Solidifying the notion that luxury knows no limits, luxury hotel group Ritz-Carlton debuted its long-awaited mobile app, giving luxury travelers easier access to the company's portfolio of hotels around the world.
The app isn't just a booking engine, though. Ritz-Carlton made it personal.
In addition to the reservations system and hotel room look-up, the Ritz-Carlton app includes personal tips from President & COO Herve Humler that identify the "hidden gems" guests shouldn't miss when they check in (think: a Viennese crystal chandelier in Doha and a secret garden in Sanya). Additionally, the app will offer personalized suggestions to guests based on location and duration of stay.
The launch of this app marks another entry point for a luxury hotel group into the mobile landscape (Mandarin Oriental, for example, already has an app available, while other luxury hotel groups are just available via a generic mobile site). However, the launch of this app redefines the possibilities available to mobile consumers, and gives other luxury hotels something to shoot for.
"The concept of instant accessibility to data via a handheld device has created a consumer expectation to find information when and where they want it," Chris Gabaldon, chief marketing office for the hotel company, told me. "The real art is to extend your particular brand into the digital space in a way that is meaningful and relevant to a luxury consumer, while staying true to your core values as an organization."
What defines "meaningful" and "relevant"? Take two minutes to play around on this app and you'll find things you never knew existed at Ritz-Carlton hotels.
"The booking functionality on our app is exceptional, but that is not where the real genius lie. It is the delivery of tips, tours and hotel specific information through the GPS identification of which hotel a guest is in, or the scanning of QR codes to obtain interesting facts that would not otherwise be available," says Gabaldon.
Ritz-Carlton's mobile app is more of an experience, and less of a required tool. In addition to being able to book a room, you'll also find:
- Insider information about each hotel
- QR capability at 20 Ritz-Carlton hotels, allowing you can scan your mobile device when you check-in
- GPS technology that allows the app to recognize when you've arrived at a Ritz-Carlton, and send you location specific advice, information and exclusive offers.
- Integration with social media platforms including The Ritz-Carlton World Concierge global recommendations from Four Square
- The ability to share your favorite Ritz-Carlton memory or experience in the 'Let Us Stay With You' section of the app.
The QR codes, in my opinion, are one of the most innovative offerings of this app. Scanning the code at one of the participating hotels will give you in-depth insight and fun to-dos, like wine pairings at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, a digital scavenger hunt from the Ritz-Carlton Berlin, or cocktail recipes from the The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park. You'll also be able to access a resort's activity calendar and enable push notifications directly to the app's message mailbox.
You can download the Ritz-Carlton App at www.RitzCarlton.com/App.
Readers: Your thoughts on this new app? What do you want to see from a mobile hotel app?
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