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Hotel apps benchmarking report 2015

Global online travel sales are estimated to reach £612 billion by 2018. Mobile bookings alone will account for 35% of the total volume- that is £214 billion in revenue.

The opportunities for the hospitality industry to innovate and capture audience is immense. And understanding how today’s travellers interact and make purchase decisions has never been more important for hotel brands.

Monitise Create, a London-based mobile and innovation studio, have put together a report to understand the current mobile offerings from a selection of top hotel brands with presence in the UK and benchmarked them against 100 different criteria.


Speak to the experts from Monitise Create and find out how you can give customers the inventive and exciting mobile experience they now demand. Whether it’s revitalising your mobile strategy, analysing your current app performance against your competitors or building a future roadmap, we can move your business ahead of the digital curve.



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Hotel apps benchmarking report 2015

  1. 1. BENCHMARKING HOTEL APPS Summary report December 2015
  2. 2. CONTENTS THE MOBILE REALITY Mobile shouldn’t be thought of as a device, but as a lifestyle. Mobile is a powerful driver of changes in customer behaviour, creating constant demand for new solutions. MAKING THE GRADE Hotel guests are no longer satisfied with the basic functionality provided on mobile. How can hotel brands transform this challenge into an opportunity? HOTEL APP BENCHMARKING Which brands are leading the charge in digital innovation, and which are lagging behind? What does it take to deliver an outstanding hotel app? ABOUT MONITISE CREATE Monitise Create are mobile leaders who specialise in helping brands face the challenges of digital disruption. We support the hotel industry to meet the raised demands of today’s mobile travellers.
  3. 3. Understanding consumer behaviour has never been more important for hotel brands. Today’s travellers interact and make purchase decisions across multiple touch points, both offline and online, and their expectations have never been higher. Global online travel sales are estimated to reach £612 billion by 2018*, with mobile bookings expected to account for 35%. That means £214 billion in mobile revenue is up for grabs. Meanwhile, we’re seeing immense potential within the hotel industry to capitalise on emerging consumer trends, with a lot of this potential not being realised. This is the starting point of our benchmarking report. This report examines the current mobile offerings of a selection of top hotel brands with a presence in the UK. Our special interest is in the state of functionality offered, the overall user experience, and identifying opportunities for growth and innovation. Brands who pursue seamless digital experience will be best placed to succeed in today’s mobile-first marketplace. We aim to help arm hotel brands with the tools to attract, engage and retain customers through the most effective and personal device we have ever owned. We invite you to be part of this journey. HOTEL NEWS NOW MOBILE IS NOT A TREND, BUT A REALITY. ““ ”” INTRODUCTION *Source: Euromonitor
  4. 4. The mobile reality With more than 7 billion mobile subscriptions on the planet, the opportunities for the hotel industry to innovate and capture audiences is immense. When it comes to making travel purchases, more than two-thirds of US and UK travel audiences use their mobile devices to make hotel reservations, while nearly half of them make flight reservations on the go. Statistic source: comScore; Expedia Media Solution Report 2015
  5. 5. of millennials have booked trips using their smartphones one out of every 4 dollars generated in the online travel industry originates from a mobile device $$$$ From research, to booking, to travel, today’s travellers rely heavily on their mobile devices to organise almost every aspect of their trip. They will use it to find local restaurants, for advice on sights and activities, to navigate, to review and to converse. Travellers are always connected and constantly looking for the services that will simplify and enhance their experience. Consumption of travel content continues to rise
 When accessing travel content, today’s audiences expect a seamless integration across different mobile devices from smartphones and tablets to wearables. Currently, there is an active travel audience of 29 million in the UK who use mobile devices to access content every month. 70% accessed content via smartphone only and 14% via both smartphone and tablet. Mobile booking is a basic customer expectation
 Mobile booking now represents nearly 25% of online travel bookings. This means one out of every 4 dollars generated in the online travel industry originates from a mobile device. A poor mobile booking experience forces travellers to go elsewhere, and results in the loss of commission-free, direct revenue for your business. 29 MILLION UK audience, which looks for travel content on mobile each month. Of those: access travel content only via their smartphones70% Statistic source: comScore; Expedia Media Solution Report 2015 50% THE IMPORTANCE OF MOBILE CONTENT AND MOBILE BOOKING
  6. 6. Today’s travellers are savvier than ever with how they use smartphones and tablets for travel content and booking. Mobile sites and apps are heavily relied upon to complete travel tasks; from planning, comparing prices and booking to confirming details. As the first touch points for quick searches and price comparison, mobile sites are critical to a comprehensive digital strategy. However, mobile apps are proven to drive higher engagement and repeat custom. On average, travellers will spend nearly 4 times more time in a travel app than on a mobile travel site. For brands that want to increase customer loyalty, mobile apps could be the ‘key’ branded asset. Given the real-time, location-based data and user behavioural insights available, mobile apps represent the ideal platform for brands to foster valuable long-term relationships with their customers. Source: comScores Travel Decision report; Mobile Consumer Behaviours Report 2015 of leisure travellers have downloaded and used a travel- related smartphone app of leisure travellers have encountered a travel site that was not mobile friendly, resulting in a negative perception of the brand of US and UK smartphone users who booked via mobile app would do so again 1 IN 2 UK travellers booked 
 air/hotel travel via a mobile 
 app in 2014 App Browser 30.1 8.6 21.3 13.1 Minutes Per Visitor 78% 75% 83% MOBILE APPS DRIVE LOYALTY
  7. 7. Making the grade Mobile is now being used by almost every hotel guest throughout their travel journey. Use of different mobile devices across all travel stages is rapidly becoming the norm. Whether on smartphone, tablet or wearable, today’s mobile travellers expect not just a mobile-basic, but a mobile-optimised, personalised and seamless experience. How are hotel brands meeting these expectations?
  8. 8. Out of 100 travel apps topping the App Store charts, only 4 are brand-specific hotel apps. The highest ranking, Hilton, is listed in 63rd place. Airline apps are faring significantly better in this space; Easyjet, British Airways and Ryanair are all ranked in the Top 12, demonstrating that consumers are valuing the two industries very differently for their mobile offerings. In recent years airlines and hotels have faced similar pressures from online travel agents (OTAs), with both seeing their margins and their control over customer experience compromised. Predictably OTAs dominate this list, totalling 19 out of the 100 and including giants like Tripadvisor, Expedia and As digitally led enterprises, OTAs tend to offer richer feature sets and faster innovation than their more traditional counterparts. But airlines have claimed a powerful stake in this space despite facing similar disruptive challenges to hotels. TOP 100 TRAVEL APPS IN THE APP STORE #63 #68 #81 #93 4 apps HOTELSRankings as of 7 December 2015 #38 #67 #74 #98 #99 #11 #10 #7 #45 AIRLINES 9 apps #3 #6 #14 #15 #16 #20 #29 #35 #41 #46 # +60 19 apps OTAs
  9. 9. A CUSTOMER’S BEST EXPERIENCE WITHIN ONE INDUSTRY HAS BECOME THEIR MINIMUM EXPECTATION WITHIN ANOTHER Digital brands are raising consumer expectations across the board, meaning brands have to work harder than ever to achieve customer satisfaction. Airline brands have responded to new competition by introducing added value features for their customers. User-friendly innovations include boarding pass scanning, mobile check-in, digital loyalty schemes and flight reminders being sent to smartwatches. The hotel industry already has an engaged audience; 83% of travellers use their smartphones to access hotel content. However, more than 50% of consumers reported frustration, after downloading a hotel app that offered no functional advantages over the business’ mobile website. Hotels need to consider what value their mobile applications can offer above and beyond their digital competitors.
  10. 10. To wrestle control from OTAs, hotels need to create a compelling digital customer experience that cannot be replicated.
  11. 11. Hotel app benchmarking Our hotel application benchmarking exercise was created to test the extent to which hotels are creating a unique and compelling experience on mobile. Although mobile sites and brand apps have become commonplace in consumer- facing industries, parts of the hotel industry are lagging behind. Within the top 70 hotel brands in the US and Europe, only half have their own branded mobile app and less than a quarter have an optimised mobile site.
  12. 12. THE HOTELS BENCHMARKED To interrogate the extent to which hotels are creating compelling user experiences on mobile, we selected twelve hotel brands to examine in detail across over 100 data points to formulate the comparative score. The selection was identified using the following criteria: Scale Brands with a high enough profile that a consumer expectation for mobile products would exist. An active presence in the UK with at least 40 hotels globally or in the UK, and good unprompted awareness. Mobile Presence Brands with a currently available mobile application on at least one platform. Demographic range Brands which represent a broad range of consumer segments, for the selection to show a reliable cross section of the industry.
  13. 13. THE KEY CRITERIA Discoverability Discoverability is a measure of how accessible an application is through search engine optimisation, smart app banners, website promotion and most importantly platform support across iOS, Android, Windows Phone and wearables. Consistency Consistency of branding across channels creates familiarity and a more seamless experience, which directly contributes to increased user engagement. Consistency was measured by comparing the branding across different channels. Brand Emotion Every brand carries associations and expectations for a consumer, and matching these to the brand experience is important to avoid losing brand equity. Brand emotion was analysed 
 by assessing how well the application delivers on the brand’s promise 
 and essence.
  14. 14. Functionality Compelling functionality drives users to download and use applications, so has an important role to play. In this context we’ve defined ‘compelling functionality’ as features which create experiences and answer use cases that OTAs cannot. We conducted interviews with hotel app users from various backgrounds, and used these to identify 50 use cases. The ability of each application to complete these use cases was then analysed, with scoring adjusted to reflect the value of the functionality to users. THE KEY CRITERIA Usability Functionality is of little value to a user if they cannot complete tasks with ease. Inadequate usability causes frustration and is a primary cause of users abandoning tasks and uninstalling applications. Usability was scored against a number of factors which influence the ability to complete a user journey. These included the number of steps required, clarity of information architecture, conformation with mobile design guidelines and the clarity of in-app instructions.
  15. 15. THE KEY CRITERIA Security Any application that handles sensitive customer data or payment information has a responsibility to protect its customers through use of industry standard security practices. Applications were assessed on how well they were protected against malicious users intercepting sensitive data whilst being transmitted, protection against extracting sensitive data held on a customer’s mobile device, and protection from being installed / modified on jailbroken devices. Quality Quality is the ability for an application to perform reliably and consistently. A poorly engineered application will result in a user experiencing defects, preventing them from completing tasks or in some cases being able to open an application. As with usability, a poorly constructed application will cause user frustration and discourage users from returning to it. Quality was measured by the number and severity of defects that our quality analysts were able to produce through rigorous testing. 
  16. 16. Discoverability 20% How easy is it for users to find and download the application? Functionality How well does the functionality answer identified customer needs? Usability How fast and easy is the app is to understand and use? Consistency Does the app deliver a consistent brand experience across platforms? Security How safely does the app run on a jailbroken device or when encountering malware? Quality How reliable and stable is the application’s performance? Brand Emotion Does the application delight it’s users? 20%20% 15% 15% 5% 5% THE KEY CRITERIA
  17. 17. 79 1 HILTON Functionality Consistency Discoverability UsabilityQuality Brand emotion Hilton HHonors' application is the clear industry leader, outperforming all other products reviewed. Features like digital room keys and the ability to choose a room from the hotel floor plan make Hilton a leader in innovation. Despite the quality of the application, there is opportunity for Hilton to promote it more widely, through simple wins like smart app banners. Security
  18. 18. 77 2 MARRIOTT Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion Marriott’s digital concierge offerings placed it second in our report, with features facilitating pre-stay requests and conversation with hotel staff during a stay. They also stood out for their creative use of push notifications. In the scope of its functionality Marriott could offer customers more control, some of its main competitors score higher for ease of use.
  19. 19. Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion 72 3 IHG IHG delivers excellent consumer-focused loyalty functionality, even allowing users to spend their loyalty points on merchandise. The app would benefit from some of the more forward thinking functionality offered by other brands, features like digital room keys, integration into hotel facilities and refined search.
  20. 20. Functionality Consistency DiscoverabilitySecurity UsabilityQuality Brand emotion 70 4 ACCOR GROUP Account management, booking management and advanced search functionality are Accor’s areas of strength. The app scored respectably in most other areas, but would benefit from some experience or functional innovation. Accor’s score was the weakest of the larger brands on security.
  21. 21. Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion 68 5 STARWOOD A visually attractive and informative application, with some stand out functionality including digital keys and Uber integration. The unusual design presented some navigational challenges. Amendments to the interface could yield big returns for user experience.
  22. 22. 60 6 MELIA Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion Melia scored highly on brand emotion, with excellent use of imagery and visual effects. It had the weakest discoverability level overall, due to limited promotion and channel support. The functionality score reflects a lack of features tailored towards users during their stay. The introduction of these would be a valuable addition.
  23. 23. 55 7 W HOTELS Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion W Hotels is the most unique of all the applications examined for this report. Targeted at a youth audience, it offers novel functionality such as music streaming. Room booking is the only typical hotel app functionality on offer. It doesn’t address the more basic user needs however, and inclusion of standard features would be useful to its customer base.
  24. 24. 53 8 MOTEL ONE Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion Motel One is a well thought-out application, which scored highly on usability. The primary detractor was the scope of functionality, Harnessing the native capabilities of the mobile device would greatly benefit user experience.
  25. 25. 52 9 RADISSON GRP Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion Radisson's application, Radisson Blu, boasts some advanced functionality, however, there is low hanging fruit around streamlining design and execution. The opportunity for Blu is to present greater consistency across iOS and Android, especially the latter.
  26. 26. 51 10 JURYS INN Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion Jurys Inn’s app has not taken advantage of the modern design principles applied by other brands in this report. As a result, a contemporary app risks looking slightly dated. The functionality is basic, especially compared with competing OTA products. Jurys Inn should consider how it can add value and differentiate itself over these competitors.
  27. 27. 50 11 BEST WESTERN Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion The quality and usability of this app are limited by the fact it operates in many places within a browser frame. This does have benefits for its security score however. The app also offers unique functionality in the form of showing flight departures and arrivals for the local airport.
  28. 28. 48 12 TRAVELODGE Functionality Consistency Discoverability Security UsabilityQuality Brand emotion When downloading an app from a chain of Travelodge's size consumers expectations are already raised. Travelodge’s app operates largely within a mobile site, which means it cannot deliver the level of sophistication its customers are accustomed to from their experience interacting with other high profile brands on mobile.
 The spectrum of approaches to mobile across our selection of top hotel brands is wide. Whilst leaders in the industry are playing to their strengths in booking, loyalty, in-room and concierge services, it’s clear that a number of players aren’t delivering applications worthy of their brands. But looking within the industry is no longer enough. A typical iPhone user has 26.8 apps, and their experience expectations are high. Hotels are not just competing against each other and OTAs, they’re competing against every brand and startup in the app store. With such a relentless pace of change in the world of mobile technology, companies are made and unmade at an alarming rate. But rather than see this as a threat, established brands should see this as an opportunity.
 - PWC Digital disruption means that there are many uncertainties ahead for every established industry. The one thing we can be sure of, however, is that brands who focus on innovative mobile offerings and seamless digital experiences will be best placed to succeed in today’s mobile-first marketplace. After all, the best way to predict the future is to create it. Average61 79 77 727068 6055 5352 515048
  30. 30. Our way of working Monitise Create can help your brand navigate the fast-changing technology landscape. We create innovative mobile offerings and seamless customer experiences, helping you succeed in today’s mobile-first marketplace.
  31. 31. ABOUT MONITISE CREATE Monitise Create is a mobile innovation and engineering studio based in the heart of Soho. A collaborative team of 160 futurologists, we have extensive experience of working with the world’s biggest and best brands to help them re-define the way their customers engage with them. We balance expertise in strategic thinking and effective design that drives material business gains, and an almost unparalleled foundation in building hundreds of consumer-facing, transactional apps for all platforms since our foundation as a company in 2010. We have driven more than £40 million in additional annual revenue for Premier Inn and quadrupled the industry average booking conversion rate through mobile. We also defined and launched a UK first digital hotel proposition, hub by Premier Inn, which has been running at 65% operating cost and 96% occupancy since launch. Most Made For Mobile 2015 Most effective Mobile-first Service 2015 Mobile Utilities & Services 
 2015 Our latest awards for Hub by Premier Inn
  32. 32. Brand Emotion Business needs Customer needs Experience Brand values Products 
 & Services Creating an experience that is loyal to your brand and its values is at the heart of everything we do at Monitise Create. We immerse ourselves in every aspect of your 
 brand - values, experience, products and services - 
 in order to understand your business needs and the 
 needs of your customers. OUR WAY OF WORKING
  33. 33. Functionality Usability Discoverability Business TechnologyCustomer Pipe dream Gimmick Irrelevant We make products that balance business requirements, customer needs and feasibility. To ensure this works, every project is a collaboration between a leading team of Business Strategists, Experience Designers and Creative Technologists. We’re focused on ensuring every touchpoint we create is as user-friendly as possible. To do this, we spend time getting inside the minds of target users with a variety of research techniques. Before you are ready to go live, our strategists will work with you to define a successful adoption strategy, whether your ambition is to migrate existing customers to a new channel or to acquire new ones. Business Customers Channels OUR WAY OF WORKING Typical activities include: • Business modelling • Stakeholder engagement • Experience mapping • Trend analysis • Data analysis Typical activities include: • Focus groups • Audience research • User testing Typical activities include: • SEO • App store optimisation • Keyword analysis • Release scheduling
  34. 34. Consistency Security Quality To ensure consistency throughout our work, we take care to translate your brand values and emotion into assets and principles that benefit an overall customer journey. We work with you to create a coherent, long-term vision for everything we do and plan releases accordingly. This ensures a consistent level of quality for every stage from Minimum Viable Product onwards. Typical activities include: • Service blueprint • Style guidelines • Experience principles Typical activities include: • Mutually Authenticated SSL • Jailbreak detection library • OS beta access Typical activities include: • Roadmap development • Quality Assurance (QA) testing We ensure that your data and source code remain secure at all times, whilst ensuring compatibility with the latest releases of major operating systems. MVP Service blueprint Original connection Vision OUR WAY OF WORKING
  35. 35. Sign up for a workshop: Email: Speak to the experts from Monitise Create and find out how you can give customers the inventive and exciting mobile experience they now demand. Whether it’s revitalising your mobile strategy, analysing your current app performance against your competitors or building a future roadmap, we can move your business ahead of the digital curve. Are you ready for the new travel reality?