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Christine Kern
December 02, 2016

How Mobile Gaming is Impacting and Changing Travel

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Mobile apps are transforming the hospitality industry. From mobile wallets to keyless entry, virtual concierge services, mobile ordering apps, personalized in-room entertainment and more, mobile apps are changing the way guests utilize hotel and restaurant services. The hospitality industry is jumping on the mobile app bandwagon with wild abandon.

“Today’s guests expect to be able to use their smartphones to do almost everything,” said George Corbin, senior vice president of digital, Marriott International. “They’re more mobile than ever and consider technology to be a central part of their lifestyle. We want to change the way people travel at our hotels.”

Even mobile gaming is changing the hospitality landscape through mobile apps. A recent Hotels.com study has found that geo-tagging, community building, and popular landmarks are among the new ways that mobile gaming is impacting travel and hotels can leverage these trends for higher traffic.  The survey found that New York is the top city when it comes to U.S. “Pokétels,” followed by San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., while Paris hosts 6 of the top 10 international “Pokétels.” And when it comes to travelers, they say that free hotel Wi-Fi is more important than free breakfast, because it means that guests can play Pokémon Go.

The study surveyed more than 500 millennial travelers based in the U.S. and learned that more than half of them (79 percent) said they plan to play Pokémon Go on their next vacation and that nearly half (48 percent) said that they would consider trying a new spot to play the game.

“This is an exciting time for the travel industry,” explained Taylor L. Cole, APR travel expert for Hotels.com. “People are visiting new destinations and exploring landmarks and places they never thought to see –whether it’s in your city or across the globe. Our surveys have always shown us how spontaneous travelers can be and Pokémon Go is no exception.”

And many of the major hotel brands have gone mobile, branding apps that offer options beyond just booking stays from mobile devices to providing local information and special deals for loyalty members. Among them are Marriott Hotels, which lets users check in and use expedited mobile check-in desks to pick up their room keys. Hilton Worldwide offers the Conrad Concierge app, which acts as a full-service concierge, allowing users to do things like order room service, book hotel spa treatments, choose what kinds of bath amenities they want stocked in their bathrooms and arrange airport transportation.


The W Hotels app features not just standard booking and concierge services, but also includes a music streaming function and lets users – including non-guests – to order anything they’d like to be sent to a guest room, and boasts an image-sharing feature that allows users to take and share photos directly from the app.

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Besides providing users with concierge services including booking reservations, providing city guides, and sharing special promotions, the Ritz-Carlton’s mobile app also boasts a built-in QR code reader that guests can use around the hotel to unlock special digital experiences related to that particular hotel location.

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Regardless of how quickly mobile devices integrate into hotel operations and how many processes that they will change, guests are going to demand that the industry embrace mobile devices because guests are integrating them into their everyday lives. As guests integrate mobile devices more fully into their everyday lives, the hospitality industry will need to keep pace with their mobile offerings or risk losing customers to their competitors.

Whether it’s integrating geo-location, guest services, location information and maps, or special attractions, AppSheet can help you customize apps to boost your guest experiences and leave them wanting to come back again and again.

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