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La Quinta alerts guests instantaneously via mobile concerning check-inBy
La Quinta Inns and Suites alleviates traveler frustration upon hotel arrival by alerting them when their room is ready for check-in on the day of arrival through SMS and email messaging.
Ready For You is available only when booking a room on LQ.com. When planning a stay online, guests can select a time frame in which they anticipate to arrive, and choose to receive either an email or text message alert when their room is ready, and will be notified when their room has been prepped.
“Say you decide to take an early morning flight to your destination city,” said Teresa Ferguson, director of communications and public relations at LQ Management, Irving, TX. “You arrive early and realize you have three to four hours before check-in time.
“You then have to make the decision of whether to go on with your day or go to the hotel and try to check in early,” she said. “Ready For You allows indication for what time you plan on arriving at the hotel, that way, if the hotel still has vacancy, you can be alerted to check in early.”
When en route for business or leisure, many travelers find it frustrating to arrive to their hotel only to discover their room is not ready.
The new feature helps ensure the room will be waiting for the guest.
The innovation is the result of consumer research conducted with La Quinta Returns members, who expressed interest in such a service.
The timeframe options are before noon, noon to 3 p.m., 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and after 10 p.m.
While other hotels have featured similar conveniences, La Quinta claims that this a hotel brand industry first.
La Quinta highlights how to use Ready For Me
Other industry leaders such as Marriott are leveraging mobile to transform the travel experience. Experimenting with text service requests within 15 hotels, Marriott is expanding mobile as a two-way communication channel between hotel representatives and guests who have real-time requests (see story).
Concurrently, Marriott is embracing mobile check-in and checkout as well, a service it first introduced last year and is now available at nearly 500 hotels.
Delving into last-minute bookings, La Quinta has already reported success with its LQ Instant Hold service, allowing guests to hold a room with just their mobile number for up to four hours.
“We have found that when people are on their mobile phones it’s difficult to book a room and input credit card information when on the go, the fat-thumb problem if you will,” said Ms. Ferguson.
This function eliminates the hassle of digging through a wallet and having to pull over or pause an activity to enter credit card information.
When researching who accesses their mobile site, La Quinta reports finding that 77 percent of users make same-day reservation or check for availability before arriving as a walk-in.
While it seems risky and probable that individuals could hold a room and then abandon the reservation since payment was never processed, La Quinta bets on its fast and convenient booking options to show travelers their hectic lifestyles are being catered to.
“Travelers are expecting such convenience. Opt-ins are substantial in this category because value is perceived. Plus, it saves on the need to heavily staff the front desk to answer such inquiries,” said Jeff Hasan, Seattle-based chief marketing officer of Mobivity.
Mr. Hasen is not affiliated with La Quinta. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.
“Texts are more immediate than emails. Since more than 95 percent are read within four minutes – and many within one — hotels guests will discover virtually instantly that their rooms are ready,” he said.
“But not all texts or emails are helpful. I stayed in a five-star property recently and opted in for texts. The only one I believe was beneficial was the ‘room is ready’ note. Other texts were irrelevant to me — no kids so why get a text about children’s activities? — and they became an annoyance. The lesson is provide value through personalization and don’t over-use the privilege.”
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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