City Premiere Hotel Apartments in the UAE has partnered with leading technology solutions provider for the hospitality sector, Neorcha, to deploy the myHotel App across the group’s five hotels in the UAE.
Locally owned and operated, City Premiere Hotel Apartments was looking for a mobile technology solution to drive more direct bookings to its properties in the UAE, with the aim to reduce commissions on third-party room reservations. In addition, the group was looking for a solution that would help their hotels build guest profile information as a customer relations management and marketing communications tool.
As one of the region’s leading hotel groups in its segment, City Premiere’s owners are always on the lookout for innovations that can enhance guest satisfaction in their hotels and optimize business performance. Return on investment however, is a key factor in their decision-making process for the adoption of any innovations, including new technologies.
City Premiere Hotel Apartments collaborated with Neorcha in 2016 to deploy the myHotel App across its five properties, to offer guests a mobile direct booking channel. The hotels, which see record levels of guest loyalty, can now offer returning guests the opportunity to download the City Premiere mobile app and book their next stay directly with the hotel through the click of button.
The myHotel App was installed across all of City Premiere’s properties in the UAE in June 2016.
City Premiere Hotel Apartments general manager Kamal Soubra said: "As one of the leading hotel groups in the hotel apartment sector in the region, we’re always looking at innovative ways to further improve the experience of our guests and to optimize the performance of our properties. Neorcha’s technology solutions and unique platforms facilitate this and their myHotel App suited our objective to drive more direct bookings to the hotels."
About the myHotel App
Neorcha’s leading hospitality technology solutions include the myHotel App, enabling hotels to maximise their customer experience by providing guests with access to a range of services including pre-arrival arrangements, concierge services, destination information and express check-out, in the palm of their hand.
myHotel App, finalist at the 2015 European Hotel Technology Awards, is inspired by the passion to connect people. Its messaging platform allows simple and easy interaction between hoteliers and guests, whilst its GEO location feature maximizes the effectiveness of a hotel’s marketing program through clever integration that can dynamically, and in real time, alert guests to events and promotions.
- Reduced OTA costs through own direct booking channel
- Accurate, rich guest data collection without staff involvement
- Personalized news and promotions for guests (push notifications)
- Streamlined access to loyalty schemes and e-vouchers
- Faster check in, shorter queues and keyless guestroom access
- Reduced operational costs through minimized printing at reception
- Guests’ own mobile devices used as an extension of the hotel’s voice system
Enabling hotels of any size to deliver best-in-class customer service, delivered through unique mobile platforms, Neorcha’s mobile solutions seamlessly integrate with hotel CRM, PMS, CRS, and POS systems, and can be fully customized to unique hotel brand standards and guidelines.
myHotel App deployment at City Premiere Hotel Apartments
City Premiere Hotel Apartments opted for Neorcha’s standard chain app, allowing for quick and seamless deployment across all its hotels in the UAE simultaneously as minimum customization and third-party system integration was required.
With the technology in place, City Premiere encourages guests to download the app and book their next stay direct through the application, which is promoted through a series of marketing and communications initiatives across the hotels, including a card at check-out that has the app’s QR code for easy access. Once downloaded, guests log in and create their own profiles after which they can book their upcoming stay directly through their mobile device.
As an incentive to stimulate use and engagement of the app, City Premiere offers users a preferred rate at their properties (discount varies depending on the season). Once the guest books through the app, their guest profile information is automatically generated and acknowledgement of the booking is sent to guest directly via the app.
Outcome and Return on Investment
City Premiere has been able to fully amortize its investment in the myHotel app already, with a very quick pay-back time of just three to four months. If we take into account the discount offered for bookings on the app as well as the achieved reduction in third-party commissions, the pay-back period was approximately six months, which was well within the company’s desired ROI timeframe.
Besides the financial gains, City Premiere also benefits from the ability to efficiently and effectively capture guest information and preferences and to directly and instantly communicate with guests via the platform using push notifications for the latest offers, promotions, packages and events across its properties.
Guest feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the app’s usage comes mostly from repeat and loyal guests at the hotels. These guests know the properties well and now have the opportunity to take full advantage from preferred rates either to extend their stay or to book their next visit.
Over the past six months, since the deployment of the technology, approximately 350 room nights are booked through the app every month, on par if not better performing than some of the group’s other distribution channels.
Commenting on the benefits of the app, Kamal Soubra said: "The myHotel mobile app is now a well-established, important direct booking channel for our hotels and it has the potential to generate more bookings than some of our other distribution channels, including our own website.
Operating in the mid-market segment we know and appreciate that our guests are rate-sensitive; being able to offer them a preferred rate as an incentive to book their return stay with us directly, has proven to be a win-win solution for everyone."
Project phases and timeframe
At City Premiere, the deployment of the myHotel App was quick as they opted for the standard chain app from Neorcha, which doesn’t require extensive customization or third-party system integration. All hotels were able to go live with the app at the same time in a span of four to five weeks.
Neorcha’s standard chain myHotel app can conveniently be used for groups up to 10 hotels. For larger hotel chains customization and system integration will be required, which typically takes the project timeframe up to three to four months depending on exact specifications, branding and customization requirements, and the number of desired features including guest requests, bill viewing on PMS, full integration with the CRS system, city guide and attractions information and loyalty programme modules.
- Project kick off and requirements gathering
- Incorporation of hotel brand guidelines to customize the look & feel of the app
- Collaboration with hotel IT to activate the different interfaces with third-party systems for integration (with weekly project checkpoints)
- Delivery and deployment of the technology
- User acceptance testing
- Go Live
City Premiere Hotel Apartments initially deployed the App with English language capability only, but is now working with Neorcha on the incorporation of additional language with Arabic planned for roll-out this year.
Roger El Khoury, Managing Partner of Neorcha said: "It’s been a great journey with the team at City Premiere and we look forward to a successful collaboration going forward.
My special observation with City Premiere is that the team has been exceptionally engaged and involved from the onset of the project and excited to implement and embrace the app in their day to day operations. From the front desk and concierge to the reservations departments and the executive team, they have provided consistent support to create awareness for the app and generate the results and ROI they have seen to date."
Neorcha’s Top Three Tips for the successful use of mobile apps in hotels:
- Concentrate on your regular guests and/or loyalty members as well as long stayers – they will be most receptive to the hotel app and inclined to use it on a regular basis
- Make sure to provide added value in terms of service or special rates to incentivise them to book directly through the app; create awareness for the app to ensure regular use
- Be pragmatic in your approach; use the app to make the stay of your guests easier and more enjoyable