Not Your Last Resort: A Mobile-First View of the Travel Hospitality Sector Beyond Hotels

When travelers think of hospitality, they likely think of being in a cozy hotel room or poolside at a luxury resort. But the hospitality sector also encompasses a much wider ecosystem of products and services, including but not limited to:

  • Food & Beverage (restaurant, cafeteria, dining hall)
  • Event planning (conferences, sporting events, social functions)
  • Concerts
  • Stadiums
  • Theaters
  • Amusement parks
  • Cruises
  • Tourism
  • Recreational facilities (playgrounds, arcades, bowling alleys)

The hospitality sector is large and diverse, but hospitality operators also share the same basic challenge to increase efficiency and drive more revenue. For a sector that serves such large crowds – the largest stadiums in the world hold more than 100K people – achieving increased efficiency and more revenue begins with providers’ ability to streamline core business transactions around customers’ mobile devices. This includes everyday transactions such as booking, ticketing and payments. With mobile-first solutions, operators in the hospitality sector can make travel easier for their patrons or guests, and generate new and higher revenue.

Hospitality: A Mobile-First View
To really understand the business opportunity in the hospitality sector, we should look at hospitality from the mobile user’s perspective.

For most people, travel is a significant experience, whether going to a sporting event or concert, taking a family vacation or dining at a fine restaurant. These are not trips where customers want to fumble around for paper money or tickets. Now that people have smartphones anywhere they go, they want the ease and convenience to do everything from their mobile devices – buying tickets, ordering room service or getting seat-by-seat views of a stadium. The business case for hospitality is simple: operators and merchants must meet customers’ mobile UX expectations or they will fail to grow revenue.

While mobile-first commerce may be an unfamiliar or intimidating topic for some hospitality operators, the reality is that mobile solutions can be quick, cost-effective, and address specific needs such as supporting a new mobile payment wallet. Just as importantly, hospitality operators can scale their mobile solutions as business needs grow, so there is minimal risk of “outgrowing” their mobile investments. Mobile solutions are also easily interoperable with legacy technology, adding new capabilities to existing systems for reservations, booking or ticketing.

Going forward, implementing a mobile-first strategy will be the most efficient and profitable way to maximize revenue on every travel transaction. With mobile, travel operators can spread out transactions to customers’ smartphones, where they can conveniently order tickets, book hotel rooms, tip hotel staff or plan their day at the amusement park. The key to revenue generation will be creating a seamless, frictionless mobile experience where customers can enjoy a start-to-finish entertainment experience (like a concert or a movie) while being entirely cashless and paperless.

Mobile-First Hospitality
In a certain sense, we could say that hospitality operators helped pioneer mobile commerce with 2D/3D barcode-based ticket readers and similar systems. However, now is the time to advance beyond these tactics; not only do mobile solutions improve the efficiency of transactions – making it faster and easier to book, pay or manage travel – but they also provide non-transactional value. Every mobile device is a new data source, which helps operators improve user experience and move them along the path to purchase.

What does a mobile-first hospitality sector look like? According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the US and Europe account for hundreds of amusement parks, generate billions in annual revenue and serve thousands of guests daily. That represents a significant number of mobile transactions just waiting to be monetized. To maximize revenue on each transaction, hospitality operators should integrate loyalty offers and rewards into more transactions – one hotel was so good at monitoring social media, they could reward an engaged couple with a bottle of champagne the moment they tweeted out their love. That is the kind of opportunity that an integrated mobile strategy can create… and the kind of approach hospitality operators should strive to take.

CellPoint Mobile provides mobile solutions for the global travel sector, and can help your hospitality business generate higher mobile revenue across all travel transactions.  To find out how, get in touch with us here.