Head of marketing for Premier Inn Steve Conway said that since the group introduced its first mobile app in January this year it has been downloaded 250,000 times and generated over £1m in additional revenue.
“It’s been incredibly successful, and after just three months it’s made us one of the most popular travel apps in the hotel sector,” he told BigHospitality.
Premier Inn developed the app in response to guest feedback on its Facebook site and via its customer contact centre. A large number of users that have downloaded the app are the group’s business customers, who often need to make last minute bookings while on the move.
“Some of the bookings are ones we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” said Conway. “Because they’ve come from people on the road who’ve had to make last minute bookings, and had it not been so easy for them to use the app, they might not have made the booking with us.”
“Since we’ve introduced the app, the frequency of staying with us has increased. The app is working as a loyalty mechanism: once it’s downloaded you have a closer attachment to the brand, because it’s always there in front of you. The payback is fantastic.”
Conway said that around 5 per cent of all Premier Inn bookings in the UK are now made via mobile devices, and the group is expecting this to increase to “way over 10 per cent” in the near future.
Premier Inn is also developing a mobile-friendly website, which will launch next month and which the group hopes will open up its mobile booking to many more customers.
“There are fewer barriers to entry it people don’t have to download anything but can still easily make bookings via their mobiles.”
Ease of use
Conway said the app has been so successful with Premier Inn customers because it’s easy to use, with simple navigation and room availability search. It also allows users to view photos of all hotels so they get a feel for the place before booking.
The group also invested heavily in TV advertising, and said that its strong network of 600 hotels around the country has also helped in the adoption of the app as people know that they can find rooms wherever they need to stay.
Another key benefit of the application, which was developed by Grapple Mobile, is that it uses Grapple’s platform that allows it to be adopted across mobile devices, including iPhones, Android, Nokia and Blackberry. “It means it’s accessible to a lot more people,” said Conway.
Grapple Mobile said that the success of Premier Inn’s mobile app “gives yet further credence to the argument that all hotels should be thinking about their mobile strategies.”
Earlier this month, BigHospitality reported that Hilton Worldwide has also seen good uptake of its mobile apps, with 100,000 bookings coming from mobile devices in 2010.