The Story Behind Success of
Westin Mauritius Moblie Campaign

Roman Goetsch, General Manager of Westin Mauritius, talks about the positive experiences and feedback and the success of their hotel’s mobile application

What motivated you to go mobile?

Certainly as a company, we have been focusing on digital platforms and in particular the mobile digital platforms for quite a while now. We’ve got the SPG keyless, which I’m sure you’re aware of as well. We were always a little bit, as a company, the tech leaders when it comes to the hotel industry. So, for us as a new hotel, we also wanted to see how we can leverage technology for communication and to provide new information and give that access to our guests in a touch of a button. We were one of the few pilot properties with Go Find It and Starwood, we quickly jumped on board, because a resort hotel in many ways is different than a city hotel, the length of stay is obviously a lot longer, guests have more time to really explore their surroundings and understand what is happening, what is going on in the environment where they currently are. When we went through the initial brief with Go Find It, it really ticked all the boxes. So, for us it was almost a natural choice to say, “You know what? We’d love to be part of this project, we’d love to be there from the get go and see where it takes us!”

What has the reaction been from your guests? Have you had any feedback?

Oh, absolutely! We really promoted it heavily, digitally on one hand but also person to person within the resort. Every guest interaction, whether that was during breakfast or dinner, we explained it and showed it, we had it internally on TVs, on our little message boards, we had it on our IPTV where we created a little widget of it, an icon where guests could click on it and get more information on it, we had the QR codes so people could download it, we really did a lot of promotion on that. Guests were very happy, they really embraced it, we had a lot of downloads. We are the only hotel in Mauritius who has their own app, plus the advantage of it not just describing the facility and the hotel brand in a very attractive way but also having all the other information at hand of what is happening around the resort and within the country itself. So I think it was something that also our Mauritian guests who came to the hotel really enjoyed. Not only it caters to your international guests, but also to your local population who’ll find the app very informative and will have the opportunity to get to know and use the hotel services without staying in it. For in-resort guests, as a resort hotel you have so many services to offer, very different from guest who is coming on business and staying for two-nights who pretty much only needs to know where their room is and what time breakfast is. Resort guests have the time. They might not immediately want to get that information but as soon as they refresh they come and they want know what restaurants you have, what are the opening times, what are the themes, what entertainment you have, etcetera. So there are a lot more questions from resort guests and having that tool just makes it a lot easier! Not only can we explain it live, we’ve loaded it up on our iPhone and iPads. What also helps is we can easily tell the guest, “Oh by the way I see you have an android or I see you have an iPhone, here you can download our app free of charge.” The concierge actually uses the app to explain the various services of the hotel. They like that they have that connection to the hotel for them it’s almost like, I’m still in touch with everything. To use the power of a local property app for a hotel like Westin Mauritius is crucial it allows us to engage with the guests in a whole new and more powerful way.

Speaking of guests rebooking you, can you track the ROI of the app?

Off hand I wouldn’t be able to tell you now but I do know of a guest in particular who has been with us 4 or 5 times since the opening of the hotel and he mentioned to me that he really enjoyed the fact that he had that connection. Also, the ability to send push messages through, that is an extra advantage to stay in touch with the guest. Now, as I said before, it’s probably not the single reason why he has rebooked the hotel, I’m sure there are other factors connected with that, but it certainly is a nice touch and it’s a nice valued addition for the guest at no cost. I think it just implies that you really like the hotel. He said, “You guys are thinking a little out of the box, unlike your competitors” and that is a very positive experience.

In terms of external communication and promoting through the app, what have you guys done?

We’re quite active on social media, so how we integrated that a little bit. Ron had come up with this great idea of when we do events in the hotel, when we’re actually attracting non-resident crowds, so those guests that are coming to the hotel but not actually staying with us –either expats or Mauritians- use our Westin app as a one-stop shop. Looking at how can we do the whole ticketing through Go Find It, so basically you get pushed the voucher once you’ve paid and that voucher is in your phone and there is no ticket. It’s almost like an e-ticket when you travel, so you can just show your iPhone or android and someone will check you in. They would have their tickets and they would present that on the phone. So, this is something that we are looking into. Generally in terms of notifications we’ve used it mainly for special promotions such as Mother’s Day, Easter etc., that guests, who have the app, will get in-house. This is a great tool for us because Mauritius is sometimes difficult to work the traditional way by email and sms, people are actually a lot more tech savvy here, social media is huge, and certainly an app is something that is a lot more user friendly for them. There is no cost for it, it doesn’t take up much space and it is an efficient way for us to get in touch with the guest, with the potential clients. So we’re looking at how can we drive that further and see really engage and get the app to be a ticketing tool for us. That’s one way where there most definitely would be a ROI. That would not only drive downloads but once you got the guests with the app on the phone. That’s certainly one aspect we want to push a little bit further. Sending a push message is 10 times better than sending an email, which may just end up in a junk folder.

My next question is focused more on your team and the launch of your app, what was the reaction from your team about having an app?

Everybody was psyched. I think part of the reason we had such great downloads is because people were genuinely interested in it internally and everybody believed in it. I think that was the key. I really think that if we would have not had that much engagement internally we would have by far not seen those download numbers so quickly. It also is a very polished way of presenting the hotel. I think everybody understood the value of the app and I think that was part of the success. The app speaks to the guests, to the clients. It’s edgy. It’s contemporary. It is a very user-friendly app. That has helped a lot internally. If the team here wouldn’t have believed in it, then I don’t think we would have seen anything close to those figures that we do see.

That’s what we always say! The most successful action to drive your app is to love your app. You have to be the one that likes it to promote it.

Exactly! You know, we could see in the first couple of weeks and even now, you can see there is a lot of pride involved as well. Again, not every hotel has this and those who worked in other hotels and suddenly have this app feel very proud to present it to the guest. It is very unique on the island. We’re the only ones in Mauritius who have a Go Find It app, or any sort of app that is hotel specific with that sort of content and interaction. I think that has helped tremendously.

Have you also briefed the team on the launch of the app, or how to promote it, or actions around it?

Absolutely. We actually had a little project team, Ron was part of it, the marketing team was part of it, and the department heads were part of it, on how we would drive the app and really implement it and create awareness about the app. Obviously we had our internal screens, we sent it out, everybody we encouraged to download it, we talked about it during our meetings, we put the QR code so people could easily download it. We had separate sessions with the front of house teams, the concierge, the front office, but also from the spa to food and beverage. It’s also a great talking point. It’s one of those things where you see a guest putting his or her phone on the table, be it an iPhone, be it an android, and it’s a great opportunity to say “Good evening sir, you have an iPhone…have you downloaded our Westin app?” and show it directly to them and talk about. The whole project team came up with ideas. We promoted it on our social media, any opportunity we had. I myself, the amount of times I’ve took my phone out and showed it to guests, there’s always a great response and they download it. It’s a great talking point. We have so much information on there like the menus, spa menus, et cetera, there is a wealth of information that otherwise they would have to ask for or call to get.

Are the results of your app what you expected?

Yeah, I think the results slightly exceeded our expectations to be honest. We also piloted the beacons and the beacon technology. I know beacon technology is something that is moving forward. Now it’s just figuring out how to activate that and get as much mileage out of that. However the total number of downloads and total number of time spent in the app has exceeded our expectations.

Do you personally have the brain app on your phone?

Oh, do I? I am actually looking at it right now. I have it and I use it. You know, I have to say, I also share it a lot as well. I have both the app as well as the brain app, because I quite frequently go on it and check how well are we doing, how the downloads are, how’s the interaction, et cetera.

Do you track the user behavior too? Like seeing what pages are being frequented most, seeing what needs a little more attention?

Absolutely. We do look at that a lot! For instance, I’m just pulling it up now, we can see Kangan, our Indian restaurant, has the highest number of views. So, it’s good to see as well where the interest is. I’ll be completely honest; we probably could do a lot more with the data that we get. I think there is certainly opportunity from our end and how can we use the data as an opportunity. If we look at the breakdown, just take the most popular item, Kangan, is our most successful à la carte restaurant in the hotel. Somewhere there is a correlation between the revenue generated and the views. I think that it is quite interesting to see. I think we can do more with this and we can really dissect the information of who looked it at. I think we can do more in using that data to drive revenue.

What is your vision for mobile? Where do you see it going in the future?

I think it’s already proven that people spend more time on Facebook on their mobile devices than they do actually on their laptops or desktops. I can see that everything we do is mobile. Our communication, our interaction and one part is voice to voice but a lot of it is really just mobile communication. I used to be somebody, a couple years ago, I remember hearing one statistic that the average Chinese mobile user has something like 80 or 90 apps downloaded, I thought that was ridiculous until now. I myself now have maybe 50 or 60. I do banking on my app, I use apps for communications, I get information from various news apps, I think mobile is the way to go. I think this is the future and I don’t think this is going to change.

We live in a world where mobile is becoming more and more relevant and powerful. The amazing things you can accomplish in a few clicks with a bespoke tailored app are undeniable and the hotels we work with are a proof of that. You can take a solid brand from great to awesome with a few small but transforming steps.

Mobile is today paramount, contact us today and have your own Hotel application in 2 weeks time!

Interview by Leanne Ebens, PR & Communications at Go Find It Technologies

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