Log in   •   Sign up   •   Subscribe  feed icon

Top Five Hotel Mobile Apps

Although a little late to the party, hotels are finally jumping on the mobile app band-wagon. The development of free applications can now extend a hotel's service beyond the front desk, beyond its Web site... right onto your mobile device. Since hotel guests are always on the go, whether for business or pleasure, what better access is there than getting one's hotel info right on their smartphone?

Here is a list of the TOP FIVE hotel apps on the market today.

1- Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

The Tishman Hotel Corporation very wisely commissioned the students in the hotel program at Florida State University to help develop an app that would provide a digital brochure of the two resorts which features maps,photos and videos of the hotels. The student programmers worked with Tishman to create the application which at 29.1 magabytes is one of the most complex apps available today.



Compatible with both the iPhone and the iPod Touch, after being released this past June, the app is still attracting more than 1,000 downloads per week, which surprised even Audrey Cornu, Tishman's Internet vice president. "I didn't think it would have had that much of an impact," she says.

2- Omni Hotels

The upscale 45-hotel chain has also launched an app for iPhone and iPod users which lets users search for Omni Hotels, check their daily offers, access their loyalty program account, contact customer service and even check-in to a guest room while they are still traveling.



"We want to make it as simple as possible for travelers to wirelessly manage their travel," says Kerry Kennedy, vice president of e-commerce," and Omni Hotels apps is just one more way that Omni enhances the travel experience for our guests."

3- Choice Hotels

All the way back in April  '09, Choice Hotels lays claim to being a mobile app pioneer and the first global hotel booking app launched by a hotel company. Hotel guests who have access to this app can reserve rooms at any of the 5800+ Choice hotels in the world which includes the brands of Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn, as well as Ascend Collection hotels.



Users can also make change or cancel existing reservations, quickly locate hotels closest to your location, obtain GPS mapping, and even view street views of where the hotels are located. Downloads are available for your iPhone at the Apple App Store.

4- HotelsByMe 

HotelsByMe is available on iPhone and Android devices uses the geolocation services to help travelers find nearby hotels. It sorts the list by distance from the user's current location plots the hotel location on integrated Google Map.



“Our strategy is to offer mobile users powerful hotel search tools along with a great user experience while they are on the go or do not have access to a personal computer, said Meeta Oberoi, managing partner at HotelsByMe, Dallas. “Through the app, users can access more than 44,000 hotel properties worldwide, search by city or landmark, view hotel locations on an integrated Google map and also view photos of the hotel.

HotelsByMe uses the Expedia and Hotels.com's affiliate network and displays real-time hotel room rates and availability. The application is backed by Hotels.com's customer service.

5- Starwood's SPG 

SPG is a mobile app where member of Starwood's Preferrred Guest (SPG) loyalty program can now access their account including point balance and upcoming stay details via the iPhone or iPod Touch.  Members can also browse and reserve future stays at any of Starwood's 890+ hotels and resorts worldwide across nine brands: Sheraton, Westin, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, W, Four Points by Sheraton, St. Regis, Element, and Aloft.



Key Features

  • - Access to SPG account, including Starpoints® balance, recent activity, stays needed to reach the next level and more.
  • - View upcoming stay information including map to hotel from your current location and call hotel directly from your iPhone.
  • - Search, book and view hotel information and photos for 890+ hotels globally across nine brands.
  • - Access customer support around the globe.
  • - Browse TheLobby.com blogs to stay updated on the latest travel trends and insider information.

Developed internally in about two months and launched in June, the SPG app is being downloaded at a rate of roughly 2,000 per week. Similar versions are being developed for BlackBerry and Palm devices. Free downloads are available at the Apple Store or at Brothersoft.com

The appeal of hotel apps is obvious to anyone with a smartphone. Unlike text or visual ads which fight for your attention, apps offer a richer experience because you access them when you need them and only interact with the individual features that are pertinent to you. As a veteran of the hotel industry myself, I am somewhat surprised that more hotel brands have not jumped on the app band-wagon. Obviously the TOP FIVE on this list are garnering a new revenue stream directly attributable to being an early adopter of this technology.

Please take a minute to register a vote on our POLL to let us know which one of these apps you favor (realizing your preference may be swayed by brand affiliation). Also please leave us a comment and let us know if we omitted one of your favorites.