Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company launches mobile app

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company launched a mobile app May 1 that incorporates QR codes and location-based services (LBS), designed to provide users with special in-hotel offers and experiences, said Allison Sitch, the company’s VP of public relations.

The app targets hotel guests and diners, she said, adding “everything we do is around broadening our reach to a wider audience. It has lots of different benefits.”

Christoph Heyn, corporate manager of e-commerce marketing at Ritz-Carlton, said the app is currently available at  the company’s 77 properties, while the QR codes are available at 20. Eventually, the plan is to roll out the codes to all locations, Heyn said, describing the endeavor as “a sustainable and long-term approach to on-property experiences.”

The QR codes play a key role in the mobile experience and each hotel, Heyn added, has a different application.

For example, he said, at the Ritz-Carlton, Berlin, guests are invited to scan QR codes throughout the property as they’re guided through a scavenger hunt. At Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, guests at the bar can scan a QR code on their napkins, giving them the exclusive recipe to the hotel’s 10-year anniversary cocktail. Currently, the QR codes only unlock content if scanned using the Ritz-Carlton app, Heyn said. Scanning the QR codes with a generic scanner will trigger a recommendation to download the app.

The app is also able to target offers to users based on their locations, Heyn said. This aspect of the app works by connecting with the smartphone’s GPS, he said. From there, guests can get information about what’s happening in their specific area.

Although the app doesn’t gather any further information about the guest beyond his or her location, Heyn said that he hopes the app will be able to target guests more specifically in the future. “We certainly see that going to the next level,” he said. “We want to customize more.”

The app is, in part, an extension of the Ritz-Carlton’s “Let Us Stay With You Campaign” launched in September, Sitch said. In December, Direct Marketing News discussed the company’s overall strategy with Chris Gabaldon, chief sales and marketing officer at Ritz-Carlton.

Ritz-Carlton worked with Usablenet to build the app and Xtify for the app’s push notifications system, Heyn said.

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