The Best Hotel Apps For Improving the Guest Experience

by  David E. | Jul 17, 2013
iPad / grinvalds/iStock

Your smartphone allows you to do everything from tell time to watch all eight Harry Potter films. Apps have also become a thing of necessity on phones from helping us track our flights to playing pointless games involving birds. And the hotel industry isn't far behind. Today, some of the top brands in the business offer their guests robust apps that allow them such benefits as remote check-in and the ability to book spa treatments.

Take a look at these five hotel brands that are upping the ante in the mobile app space.

1. Best Western International
The value-conscious brand has always been a hit with budget-minded travelers and its app is making it even easier for guests to get the most out of their stay at one of their more than 4,000 hotels worldwide. The app allows customers a bevy of options, beyond the rudimentary search and make reservations (it does that, too): Manage and store travel plans, find nearby restaurants and attractions, and save your favorite locations before, during, and after your trip.

2. Marriott
Really, who wants to check in at the front desk anymore? Well, at Marriott, you don't have to. Their app lets users check into their hotel anytime after 4pm the day before their arrival. Guests can then pick up their pre-programmed key-card at special mobile check-in desks. You can also browse hotel photos and city guides, and even find hotels near to your position if you're in a pinch.

3. W Hotels
W has always been hip, so naturally, they needed an app to match. You can do a lot with this one, such as checking your SPG account on the go and exploring W destinations worldwide. But what's most exciting about the app are the extras that are, shall we say, so W. Love the music you hear in a W? Take it on the go; you can listen to what's currently spinning in W's oh-so-cool Living Rooms. There's also a retail component: Shop for W products, such as bedding.

4. Ritz-Carlton
One of the most robust hotel apps around comes from luxury brand Ritz-Carlton. Yes, you can do the usual (make and check reservations), but it's the added features that make this app so impressive. Look no further than the app's QR capability. By scanning the code at a participating hotel, you can get the entire Ritz-Carlton experience in the palm of your hand. For instance: guests can participate in an art tour led by QR codes from The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; learn about wine pairings at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong; or enjoy a digital scavenger hunt at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin. Oh, and you can even get insider tidbits from the luxury brand's president, Herve Humler.

5. Conrad Hotels
Hilton's luxury Conrad brand has a killer concierge app that is really the wave of the future in the hotel app space. It allows guests to do things they normally would have to do over the phone: Now, ordering room service, booking spa treatments, choosing bath amenities, and arranging airport transportation just a tap away. And that's not all; you can schedule a wake-up call from anywhere. Because, sometimes, you do want to speak to a human.

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