Skip to content
Fast FWD Tech-2-1
4/8/24 5:54 AM3 min read

The Essential Guide to High-Performing Hospitality Apps

With hospitality app downloads increasing year over year, one would expect user satisfaction to soar alongside. However, the numbers paint a picture of digital discontent, with many user journeys leading more into exasperation than elation. 

According to the MODIV mindset survey, brand trust is among the top three reasons travelers choose one brand over another. Additionally, travelers proactively support brands they trust by paying more, choosing the brand over competitors, and recommending the brand to others. Information and communication from travel brands also have a significant impact on trust. Travelers expect transparency from travel brands, especially during times of uncertainty. Trust is expected to increase in importance for travelers in the next 18-24 months.
There are commercial opportunities tied to gaining and keeping trust, with travelers willing to pay more for a trusted brand. For instance, a trusted brand might keep travelers loyal and make them feel more comfortable traveling again after the pandemic.


The Paradox of Travel App DownloadsFWD_Feature_High-Performing Hospitality Apps -03

Despite soaring downloads, the customer satisfaction needle for travel apps has barely moved. JD Power’s recent Hospitality App Report showed strong dissatisfaction with airline app essentials such as boarding passes and flight tracking. Hotel apps fared marginally better, with a solid 68.2% satisfaction rate, mainly driven by users’ appreciation of essentials that make check in a breeze—convenience and functionality, without the frilly excess.

Getting these features right should be a priority for brands looking to build trust among customers, with Mindset data revealing 77% of travelers claim digital services such as mobile payment and digital boarding passes make them feel more secure when traveling.

In the relentless pursuit of the next shiny feature, brands often overlook what's glaringly clear—simplicity sells, complexity repels.


Dealing with App Fatigue

"Another update available" is the digital equivalent of hotel staff knocking on your door, chiming the timeless ‘Housekeeping.’ We can often do without, but the essentials, when they work, remind us why we’re here.
Travelers are a demanding bunch. They’re asking for reliable, fast, and device-agnostic internet, seamless AI-driven experiences, and the absence of those pesky little annoyances that make navigating a trip in the 21st century feel like attending a college orientation seminar all over again. Nonetheless, despite 87% of travel app users yearning for simplicity in their digital booking experiences, the numbers are sidelining those bells and whistles in favor of straightforward functionality and essential management.


FWD_Feature_High-Performing Hospitality Apps -04


So, Who’s Doing it Right?

Corporates, take a memo from Delta and Airbnb—two giants crafting experiences that are the very definition of 'download-worthy'. 
Delta’s homegrown digital solutions—the nerdy maps of terminal navigation and baggage tracking—are reason enough for over 500,000 travelers to tap 'Install' monthly. Meanwhile, Airbnb's app feels like the concierge who knows you're thirsty even before you do, ensuring a refreshing digital stay with a focus on pre-emptive service.


FWD_Feature_High-Performing Hospitality Apps -05The Importance of Hanging Ugly Art in the Right Place

A hotel room is transformed with hanging art. From a space where one might pause through a sterile stop on one's travels, the right brushstrokes, canvases, and even digital-media displays can enforce an atmosphere that whispers serenity or screams avant-garde.

The question recent market analysis begs is—what art are we hanging in our digital spaces, and is it resonating with the passersby who glance at the screens before turning on ‘Do Not Disturb’? In travel, the room, the stay, the experience all count. Our digital art should enhance, not distract.


The FWD Move: Engage, Enhance, Delight

As hospitality and travel apps evolve, MODIV Mindset findings emphasize the need for subtlety, business savvy, and strategic technology deployment. Brands are urged to design apps that:

  • Blend invisibility with innovative tech; be present but not intrusive
  • Deliver with personalization and precision when needed
  • Enable the basics with simplicity, while silently aiding exploration and adventure


FWD_Feature_High-Performing Hospitality Apps -06Take for example the desire for geolocation-based tech. It scored high in the JD Power report not because it dazzles, but because it can act as more of a friend in a new city, suggesting activities off the beaten path. Users relish the sense of intuitive guidance, not the feeling of being stalked by a pixel.

The high-performing hospitality apps of the future will be those that are not only built for function but that supplement the narrative of travel – those that engage intuitively, enhance invisibly, and delight reliably. The hospitality tech race isn’t about clutter but the sophistication of minimalism, where the top-tech experiences aren't the flashiest but rather, the quickest to serve.