Mobile spending is forecasted to increase across a range of industries as the year progresses. Retail marketers, especially, have already seen the value of mobile advertising and are using it as a platform to drive sales. However, for some areas of the hospitality industry, mobile has served a very different purpose. By infusing mobile into daily business practices, hotels and restaurants further their sustainability efforts while improving the overall experience for the consumer.
Replacing Traditional Menus with Tablets
Many restaurants offer daily specials or seasonal menus that constantly need to be updated and reprinted.Some higher-end restaurants will even include the date on the specials menus, forcing restaurants to discard them at the end of each day. Rather than reprinting dozens of menus each day and wasting paper, other restaurants are investing in mobile. A digital menu allows for flexibility, as Revolution Grille, an eclectic American restaurant based in Toledo, Ohio, saw when its tablet menu was launched last summer. The ability to change a menu provides opportunity for the restaurant to tweak dishes or even replace ones that may not be as popular among patrons. For an industry that has to worry about controlling food waste, disposing of paper properly should not have to be of concern anymore.
Instantly Redeemable Restaurant Deals
The restaurant landscape began to shift as a result of the financial crisis. Customers were dining out less frequently, putting a strain on the traffic and sales of many establishments. Soon after, daily deal sites emerged as a way to entice those customers back with price breaks. However, many of these deals still require the customer to take that extra step for printing, making the possibility of an impulse purchase less likely. In an interview with New York's WCBS-TV News, Farnoosh Torabi, author of Pysch Yourself Rich, states that “one in five buyers on these daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social end up completely wasting the voucher. They never redeem the deal.”
Unlike its competitors, Scoutmob, a mobile-based company that thrives off of local curated deals and events, delivers the deal right to your mobile phone, eliminating the need to print. At the end of a meal, all the patron needs to do is show the waiter the app and click “use this deal.” A pre-determined amount, usually ranging from $10 to $30, is immediately taken off the bill. As the reliance on smartphones becomes even more prevalent in the lives of consumers, traditional coupons will be replaced with mobile-accessible apps that can easily be scanned.
Resorts have started to introduce digital touch screens into hotel lobbies as a way to increase engagement with guests. These visually driven devices appeal to tech-savvy visitors who want to learn more about the hotel's offerings once they've arrived. By providing these in the lobby, hotel management can move away from printing pamphlets that constantly need to be updated according to day, week or season.
This concept also allows for hotels to provide guests with better customer service. Because of the ease of swapping out information and updating it, hotel management can easily update event and activity information for guests. Fliers in rooms can now be replaced with digital boards throughout the hotel, which guests are more likely to see and take notice of while roaming the hotel grounds.
When most brands approach mobile, their strategy is usually sales-driven. However, the hospitality industry has discovered ways to create seamless experiences for consumers while also practicing green initiatives through the adoption of mobile.