SLH Launches iPhone App; Android to Follow

LONDON—Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) has launched an iOS app that allows users to search for its more than 520 member hotels by name or destination; get detailed information on the hotels; share hotel experiences via social media; and also adds Book Now, a feature that allows app users to book the hotel through the app.

Tim Davis, VP of brand and marketing worldwide for SLH, explained that the brand represents small, luxury, independent hotels across the world by putting member hotels on a global platform. SLH has a loyalty program with more than 400,000 members.

The new app will provide convenience for SLH member hotels and travelers while also providing a platform that capitalizes on the growing mobile app trend. The app can be used on the iPhone or iPad. “This is a one-stop shop for guests looking to get more information about our 520 hotels,” said Davis. “The aim of app is to reflect the increase we’ve witnessed in mobile visits.”

The app allows the user to get more information about where the hotels are. Also, app users can now easily research the facilities, services, restaurants and surrounding locations. Comprehensive photo galleries support these app functions. Plus, the Book Now button allows users to book right away, and the sharing option allows users to show their favorite destinations.

Davis said SLH has seen an increase of 35% in visits to mobile and a 54% increase in reservations on the mobile site.

SLH will launch the app for Android in March. Davis said the Android market is important. “Android is a huge platform for us. We have customers in Singapore and China; and a number of key properties across Asia,” he explained.  

Being able to provide this platform in the Asian market is crucial for the success of the platform; however, Davis anticipates a boom of Apple users in the Asian market in the future. Either way, SLH wants to provide its user hotels and members with whichever platform makes the most sense for them. “Samsung is popular in Asia-Pacific. Apple is pushing hard to get there as well. We want our consumers to make the choice that’s most relevant for them,” said Davis.

In regard to SLH’s image, Davis hopes the app makes the brand more accessible.

The iPhone app has been downloaded some 10,000 times. Davis commented that the downloads are active engagements, which means that the people who have downloaded are using the app, looking through photos, sharing, booking, etc. In addition, the app has brought SLH’s member hotels an additional $10,000 in revenue since its inception.

Davis said they are using the app to monitor when it is used. They’ve noticed that there is an uptick in usage during pre-work and post-work hours.

“We are monitoring the booking journey very closely. We’ve seen the length of play with the app and what time the visits are. We’ve absolutely seen more activity during the start and end of day; then there’s also a spike during lunchtime hours,” said Davis.

The app is free to download; it is also free to join SLH for app users.

Davis said the main goal in designing the apps was to make sure it’s user friendly, and that users could get to the Book Now button in the least amount of clicks as possible. He said user feedback is what is driving SLH to  make any tweaks that might be necessary.

“We are always looking and talking to hotels and consumers to see where the value is and what we can do better,” said Davis. “The thing is, introducing the app is easy. If you are going to launch an app you have to be prepared for the hard work that comes after its been launched.” 

Katherine Klahn