile key is delivered to a guest’s phone (and Apple Watch) as soon as a room is ready. Mobile keys can be used to enter sleeping rooms, parking garages and other guest areas. The app also includes maps and directions to help guests find their room.
  • Customer support. A chat feature connects users to answers about the property and local area. The chat features is active two days before and after each reservation.
  • Guest requests. A mobile request features gives guests a list of amenities to choose from to customize their stay, like extra blankets or pillows. Guests can also request housekeeping services, extra toiletries or luggage assistance through the app.
  • Food and beverage. Guests can browse menus and order food – even if they’re not in their room. They can choose a delivery time and place, like a hotel conference room or poolside.
  • Local travel. Live maps and traffic information help guests navigate their surroundings. In certain areas, guests can also track airport shuttles and see estimated wait times.
  • Account management. Guests can edit and update their profiles in the app. They can also manage email subscriptions and loyalty programs, see booking history and request priority services or late checkouts.
  • Loyalty management. The app tracks Marriott’s guest loyalty program, too. Users can instantly earn and redeem points on property or at participating restaurants.
  • Booking. The app connects more than 7,000 hotels across 30 brands, making it easy for travelers to browse and book Marriott properties. Users can make and manage reservations, share details and add trips to their calendars. They can also save favorite hotels and room preferences for future bookings.

Hotel apps and digital properties are an extension of your front desk – and concierge staff, booking agents, housekeeping, transportation, and food and beverage teams. They deliver a consistent, on-brand response and engage with guests exactly how and when they want to be served.

How Wipfli can help

At Wipfli, we believe perspective changes everything. That’s why our teams craft unique solutions driven by their combined knowledge from deep hospitality and technology experience. We go beyond the programs to ensure your people and processes are a part of the solution. Contact us to learn more or see our hospitality services web page.

About our series

In this series, Wipfli explores four technology trends that are shaping the hospitality industry in 2022 to leaders can:

  • Prevent cyberattacks with a safe and efficient infrastructure
  • Elevate the guest experience with the right software
  • Reduce labor crunch with redesigned processes and communication tools
  • Increase guest engagement with loyalty apps

Read part one: Cybersecurity must-haves

Read part two: Customer vs. property management tools

Read part three: Technology to help your employees

5 ways digital transformation can help you compete


C. Lynne Smith, CPA (FL)
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