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Best Western refreshes mobile app to enhance booking experience

The Best Western To Go app includes deeper partner integration with TripIt, TripAdvisor and Bing. Usablenet is powering the mobile app.

“We all know that the mobile environment is changing at a rapid pace and as a result one of the primary challenges we face as a brand is ensuring our mobile technology has the flexibility to keep up,” said Karmela Gaffney, managing director of marketing and ecommerce at Best Western International, Phoenix.

“Our strategy with the release of the app was to start from the ground up and build a platform that meets those dynamic technology requirements and could be added onto in future iterations,” she said. “Our mobile app is just one of four key components to our mobile strategy at Best Western, with the others being our mobile Web site, mobile search and mobile display advertising.

“Our apps provide a convenient interface for our most loyal guests to perform their most frequent tasks, such as booking a room or reviewing their Best Western Rewards loyalty information. Through the updated Best Western to Go, and with future planned releases, we have new tools to ensure we are providing our guests with all the mobile services they demand.”

Key features
Members of Best Western’s loyalty program will find the new app beneficial.

The new app offers recognition to BWR members and mobile access to account information.

The company is getting the word out about the app through brand channels, including through targeted paid media, messaging at its properties, email marketing and via the company’s Web site.

Moreover, Best Western is reaching out to its rewards loyalty program members and internally to its hotel owners and employees to further spread the word.

“Mobile is an extension of our overall brand promise of ‘Stay With People Who Care’ and we want to provide our guests with the best service possible, through whatever medium they choose to engage with us,” Ms. Gaffney said.

“As more of our business is shifting to mobile, Best Western engages in a number of mobile opportunities including: mobile search, mobile display advertising, QR codes on printed collateral and mobile video,” she said.

“The key to success for us in the mobile space is providing content that is relevant to our guests, which includes geo-coded search, local content and the ability to search, and book, properties in the area they desire.”

Mobile enhancements
Via the updated app, users can tap into integrated TripAdvisor reviews and Bing-powered mapping capabilities.

Additionally, integrating this rewards program into the new app provides members with access to their account information and unique rewards while on the go.

“Best Western recognizes the ability for mobile to add value to the customer experience, and is strategically leveraging its mobile app and sites to drive market share in the industry,” said Carin Van Vuuren, chief marketing officer of Usablenet. “This is why the brand prioritized the importance of user experience, offering as many next-generation mobile functionalities as possible through the upgraded mobile app.

“When the user opens the app they are able to get to local content quickly via the ‘find hotels near me’ function, as well as access the full range of app capabilities by viewing the main menu which contains the navigation to key areas such as Best Western Rewards log-in, ability to make reservations, view maps, access favorite location lists, do trip planning and find nearby reservations, attractions and more,” she said.

“The app also offers an array of customer service options such as click-to-call and connect with Best Western via a number of social networks.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associated editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York