Hotelfy concept

The only hotel app, the travellers need to download.

Travellers of today manage their daily lives through their smart phones - at home, and also when on the road. Many hoteliers are planning to get their own hotel app. In this scenario, travellers may have to download a new app every time they are visiting a new hotel. The problem is that consumers do not want to download too many apps in their phones. And once the trip is over, there lies a danger, that the guest will discard the app - since there will not be need for that particular hotel app in the next coming 6 or 12 months[1].

Hotelfy-App enables guests to download only one app, which enables them to master their reservations, manage rooms and to communicate with all the listed hotels. Since the app covers several hotels, the guests are less likely to discard it after visiting one hotel. They may use it again and again with new visits and hotels, and thus it is already saved and in use, when they return to that same hotel again. Plus, they have learnt to use it, so the usage will be more efficient next time and offers more benefits for the guest and the hotelier.

The app has 2 layers: general layer and hotel layer

General layer

The general layer contains all the relevant personal information of the guest. There is the necessary personal information to compile the reservation or check-in (including family members, passport info, addresses and so on). In addition, the app contains information about guest's relevant preferences, like room preference (upper floors, ground level, near elevator..), room equipment (bathtub, yoga mat, balcony, work table..) and also some personal preferences from favourite foods, to travelling habits and allergies - and many others. How the hoteliers can utilize this information, will be explained later (see MyData).

Guests may also create different profiles. There can be a business profile and few leisure profiles, for example. The needs and habits will vary if one is travelling with the family or just friends.

The guests can also view their history and, for an example, export pdf files to create travel reports for business expenses.

The idea is that guests will actively maintain and update their information to keep it up-to-date.

Hotel layer

The hotel layer will be each hotel's (or chain's) own zone. It will be almost like an ordinary hotel app. It covers, for an example, the hotel & city information (directory) or the nearby map with different points of interests (POI). These POIs will be the ones, that hotel would recommend; e.g. 'if you want to find a really good bookstore, go there', and will be visible based on the guest's preferences.

The key benefit of the app, is to enable smooth Guest Experience. The application allows users to handle their stay effortlessly, as well as make it easy for the staff too. Once the guests have booked their stay, they could communicate with the hotel - or even before booking.

There are many occasions and ways for a guest to communicate with the hotel. They can manage their booking, do check-in or pre-check-in[2], order room service, softer pillows, taxi or book a table for example. Guests can also send feedback - during and after the stay. But the communication goes both ways. The hotel can advertise their packages before the trip has been reserved. Or they can offer upgrades (based on the guest preferences) once the booking is made. And during the stay, hotel can promote a Happy Hour, or ask for feedback.

In addition to the hotel information and two-way communication, the hotel layer also covers remote Room Control. The guest could adjust the air conditioning or control the TV in case the hotel systems are compatible. Guests could even set room lights to illuminate slowly 10 minutes before the wake-up time[3]. Limber Way has several partners, which can provide different control systems to enhance the Customer Experience if the hotels wish to improve this side.Hotel layer of the application contains also the hotel search. All the listed hotels that are part of the App community will be searchable through different attributes. Our philosophy is to enable and encourage direct bookings without commissions, though we also encourage hotels to offer some benefits for loyal app users.

Lite versus Pro version

There exist two versions of application Lite and Pro, requiring respectively different levels of participation from hotels. The Lite version has simpler setup, smaller investment need and bit less features than the Pro version. Pro version is usually integrated deeply in the hotel's systems (including PMS and CRM), while the Lite requires a little more manual work. The guest does not necessarily notice the difference. For example: Both versions offer Room Service. If the guest wants to order a hamburger and a beer in the room, it will look alike in the app. The Lite will deliver the message to the specific dashboard, email address and/or restaurant mobile phone. Whoever receives the message, will then reply to the guest and inform the chef to start preparing the burger. The price of the meal will then be manually inserted in the guest's room bill. The Pro version will do the same, except the order is to be inserted into the PMS system and the kitchen POS and the charge to be automatically directed to the guest's room bill.

Pro version has some additional features that require integration with different hotel systems. If the hotel has for example installed compatible Smart Locks, the guests could open the room door with their mobile phone.

There exists also Lite Plus version. That is the Lite, but enhanced with hotel specific additions, such as links to web check-in or automated content management directly from the web-pages or TV-system. It does not require integration with the PMS system, but usually contains some communication (sharing) with 3rd party services.

MyData approach

The App is built with MyData-approach. In practice it means, that the guest owns and controls their personal data and has all the needed tools for it. The application is designed to meet the GDPR requirements. As the guests controls the application data and communications, they most probably feel more relaxed to share not just mandatory guest information, but also relevant additional data with hotels. Naturally it is important that all parties are committed to handle the data with care and being worth of the trust. By following the guidelines for respecting privacy and keeping marketing related communication relevant, the hoteliers may establish long lasting relationship and channel to reach their customers. Naturally in case the guests would get too much spam and feel overwhelmed, they can limit to push messages they get or ask to be forgotten (after the legalization based time period during hotels have duty keep guest information in their registry). The benefit of giving control for customers is to ensure a low threshold for application usage and relevant data sharing - and even more extensive sharing of additional information when it can mean better deals and better customer experience without security risks.

Application covers also tools for hoteliers to send customers import accommodation related (automatic) notifications, ask feedback, and - with customers consent - send limited number targeted marketing messages (e.g. to create an event or a campaign just for business travelling males who like football and vegetarian food).

We have also created 'a coupon section' in the App. There the guests can gather different targeted promotions sent by hotels, to be utilized later.

Scope of implementation work

The Lite version will be quite standard. It has certain features, which hotels can adopt and use without major investment. Setting up the system, requires technically a day or two. Planning the processes around it, may require a little bit more time. Limber Way will offer consultation as part of the start package. All hotels should be able to be up and running within two weeks, however.

Hotel can also choose the Pro version. It can be upgraded from the Lite or bought directly. As it involves integration with the different systems (from PMS to door locks, POS and CRM), it will call a project. The total workload will depend on the integration levels and systems. In some cases, Limber Way may even have to develop the App further. The recommendation is, that a hotel first adopts the Lite version and starts getting the feedback and experience. Once the hotel's knowledge about the App usage has increased, we can optimise the integration of the Pro version.

As mentioned, if the hotel is interested, we can together evaluate possibilities to run Lite Plus -version. That is basically the Lite, but we can add for example mobile web booking or check-out functionalities.

Like said, the idea is to improve the Guest Experience, but also to streamline the hotel's operations. Application helps hotels to digitalize the customer journey (not just a journey, but many journeys, based on different profiles with business vs. leisure travel) and thus give superior, personalized service without higher personnel costs or large investments. People are increasingly managing their daily lives through their mobile phones, although they just do not want to download, setup and keep endless number of apps.

[1] Our research shows, that even mid-size hotel chains (international with 15+ hotels) can have less than 5.000 downloads with their apps - and the majority does not keep the app in their phone.

[2] Pre-check-in (PCI) is a concept to simplify the check-in process. The PCI opens usually 24h before the actual check-in. The guest will send the necessary check-in information, and also the estimated-time-of-arrival (ETA). The info can also contain other useful information, such as health info, room preferences or wishes for parking place reservation. Once the guest arrives at the hotel, they do not have to wait in line and/or fill in the papers again. They just simply walk at the desk and signs a ready-printed document.

[3] This is of course if the hotel has the appropriate Smart Lightning system (e.g. Houm) in place.