Globally, the mobile app industry is thriving. With over 2.7 billion smartphone users, app usage is growing at a steady rate without any signs of slowing down. South Africa has a 54% internet penetration, and 61% prefer to complete tasks digitally, if possible. We use our mobiles at work, home, on the street, in bed, while we’re eating and in our cars. What do we do on the phones? Well, uhm…we use apps. 90% of mobile time is spent on apps. We see growth in apps being released, and app downloads year on year. Experts predict a 5% increase in global app downloads by 2022.
City Lodge Hotels Limited decided to join this growing trend and launched the easy, convenient, and on-the-go online bookings app late-2019. BusinessReport and BizCommunity briefly covered that guests can now make and manage their own reservations at any of the group’s five brands. FGX Studios designed and developed the app, and we’d like to take you through the app, its features and some other exciting things coming soon.
Our dedicated team of approximately 12 people have been part of this product and still is. The team consists of front-and back-end developers, designers, internal content writers, an SEO master, and an account assistant. The team is overseen by one of FGX’s partners who shares his passion for digital and made sure that the outcome met the client’s needs. The app is fast and easy to use, and it’s designed with user experience in mind. We’ve done a pretty decent job, if we may say so ourselves, even if we’re still busy with quality assurance and maintenance.
Let’s travel through the app features together:
Make a booking
Guests can choose the location of where they want to stay, select the check-in and check-out dates, room types and the number of guests, add their details to confirm the booking/s, and see a summary of their recent booking/s.
With a reservation number and email address, guests can easily find their reservation made from the app system. This way, it is impossible to lose or forget the booking details, which makes it so much easier to change or cancel a booking at any time.
Guests can join CLHG Rewards from the app, at no extra cost, and log in to the system when making a booking and obtain some valuable benefits. The benefit points are exclusive to online users only, and 100 free CLHG loyalty points are credited when signing up. Read more about the rewards here.
In Hotel (login required)
Hotel and room amenities are available under the in-hotel services. These hotel amenities include free wi-fi; menu offerings; bar facilities (at selected hotels); fitness room; a sparkling swimming pool; boardroom; 24-hour reception and check-in; complimentary parking, as well as laundry and dry-cleaning services.
Attractions (login required)
Depending on the location of guests’ stay, there are attractions displayed in the area and surrounding areas. Being on a business or a leisure trip, the adventurous can book their fun-filled activities in advance, or whenever a breather is possible.
My Account (login required)
Once registered and logged in, guests can use the ‘My Account’ to manage their profiles (with all the personal details such as name and surname, email address, mobile number, login details etc.). Guests also have the option of choosing preferences such as indicating if they’re looking to book a smoking or non-smoking room, and whether they prefer SMS and/or email communication. Guests can view their loyalty points from this feature too.
Post on Social
Here’s where things start to get really interesting! It’s human nature to show off the places where we stay with a selfie or a scenic picture. On the app, anyone can compose a Tweet or post to Instagram and tag @CityLodgeHotels for other people to see and to share in your experience. This is an additional feature to keep guests interactive and engaged.
Instead of visiting the Twitter and Instagram platforms to search posts CLHG was tagged in, we’ve made it more convenient. Simply visit the ‘Live Timeline’ where all the recent posts are displayed. The ‘Post on Social’ feature feeds directly into the ‘Live Timeline’, ensuring that nothing is missed from our guests, and making sure that everyone else is all caught up on the latest happenings.
Rate Us (login required)
Feedback is extremely important to any business, and you’d want to measure the success of your offerings from a client perspective. CLHG is set on guests’ experience and their satisfaction, therefore the in-app rating questionnaire. After staying at the preferred hotel guests are prompted with a rating email. Following the link, guests can rate the hotel with 6 star-rating questions. The questions focus mainly on the hotel’s appearance, friendliness of staff, food freshness, bar services and value for money. Integrated within this form is the option to complete a TripAdvisor rating which automatically pulls through for TripAdvisor users to see.
CLHG’s blog is also available from the app where various topics are covered – how to spend special days or public holidays, where the most significant annual events are happening, and how guests could benefit from CLHG’s accommodation when attending any of the events. If you haven’t read any of these exciting blogs yet, start reading here.
View Our Hotels
Whether guests are looking for basic, functional rooms or more luxury one-or two-bedroom rooms (single or double bedded), CLHG has it! They have a variety of hotels situated across South Africa, but also across the continent, that’ll provide guests with unbelievable service and exceptional accommodation. Here are the five group brands available on the app:
- 1 Fairview Hotel (Kenya)
- 5 Courtyard Hotels (South Africa)
- 20 City Lodge Hotels (South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, with Mozambique opening soon)
- 14 Town Lodges (South Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Botswana)
- 22 Road Lodges (South Africa)
Guests can be sure to never miss out on any CLHG specials. These specials include city savers (promotion deals at specific hotels), promotions on events happening like Comic Con Africa for example, partner promotion deals and CLHG’s own products. Partner promotions include Mango Airlines’ boarding pass deal, Clicks ClubCard members to earn points, Sho’t Left deals, as well as double points deals for Body Shop Card members. Exhilarating CLHG products include Bid2Stay, Spouse on the House, and Team Scheme.
Directory of Services (coming soon)
Under the ‘Directory of Services’, there is a ‘Make a Call’ function with internal numbers and external numbers that can be dialled through the app, which replaces the conventional phone in the room. Examples of internal numbers are the reception or the manager on duty. External numbers are the guests’ own contact list that the app pulls through.
Guests will also be able to browse through the available restaurants’ menus (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in drop-down formats and not the frustrating PDF type of menus. What’s really convenient about this feature is that the hotels can update their offerings with any price or product changes, which enables brisk updates and the elimination of back-and-forth communication.
The in-hotel amenities mentioned above are also available under this section to ease navigation. Another feature coming soon is the option to add all used hotel and room amenities to the guest’s final bill.
That’s City Lodge Hotel Group’s new-released app in a nutshell…sort of. We get carried away by things we’re passionate about, such as mobile app development. If you have an idea that you want to app out, give us a call or pop in for a quick chat.