Mobile Apps Give Hotel Businesses a Personal Touch

As mobile devices become more and more essential to business and leisure travelers alike, hotels are now capable of offering guests unprecedented levels of personalisation for check-in, amenities and more through mobile apps.

However, in order for mobile apps of that nature to be effective, both as a tool for a personalised guest experience and the collection of data for marketing, guests must be willing to divulge some level of personal information.

Research conducted by Doctors Cristian Morosan and Agnes DeFranco at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management has indicated that more than 33% of guests are willing to disclose personal information on hotel apps, as long as they meet certain criteria.

"Guests weigh the risks and benefits of information disclosure and are willing to disclose personal information to apps, if the hotels make the personalisation benefits clear to them and design apps that stimulate positive emotions, such as joy, pleasure and excitement," said DeFranco. "Hotel apps should be conducive to trust, and allow guests to reduce their search time and conveniently find/personalise services that are relevant to their consumption."

The type of information requested is reportedly a factor, too. According to the study, guests were much more willing to share certain information, such as room preferences, amenity preferences and gender, and less willing to share details like income, credit card information and driver's license or passport numbers.

Of the survey's 320 respondents, over 85% said they always carry a mobile device when traveling, with more than half revealing that they carry two to three devices.

"Through smartphones and tablets, hotel apps can become rich portals for guests and superb tools for hotels to learn about their clients, anticipate their needs and provide outstanding service," Morosan added. "As guests set increasingly blurry boundaries between the public and private spheres of their lives online, investigating how they trade their personal information for uniquely personalised hotel experiences will continue to be a top priority for our research agenda."