What Is a Hotel App? Types, Features, and Benefits


2022-02-13 11:28:33



Hotel Tech

We’re going to expand here on what is a hotel guest app as there are variations on how they work.

With many of the large hotel chains offering a digital solution to their customers, many hoteliers are looking to give their venue the ‘Hilton Experience’ offering the best hotel apps.

But what is a hotel app? What are the traditional types? What kind of features do they offer? And how do the newcomers such as Hotefy, HotelFriend, and RoomOrders compare? 

In our helpful article, we’ll walk you through the basics. And give your guests a room service app to increase revenue at your hotel.

Let’s start with the brief answer first so you can get started before we look at hotel apps in a little more detail. 

A traditional hotel app such as Marriott or Hilton offers digital solutions for guests like check-in and room service. To use some services guests need to be club members. With hotel apps like Hotefy, guests can check-in, out, order room service. They can also access other digital services across all hotels.

Ok so with the short answer in mind, so you can understand a little more easily the benefits and types of hotel apps, let’s start by finding out what a traditional hotel app is. 

What is a traditional hotel app? 

So before we start to look at what newcomers can offer the world of digital hotel apps, let’s start by finding out how apps from the larger hotel chain work. 

Marriott Bonvoy hotel app


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Marriott hotel re-launched a mobile app in Feb 2017 which at the time of writing is expanded to all 328 Marriott Hotels. 

It gives guests a digital solution to checking in and was created in part, to reach its ever-increasing number of mobile guests.

Within the hotel app relaunch, Marriott added in a Mobile Key, rolling out to more than 500 hotels globally. 

The brand declared that it is the broadest type of mobile application of its type in the USA and Canada. 

Guests can check in using a free app that’s available on Google Play and the Apple store. 

Guests can check in after 4 pm the day before their reservation, or up to two hours after the arrival. Once arriving at the hotel their pre-programmed key card will be available at the check-in desk.

As an additional benefit, the app will also notify guests automatically when their room is ready. 

For guests to have this digital check-in feature, they must be a member of the Marriott Rewards program.

Hilton Honors hotel app 


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The Hilton Honors app gets travelers a digital way to search and book over 5300 hotels across their hotels and promoted brands. 

This traditional hotel app also gives guests the option to check in and check out, and also request room upgrades. The Hilton Honors app provides customers the ability to contact hotel staff and also a door unlocking digital offering. 

Similar to the Marriott app, The Hilton Honors hotel app works in conjunction with their rewards program. 

Using the Honors app means that hotel customers can earn credits towards stays at a choice of over 5,000 hotels across the world. 

These credits are in the form of a points system, where guests can collect points. Currently, each point is worth around 0.5 cents. 

An upgrade to Hilton’s hotel app, the ‘Connected Room’ program means guests can access a variety of features. These include media streaming services, room temperature controls, and also a tv remote. 

To access the digital check-in and check-out, travelers need to log in from 6 am the day before their stay to start the digital check-in process using the app. 

Ok, so with an overview of this two of the biggest traditional hotel apps from two of the largest global hotel chains, let’s find out if there are any downsides. 

The downsides of traditional hotel apps 

One of the first and most obvious downsides of using traditional large chain hotel apps is the fact guests are tied into one hotel. 

So in short, the Marriott or Hilton hotels app is only as useful as the next room you book with that particular chain. 

With many savvy travelers taking advantage of hotel offers and with voucher codes and other types of low-cost incentives, brand loyalty is something that can be costly for some travelers. 

Guests are tied into specific hotel chains 

Both the Hilton and Marriott apps offer rewards for customers who use their hotel chain regularly. The Hilton offers free breakfast for those who have built up their points. 

But although points make prizes, your guests will find themselves tied into a particular chain. Along with the ‘first world’ problem of a growing number of apps clogging up mobile devices. 

Another downside is the points are fairly low in value. You would need to spend a considerable number of nights in one particular hotel chain in order to see any credit benefits.

Guests could end up downloading multiple apps 

In general, people are reluctant to download apps that won’t deliver much utility. Especially a specific traditional hotel app that a traveler might use just once.

The guest technology sector of the hotel industry is fast-growing and innovative, with new startup companies and forward-thinking products popping up frequently.

“One of the first and most obvious downsides of using traditional large chain hotel apps is the fact guests are tied into one hotel.”

So are there any other digital hotel solutions that not only increase room service but also give your hotel the Hilton Honors Experience? 

So how do web apps now offer these types of features not simply within one hotel chain, but to all hotels? 

Read on to discover more… 

How do web apps offer digital features for all hotels? 


  • The app HotelFriend is a cloud-based hotel management system running a property management system or PMS. 
  • HotelFriend can help manage online sales, and report on guest behavior, All while offering guests a digital way of ordering room service and other types of services. 
  • To use HotelFriend, guests use their smartphone to scan a WR code or tap an NFC tag and access the digital menu. 
  • HotelFriend’s app is cloud-based. So it can be used by guests either via the web or from a smartphone or other device. 
  • It’s an easy-to-use system with an intuitive interface and HotelFriend offers instructions on how to use it successfully. 
  • Customers can use iOS or Android devices to access instant messaging, food and drink orders, spa activities, and tours. 
  • Some reviews have indicated it would benefit from offline synching as the system sometimes struggles with poor internet. 
  • Their support lines also seem to be quite slow to respond. 


HotelFriend uses a subscription model pricing structure, starting at $74, and offers a free trial 



  • RoomOrders describes itself as a global leader in digital hotels and resorts F&B ecosystems. 
  • The digital offering is web-based so guests do not need to download apps 
  • RoomOrders digitally connected guests to on-site and local facilities. 
  • Some users note that the system could benefit from more customization. Others comment that it would better aid reporting if there were more options to extract data. 
  • RoomOrders doesn’t offer guests the ability to book a table in the hotel restaurant or any wellness services offered at the time of writing. 
  • The app may benefit from an automated translation function for international or multi-lingual hospitality venues. 


Monthly subscription $50 for the first hotel unit, and $50 for subsequent hotels. All costs are subject to a 1% transaction fee. 



  • Hotefy is a disruptive newcomer to the world of hotel apps. It provides a fully customizable hotel app to increase room service revenue. 
  • Your guests will be able to upgrade their rooms, book local sightseeing tours, and book wellness treatments in advance. 
  • Hotefy’s app can be fully integrated with your POS system to reduce operational costs. And give staff the ability to manage orders directly. 
  • Guests can opt-out of room cleaning, saving money and time. Guests can choose bi-weekly cleans rather than daily. 
  • Hotefy offers a QR code where guests can order directly from the bar, restaurant, pool area, and other services. 
  • Mobile payments are accepted from cards, Apple, and Google pay. 
  • The Hotefy app can be used straight out of the box for easy and simple adoption, with Pre-built pages. Or use its fully customizable features to reflect your hotel brand 


Pricing starts at $119 per month with no transaction fees, and you can use the free version to get you started!


To conclude on what is a hotel app…

So we hope this article has given you some background on traditional hotel apps. How offering digital room ordering for your hotel can take your revenue and guest experience to the next level. 

By using Hotefy as your mobile hotel concierge solution you will be able to increase guest revenue. 

Check out our demo to find out how you can give your guests direct order access to room service, tours, and all your hotel services.

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