Like Fashion brands, Luxury Hotels are expanding into “low-touch luxury,” enabling guests to use mobile devices to book an increasing number of in-stay services and even unlock their rooms. However, most hotels have focused on developing apps rather than mobile sites.

L2’s Insight Report found that Luxury Hotel Index brand mobile apps typically boasted more sophisticated features than their mobile sites. For example, 55% of brand and parent apps allowed mobile check-in, compared to 3% of mobile site counterparts. The apps were also more than four times more likely to let guests order amenities like room service.

 

Luxury hotel apps

Although Luxury Hotels lag behind almost every other industry when it comes to mobile site optimization, they were quick to launch Apple Watch apps that enhanced existing mobile offerings. Starwood – first in the industry to offer keyless entry via its SPG mobile app –extended that functionality to its Apple Watch app, which also provides guests with transportation options, reservation details, and directions. InterContinental Hotels Group went beyond concierge services to develop the IHG Translator app, which translates from English into 13 other languages and even includes a “slang” setting.

Starwood Apple Watch app

 

Unlike mobile sites, the new apps can serve as incentives to entice customers into loyalty programs. Starwood’s Keyless functionality, for example, is only available for Starwood Preferred Guests. Since only 14% of millennials are enrolled in a hotel loyalty program, this could boost membership among younger guests.

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