I don’t want to start this post to be a discussion about how mobile applications are a trend blah blah blah. You already know they are and that incorporation into your hotel strategy will be a must, soon. As we have spoken to a huge number of hoteliers, we know that a particular part of them are already in the stage of research, decision or even development! Wow! We are excited to see the new technology penetrating the hospitality industry.
As I mentioned above, some hotels are in the stage of research or decision. And I think the important question in this stages is “Should I develop a new mobile application or can I find any available solution?” The purpose of this post is not to answer this question. However, I would like to help you evaluate your options from my point of view and share some pros and cons about implementing solutions that have been already developed.
1.) Costs are (usually) lower
I know that sometimes the price is not important when trying to accomplish something big. However, you may enjoy the lower price of the product that was already developed. As companies use to sell the same solution to a lot of hotels, they can afford to lower their price so it is more affordable for you. In case you want to have a new app developed, it would cost you much more money. Don’t believe me? Send some requests for quotation and you will see.
2.) Validation by the market
In general, some solutions are better than the others. Great solutions are usually used by a lot of customers and on the other hand, not that good solutions will not survive. When you purchasing the application from the company who has more customers and many application users, you know that the solution was validated by the market and it will not be a fail. You certainly don’t want to spend you hard-earned money to something that will be rejected by your guests.
Moreover, these companies usually receive a lot of feedback about features that should be included in the application. Result? You will not miss any important features that you might not focus on when creating the project for the development of your own application.
3.) You can show it to a sample of your guests
Validation by the market doesn’t have to mean that the application is a good fit for you. However, you can ask for the demo that can be shown to a small portion of your guests. You can let them use the app and ask them for their opinion. Do they like it? Great! Do they dislike it? Warning! Warning! Warning! Rather reevaluate your options.
4.) You can try it for a trial period
With already developed solutions, you usually have some trial period before you decide to pay for it. There is another opportunity for you to not throw money away. Even if you spend some funds for this period, it will hurt less than if you would spend much more for the development of your own application that will not be accepted by your guests.
5.) It will consume less time
I think it is obvious that the period of time that should be dedicated to customization of the developed solution will be shorter than developing the application from the scratch. Otherwise it could reflect on the quality of the solution.
1.) The level of customization might not fit your needs perfectly
Another obvious point. If you develop your own application you can make it the best fit as possible for your hotel. The question here is “Do I need this level of customization in order to achieve my goals?” However, even with companies with developed solutions, there is often a way for custom changes, features or add-ons.
2.) You don’t know the company
Please note that if you don’t develop your own application in-house, this is the same case for both available applications and developed application. In both cases, don’t forget to check the list of previous clients. Moreover, ask the company for the contact on some of its previous clients so you can have a conversation about their experience directly.
3.) You (usually) don’t own the solution
Some of the software providers with the developed solution will give you only the license to use their product, however, you are not the owner of it. On the other hand, software providers usually update their applications on the regular basis, so it also might be beneficial for you and the experience of your guests. However, if it is important to you to be the owner of the solution, you should probably go with your own application.
How to decide whether or not the already-developed application is the right choice
In order to find out if the developed application is right for you, you should start with assigning the value to particular pros and cons. As some of the points might be more/less important to you, it is the right way to evaluate it well.
Moreover, you noticed that we provided you with 5 pros and 3 cons. If you subtract the values from each other, there is higher probability that the amount of pros will be higher. In order to avoid that, it will be better to count the average value for pros, average number for cons, and then substract them. If the final value is positive, stick with the developed solution. If it is negative, you should probably develop your own mobile application.
Lower costs – 10
Validation by the market – 7
Testing among guests – 8
Trial period – 10
Short period of time – 8
Average: 43 / 5 = 8.6
Not fully customizable – 10
We don’t know the company – 6
We don’t own the solution – 7
Average: 23 / 3 = 7.7
Pros – Cons = 8.6 – 7.7 = 0.9
The value is positive, it would be okay to stick with the developed solution.
Note that this post and calculation is not a silver bullet. You can add more pros and cons and do the calculation afterwards.
Are you positive or negative?