Browser vs Apps: How do they challenge the digitalization journey?

Apps are for all, but not all apps are the same. App adoption is ultimately dependent on the underlined utility and usage frequency
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Mobile Browser vs. App

Where do guests book their hotel stays?

Guests can be divided in respect to browsers and apps
Apps are for all, but not all apps are the same. App adoption is ultimately dependent on the underlined utility and usage frequency. While mobile web browsing is still incredibly popular, apps also play an important role in consumers’ mobile experiences.

Our study suggests that browsers and apps are dividing consumers equally in respect to what interface they used for booking their most recent stay and what they prefer (only around 10% mismatch between what consumers mention to have done most recently and what they claim to prefer). However, if we try to break down the hospitality journey, we can see where preferences part ways.

Most prefer browsers for searching for the right room and price
Hotel aggregators, hotels’ own websites and travel agencies are still among the most used channels, while hotels’ own apps struggle to grow in popularity. One of the main reasons why browsing maintains ground is due to the fact that consumers need fulfilment of having chosen the best deal, and so they access different channels, compare all relevant options and search for details before reaching and committing to a decision. Even with the existence of hotel aggregators whose business model is rooted in an all-in- one stop to make the job easier and less time consuming for bookers, consumers still feel the obligation to compare rates and deals across different channels to outmanoeuvre the industry’s marketing gimmicks. In guests’ own words the biggest pain point is to

find the best deal, different sites offering what appear to be different prices but are similar with just different bits included, e.g. breakfast, taxes, etc..”.

Our study indicates that most guests are likely to visit more than one channel before booking their hotel stay.

Question: How did you book your last Hotel using your phone?

Guests can be divided in respect to browsers and apps. Browsers are better for searching for the best deal, but apps are preferred once the reservation has been made.

But apps are preferred once the reservation has been made, thus expanding and improving the overall travel experience
It is a big challenge for brands to capture omnichannel guests that jump between desktop, mobile browsers and apps. However, a better understanding of consumers’ needs throughout the different steps of the journey helps to explain guests’ divided preferences. The browser is favoured for early stages of the journey to satisfy the primal need state - the best deal. Browsing gives consumers more control over the search and comparison of the different options across different channels.

Once the reservation is complete, or in case guests have a favourite or frequent hotel, then in-app processes are preferred.
Even though searching for the best deal is indeed the most annoying part for consumers, they are willing to put in the time and effort. Then, they expect no more than smooth sailing for the remaining part of the journey. Accordingly, British guests claim that apps are leaner and more intuitive, since the process becomes more fluid and tends to run quicker because there is less to read and is more straightforward than when using the browser.

“(...) Apps are generally more streamlined and designed to be used with the phone”.

Our study uncovers that guests would consider using an app if their favourite hotel had one.

Mobile hospitality can also become effortless and contactless without the use of a mobile app
Even though apps can and do reach a broad audience, the reach potential for apps is tied to the app’s perceived utility. Even if consumers prefer the app, most might end up sacrificing convenience, functionality and ease of app-enabled services in favour of browsers, even after the reservation is confirmed, due to the low expected usage of the app. For instance, guests say, “I don’t use it often enough to be worth downloading a dedicated app that occupies a lot of space on my phone”. Accordingly, mobile apps that gather multiple hotels in one interface, or apps that belong to hotel chains that are already the favourite choice or are expected to be repeated/ reoccurring stays will have a higher utility.

Nevertheless, mobile hospitality service does not have to include an app- enabled service, and our study confirms that even without an app, 79% of guests would like an effortless and contactless mobile hospitality service, with only 4% disliking it. For example, AeroGuest has developed a digital service that still allows the unconvinced guests to benefit from an effortless and touch-free journey without downloading an app. Guests can still check in and out digitally via a link received by text or e-mail, select their desired room and fill in their personal information in advance. Waiting time and contact with personnel is still minimised to the extent possible, and guests would just have to pick up their key in the reception.

The Study

AeroGuest believes that the best hotel stays are when booking, access and choice of room, check-in, payment, and personal service come together in a seamless and touch free experience.

Thus, AeroGuest asked Ipsos Denmark to create a piece of research compiling all you need to know about the future of Mobile Hospitality. This collaborative report will lead your business through a mobile digitalization path in a B2B context.