The Growing Significance of the Mobile Concierge
Today, technology, almost more than anything, plays a huge role in how consumers book and experience travel. Prior to our hyper-connected world, travelers relied on brands and hotel concierges to get trusted tips and tricks. Now there’s more information than travelers even know what to do with. There is an ever-growing number of mobile apps to help people get where they’re going.
New mobile technology helps make it easier for business to provide information and consumers to receive it. Personalized travel is becoming the new norm and now startups want to help solve consumers' pain points. As a hotelier, it’s important to track trends and identify how your property can follow them.
Personalized travel is on the rise and consumers want to feel important. There are several companies who are attempting to put digital concierges in every traveler’s pocket. Here are a few who are leading the pack.
Lola is a startup that was created by seasoned travel industry experts, including the co-founder of Kayak, Paul English. They provide an app that promises to deliver on-demand travel information straight to travelers' phones. It's a text-based application that users download to their phone. With a mixture of real-life consultants and an algorithm, they'll provide everything from research to bookings.
The app is like an extension of a hotel’s concierge, except you’re not limited to just one person’s advice. Whether you’re planning a trip or already adventuring around a new city, Lola hopes to provide what they call “a premium level of travel care.” One day, they hope to be a one-stop shop for anything and everything you’d need during a trip.
Lola is currently invite-only, but their site claims that it will offer annual memberships in the future.
Scout is a technology startup on “a mission to make your travels relaxing, spontaneous and unique.” Similarly to Lola, Scout is a text-based app that acts as a travel and adventure concierge. They made headlines recently after winning most-innovative in hospitality text at Sabre forum.
Scout uses local experts to help travelers find the best spots around the city. They pride themselves on helping people experience the true local scene and avoid the tourists. Unlike Lola, the platform does not offer booking services and is less like a travel agent. Like a good friend, Scout focuses solely on giving people the best advice possible.
Scout guarantees to provide the best advice in less than five minutes. The service is free and currently available in the San Francisco, California area as well as in Los Angeles, California. Their site promises that more locations are coming soon.
Hello Scout also has as a partner program that allows hotels to use their technology. Your hotel can supply the same service Scout offers with a branded experience. Hello Scout says their app will help build brand loyalty which will in turn drive more bookings.
Alice App launched in 2012 in hopes of becoming the mobile solution for hotels. The idea was to build the infrastructure necessary to handle guests needs. It streamlines guests’ requests so that the right employee receives it. Existing hotel systems don’t allow for one synchronous system resulting in a dissatisfied guest.
Guests download the consumer app to request hotel services and amenities. Hotel staff download a different, hotel-facing app that delivers guest requests to the right department. The Alice App infrastructure makes it easier for the hotel to build a relationship with their guest. Alice is the ultimate solution to giving guests the personalized experiences they’ve come to expect from a hotel in 2016.
Hotels can use Alice App to create a mobile concierge that’s always at the hands of the consumer. In a mobile, digital world, it’s important to have the right tools to respond to guests’ needs. To learn more about Alice and the different services they offer, you can check out their product page here.
Lola, Scout, and Alice highlight an interesting, yet unsurprising, trend in the travel industry. Consumers want personalized, on-demand recommendations that help them live like the locals. And they want you as the hotelier to supply that experience.
Cookie-cutter tourism activities and attractions that were once highly sought after are now falling out of style. Your hotel’s guests want to travel on their own terms, and companies like Lola, Scout, and Alice provide a level of personalization that was previously too expensive or simply unattainable.
In the future, we can expect more companies like these to provide custom experiences. Other companies like Airbnb capitalize on this new trend by enabling consumers to travel on their own terms in new cities and neighborhoods.
Soon, these on-demand services will be less of a "nice-to-have" and become "need-to-have" for every hotel, including yours. Research ways for your hotel to create a personalized experience for every guest who walks through your doors.