This App Wants to Be Your One-Stop Shop for Hotel Services
For frequent travelers, a phone packed with icons for every major hotel chain and boutique property can lead to app fatigue. MobileSuites, which allows users to book services at some 1,800 hotels, including Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott, hopes to ease that pain.
“The entire vision is to simplify the travel experience today,” says Dennis Meng, MobileSuites’ co-founder and CEO. “A lot of apps have focused on the booking experience, which everyone appreciates is pretty fantastic, but the focus on what happens after the hotel is booked and bringing that into the 21st century is a gap and a big opportunity.”
With the app, users can order room service, interact with the front desk, book transportation, offer feedback and check out. Modeled on the food-delivery service GrubHub, the startup is in negotiation with more hospitality brands—it already has agreements with a few boutique properties like The Boxer in Boston—and largely relies on in-house technology to relay guest requests to the hotel.
So far, so good, say early users. “The interface was easy,” says New York-based IT consultant Mike Chuang, who tried the app at hotels in Washington, D.C., and Connecticut. He used it for ordering room service, even specifying the temperature of his burger and time of delivery, as well as unexpected requests such as extra towels and pillows.
“A lot of people don’t know you can get those amenities. They’re free, but you don’t want to call down,” he explains. “With an app, the barrier to doing that is lower. They’re small things that add up.”
Chicago-based Elaine Glusac covers travel and transit for The New York Times and National Geographic Traveler.