In our section “5 questions with”, employees of Guestfriend, customers, partners or industry experts give insights into their work and business. Making a start with Marc Münster, Managing Director and co-founder of Guestfriend.
Right in time for the trade fair season, Guestfriend has launched two new products for hoteliers: the Wi-Fi Landing Page and the Digital Guest Directory as a hotel app. What is the idea behind these two products?
Hoteliers want to reach their guests at all times and guests want to communicate with their hosts. Having the right approach to communicate with guests in the hotel is vitally important. Whether via an app, the web, print or TV screens – every guest has his preferences. When looking for a hotel, Wi-Fi is an important criterion. It even influences our decision for or against a booking. The hotel’s Wi-Fi is usually the first point of contact with the guest after check-in and is therefore very important. We have found that most hotels are not really aware of this potential. Often there is no redirect after login and no landing page of the hotel pops up. However, if the hotelier uses our Wi-Fi Landing Page, the guest automatically receives all important information and offers from the hotel as soon as he is connected to the Wi-Fi. Practical, isn’t it?
And now to our Digital Guest Directory as a hotel app: the Digital Guest Directory is our very first product. Since then we continued to develop it along the needs of our customers. Our customers’ Digital Guest Directories have been available in the Guestfriend app and via a mobile website. Now we went one step forward and developed an on its own hotel app. This hotel app is the perfect choice for hotel or hotel chains who want an individually branded app.
How can the new products be used to increase profits?
The hotelier uses them to market his offers, services or events. Integrated booking and inquiry forms into the Wi-Fi Landing Page as well as into the Digital Guest Directory make bookings and requests for guests much easier. Additionally, via the app it is possible to send push messages with information and offers to the guests. The hotel thus draws attention to specific offers without being obtrusive.
What changes do you noitice in recent years with regard to the technology in the hotel an the expectations of guests ?
New technologies are changing the way people interact. And so is the communication among each other. Mobile devices are in every pocket today – even on holiday. People are used to being online at all times and use the latest smartphones, tablets or TVs. Of course, they don’t want to do without it on holiday. No wonder 2/3 of travelers expect digital technology in their hotels.* Small televisions and cable telephones in their rooms are no longer enough.
Does it make sense to use an app or has this trend long gone?
It does make sense! The app downloads have continued to increase in recent years. About 70% of users install at least one app per month. Especially in the travel industry, usage increases. Over 75% use travel tips and the trend is rising!
You are committed to the advancement of digitalization in the hotel industry – how is this reflected in further product development?
In the last two years, Guestfriend has established successfully in six countries. In 2018 we want to further expand our existing markets and open up new ones. We want to be a trusted partner for the hotelier and accompany him through the digitalization process. That is why we work closely with them, are also on site and take a look at the working routines in the hotel. This is the only way we can adapt our digital helpers to the needs or create completely new solutions that make everyday hotel life easier. Our goal is to become a digital all-rounder for the hotelier.
Marc Münster in conversation with Sandra Schneider, Gastfreund GmbH
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*(Oracle/Phocuswright, 2017, Creating the Coveted Hotel Experience, Perspectives from Consumers and Hoteliers; https://blogs.oracle.com/hospitality/oracle-hospitality-hotel-guest-experience-research-report)
**(App Annie, 2017, Spotlight – App Nutzung durch Verbraucher; https://www.appannie.com/de/insights/market-data/new-app-usage-report-how-many-apps-do-users-install-a-month/ )