Travel and tourism trends indicate that online bookings are on the rise, growing by 8.4% in 2012, and garnering an impressive $524 billion in global revenue. Savvy hospitality business management understand that increasingly, travellers are looking online for customer support and services while on the road. With the right apps and websites, tourists can orchestrate their entire trip online, from buying tickets and booking flights, to reserving tables and ordering room service. In particular, they are turning to Mobile Concierge for all of their travel needs, and to guide their visits to new destinations.
Mobile Concierge: How does it work?
Essentially, the app allows hotel or resort management to connect with and travel alongside their guests wherever they go. Mobile Concierge provides guests with:
- advice on local entertainment
- useful information on regional attractions
- tourist events and activities
- restaurants and nightclubs
- “top things to do” lists
Users can even obtain these lists and services without an internet connection. The information is available in off-line mode in order to avoid hefty data roaming charges. Even better, the hotel or resort has complete control over what the app tells users – its contents can be tailored to suit the needs of specific marketing strategies. And if you’re concerned about standing out in the crowd, Mobile Concierge can be completely personalised with company logo, colours and information. But does the app’s growing popularity and usability mean the end of traditional, face-to-face concierge services?
The Modern Concierge
According to John Noel – CEO of Noel Group and long-time investor in the hospitality business- face-to-face contact with the concierge remains vital to a hotel’s success. Noel reminds management teams that online services are here to stay, and that the best approach is one that combines digital resources with the human touch. To stay current and remain indispensible, he suggests the following tips to the modern concierge:
Personalized Greetings and Expert Advice
- Send a welcome text to the traveler – reservations will have all relevant contact information
- Send a welcome email that provides links to the concierge’s blog: a professional commentary that gives inside information on local happenings and hotel services
- Help guests narrow down options they’ve found online with expert local advice – apps don’t always know that a restaurant has recently changed chefs or become too noisy for a quiet business dinner
- Offer to use pre-established contacts to make reservations
The truth is apps and search engines can yield a dizzying abundance of information. Nothing beats a local insider who can steer guests in the right direction by anticipating their interests and needs: that is the evolving role of the modern concierge.