This article was originally going to be titled "Inspiration For Your Hotel's Mobile App" but sadly, after doing some research on hotel apps, we decided to change the title to "What To Avoid When Creating An App For Your Hotel."
It's important that when you begin something as important as a mobile app, that you are not only using your money wisely, but you are creating something guests will actually use, not something frustrating that leaves them asking why you even built it in the first place.
Whether your building the app alone or working with a developer it is important you AVOID the following.
Avoid Forgetting About The Basics
This one might seem a bit obvious, but sadly most of these mistakes are. Your home page should not be blank and the app's buttons should all go exactly where they say they will. Somehow a couple of these broken apps always make it to the App Store.
Your guests should be able to quickly locate the place inside your app where they can contact you, get more information, find attractions, etc.
Also consider your splash screen and background, if it's not visually appealing or doesn't makes sense, you've already lost their attention.
Avoid Large App Size
Do not create an app that requires a ton of space on your guests' phones. Not only will they need to actually have the space on their phone, they will need Wi-Fi to download your app.
Ensure your app is under 50 MB so they can download it while on the go with their cell phone's connection.
As you can see the app here is 200MB! There is no way guests will want to wait around for the app to load or even let that app take up precious space on their phone.
This is a discussion that should be had with your developer before a line of code is written.
Avoid Having Nothing For Guests
Remember who the end users will be, it's your guests, having hotel information and amenities is a good start, but they need and want more.
Do not just list your amenities and services, you want to show them how great you are, not tell them. Having the app centered around their needs is the perfect way to show and not tell.
Avoid using boring, plain text. Be sure to include some images and and/or videos, if your app looks the one here, you'll instantly loose their attention and your app will be deleted faster than it took them to find it.
Avoid Poor Design
Making sure your app is visually appealing and that is consistent with your hotel's style is very important.
If your app looks like it was designed by children or if the design is confusing, no one will ever use it, even if it has great content.
Avoid using the same icon everywhere or icons that are taken from Google Images like in these examples.
We touched lightly on this earlier, but usually it's not the home page that is blank, it is a random section of the app.
Make sure you guests don't get frustrated by pointing them to dead ends inside your app that have zero content.
If you create a section, make sure there is something there, or get rid of it!
Worse Than Dead-Ends. Dead-Ends With No Way Out
This is probably the biggest mistake you can make when creating app, you send the user to a place they can't get back from and it renders your app useless. Unless the guests is tech savvy and knows how to kill an app then restart it, they will never be able to get back to the rest of the app.
The example here shows a map inside a hotel's app, howeverthere is no way to go back to the other parts of the app, it is frozen which leaves the user frustrated and confused.
Make sure there is always a back button of some kind that is easy to locate.
Avoid Using Unnecessary External Websites
This example is attempting to use the Google Maps website inside of the app, instead of being sent to a map, the user sees this landing page promoting them to download Google Maps. This not only prompts them to leave your app but it also makes for a horrible user experience!
You can avoid this by ensuring maps are embedded in your app and that you are not taking a shortcut and accessing an external site.
Aside: If you are a Marriott property, know that when you try to send users to any Marriott webpage on their phone, it will re-direct them to Marriott's mobile home page every time, which can be frustrating.
Avoid Waisting Money On Features You Don't Need
Why spend your money on things like notepads or games inside your app? You can guarantee if these are things that interest guests, they already have better apps on their phones.
Your app should be relevant and helpful.Be sure to only include features that will benefit your guests and your property, otherwise it is waisted time and money.
If you want your hotel's app to be successful, avoiding these mistakes will get you started in the right direction.