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Technology

Hotels adopt mobile apps to increase bookings, services

The use of mobile phones to access the Internet has led to an increasing number of players in the hospitality industry adopting personalised apps to reach out to customers.

Kenyan mobile data subscription stood at 16.45 million by December 2014, according to data from the Communications Authority of Kenya.

The number of smartphones used in the market is expected to double by 2020 with 80 per cent of the growth expected to be in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, the Ericsson Mobility Report for 2015 says.

To tap into this growth, businesses are going mobile. The latest sector to embrace the trend is the local hospitality industry with hotels and restaurants relying on mobile apps to increase bookings and service delivery.

“People are going the smartphone way. And with an app they do not have to visit your webpage, Facebook or Twitter to access information on the hotel,” says Aziz Mussaji, marketing and PR executive at Ole Sereni.

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Ole Sereni has launched an app by the same name to facilitate room and table booking, receiving notification alerts on promotions, and signing up to the health and gourmet clubs.

Jacaranda Hotels also has an app for similar use. Global hotel chains including Marriot, Hilton and Intercontinental Group have adopted the technology to attract and retain clients.

The use of the app allows service providers to push offers and advertisements to consumers without having to wait for traffic on their web pages.

“When you have the app, we will just send you information on your phone unlike the web and social media where you have to be on the pages to access the information,” said Mussaji.

Adoption of the app has not been limited to hotels, restaurants and food delivery outfits have joined the band wagon too. Hellofood and Eatout were some of the pioneer apps that allowed users to find and book restaurant reservations and also access delivery.

This growth has especially been spurred by e-commerce and the presence of online goods and services stores including Jumia, Kaymu and N-Soko.

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