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Conrad Hotels empowers travelers with end-to-end mobile customer experience

Conrad Hotels, a Hilton brand, has introduced new mobile features to provide a complete experience for guests from pre- to post-booking.

The idea of a handheld concierge is no longer an industry-first, as a growing number of hotel brands find value in mobile as a way to enhance face-to-face interaction and services. On-site mobile experiences are expected to become a critical asset in 2015 as social media?s Web expansion and more accessible online distribution channels spawn a new breed of confident and empowered savvy travelers, according to research by Deloitte.

?Mobile technology has presented the hospitality industry with the opportunity to redefine the traditional relationship between hotels and guests,? said David Adelson, CEO and president of Intelity. ?There are so many things that can be done with mobile that weren?t possible before, namely providing a much higher level of service and opening a constant two-way line of communication.?

?Hotels can get to know their guests better than before and use that information to create a more personal experience that is directly driven by what their individual guests want.

?In general, our new features allow a hotel to offer a more gratifying, customized stay for guests even before they arrive at the property by keeping that line of communication open through the app and letting guests place requests or access information from anywhere, at any time,? he said.

Conrad Hotels is using new mobile features available through travel tech firm Intelity?s Interactive Customer Experience application that allow hoteliers to provide a complete experience for guests from pre to post booking.

In line with luxe
Guests who stay at any Conrad location can use their mobile devices to download the ICE app and check-in even before they arrive at the property or check-out from their guestroom. Along with check-in, they can send pre-arrival requests directly to the hotel. Extra pillows? A room with a specific view? Dinner waiting in the room on the first night? All preferences can be noted in-app.

A user?s smartphone can also translate into a guestroom keycard, allowing patrons to further minimize the time necessary to stop at the front desk before heading to their room. And new location-based technology allows notifications to be sent to front desk staff alerting them that guests who have downloaded the app are approaching the hotel.

Staff can use the information to prepare for their arrival and ensure their room is ready. Conrad can also push special offers and messaging to guests based on whether they are located near to or at the property.

Developing a multichannel approach with mobile phone technology will enable the luxury hotelier to create a greater degree of loyalty by ensuring their services fit the quick-response needs of today?s consumers.

Investing in tech
In a 2010 report Deloitte concluded that technology investment in the hospitality industry was significantly lagging behind other sectors. Five years later, not much has improved, as spending on tech has declined as a percentage of revenue and investment has often failed to deliver the efficiencies or returns that were promised.

To be successful in 2015, the industry needs to address friction through key areas of online booking and mobile engagement as CRM will depend upon in-room and product innovation that consumers, not hotels will determine as the required future technologies.

Hilton is among those operators that have embraced the mobile world by launching apps meant to manage bookings. Within a week of the initial launch, Hilton?s application had been downloaded more than 6,000 times. Services of this kind have become commonplace and allow hoteliers to foster a greater degree of loyalty, ensuring their services fit the needs of guests more than the offerings of their competitors.

Also trending is mobile-friendly Websites that maximize the benefit of mobile tech. When Marriott launched a responsive version of its site, it reported sales in excess of $1.25 million through mobile browser sales within the first 10 days.

Additional mobile services already being implemented by hotels include interactive GPS/mapping systems, reward programs, confirmation and pre-arrival texts. These innovations are being stretched further to encourage greater advocacy and also present the opportunity for greater customization via customer text-specific requests.

Concepts of traditional advertising are no longer applicable in the global online marketplace. The focus has now shifted to brand communications rather than advertising as marketing moves into a new phase where companies no longer own their brands anymore and the consumer decides whether companies are communicating effectively or not.

?I think the industry is just beginning to realize and embrace the changes that a digital, ?always-on? environment necessitates, and things are having to move quickly because technology is impacting the globe at such a fast pace,? Mr. Adelson said.

?Mobile technology is only the beginning. Wearable technology is seeing technology actually becoming more a part of our person, and technology is getting so small it can actually be embedded into our bodies.?

 Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York