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Dolce Hotels rivals Hyatt with guest-centric SMS platform

Dolce Hotels and Resorts is attempting to compete with other mobile-friendly hotel brands, such as Hyatt and Courtyard Marriott, as it rolls out an SMS messaging platform that sends guests welcome messages, check-in options and booking capabilities via their mobile devices.

Hotel marketers are turning to text-based solutions to communicate more effectively with customers and offer customized features, such as the ability to text and request concierge services with their smartphones. As guest-centered SMS systems and rollouts of mobile room keys take off, hotel brands are set to make a serious splash in the mobile sector in 2015.

?It?s important for hospitality brands to not just leverage the latest technology, but do it in a way that adds value to the guest experience,? said Puneet Mehta, CEO of MobileROI, New York. ?Leveraging SMS to simply welcome a person to a property is not enough these days; the interaction must take into account who the person is, their current context and anticipate what they might need at any given time.

?A couple with young children arriving late and frustrated after delayed flights should get a message about the wonderful room service options, while a group of friends in town for a college reunion should get information about newly opened nightspots. It?s not just about personalizing experiences, but really understanding a person's context to create unique, compelling and amazing experiences that surprise and delight guests,? he said.

Guest connection
Hotels are discovering that leveraging mobile strategy makes it easier ? and more efficient ? to connect emotionally with consumers. Through hospitality technology firm Monscierge?s mobile platform, Dolce Hotels will be able to offer guests personalized texts during every step of the travel journey.

Monscierge?s content management system will enable Dolce Hotels to manage digital check-in and check-out, lobby touch-screen devices, mobile booking apps, a mobile request platform and a variety of other guest-centric features.

The system allows all of these technological pieces to be controlled from one centralized source.

Weary travelers will now be able to circumvent the lobby desk when checking in to a hotel, and can check-out of their rooms with the tap of a few buttons on their smartphones. Guests staying at Dolce properties can also use the mobile request platform to ask the concierge for information such as local dining recommendations.

With more travel marketing heading to mobile, a greater focus has been placed on seamless check-out experiences, especially within booking apps (see story).

Competitive space
The mobile sector is becoming an increasingly competitive space for hotels, as brands compete to roll out apps and features with the most amenities and convenience for consumers.

The Hyatt Regency Bellevue hotel in Seattle is also leveraging Monscierge?s platform, which is projected to save the property thousands of dollars each year due to its cloud-based solution (see story). Guests can text the concierge to make a reservation at one of the hotel?s dining locations, and will also receive welcome messages upon arrival.

Consumers may opt in to receive status updates about their hotel room prior to arriving at the hotel.

Meanwhile, Courtyard New York Manhattan/SoHo has launched a new mobile app that enables customers to check-in and check-out without waiting in long lines (see story). The app contains easy access to Marriott Rewards points and information about nearby destinations.

Marriott International is also one of the hotel brands that has been steadily introducing mobile room keys to consumers, which allow travelers to unlock their rooms with their smartphones via a Bluetooth connection (see story). Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Worldwide are entering the mobile key industry as well.

Ultimately, the travel and mobile sectors are becoming more intertwined as brands realize the potential of reaching consumers with mobile, and the ability to tap into an emotional connection to foster a lasting relationship.

?Mobile needs to be leveraged by the hospitality industry to remove friction in current customer processes, whether it is automatic check-in upon arrival, keyless entry, personalized recommendations and seamless booking for on-premise activities like golf of spa, or beacon-enabled messaging that alerts a guest to activities like the complimentary happy hour that is about to start,? Mr. Mehta said. 

?The use cases for mobile within the hospitality industry are truly endless," he said. "With more properties introducing new mobile programs and consumers' expectations for contextual experiences rise, no brand can afford to sit on the sidelines anymore.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York