The Amber Springs Hotel is a 4 star luxury hotel located in the outskirts of Gorey Co. Wexford. Over 2020 we were delighted to team up with the hotel to work on a mobile app that needed to be as beautiful as it was functional.
The hotel has been a well known establishment in Gorey for over 20 years and is seen as one of the premier hotels in the region. They have an existing website with booking capability and they wanted to supplement this with an app on both IOS & Android platforms.
We held a number of meetings with the client to understand their specific requirements. At a high level, they wanted:-
- Mobile app to supplement & compliment their existing website
- App available on IOS & Android Phones
- App available on phones & tablets
- App published to I-Tunes & Google Play Store
- Cater for online bookings for room reservations, restaurant reservations & activities
- Push notifications
- Geo-fencing for certain notifications
- In-App notifications & In-App notification campaign management tools
- Analytical tools
- Social Media Integration
It was made very clear to us that the hotel did not want the app to simply serve as a second version of their website in an app form. It needed to stand on its own and serve unique functions that a website cannot – especially in the push notification area. One requirement in particular was the inclusion of geo-fencing whereby the hotel wanted the ability to send specific messages to those within the hotel.
It was also made very clear that the app would need to run on both IOS & Android devices – and on all variations of these devises (makes, models, phones & tablets of all sizes).
Based on these requirements, it was agreed that we would begin work on a prototype and proving the messaging capability.
We began working on the functional changes around messaging capability initially. The logic here being that once we had something functional we could make it beautiful. Proving that we could fulfill the messaging requirements was a key milestone in the development process.
Next we set about working on the user interface and laying out the look and feel – while keeping a close eye on integrating the functionality. An app is very different to a website and one of the challenges with app development and prototyping is sharing your progress with the client. For a website you create a development version of the site that you can share the URL with the client. An app is a piece of software that runs on a phone rather than a web server and installing a development version of an app is difficult – especially for IOS. Our developers had different versions installed our devices in the office – however this phase was during the COVID-19 restrictions so we couldn’t visit the client and show these devices in person. Instead we came up with an ingenious way of sharing our progress on a weekly basis through a web browser version of the app. This really sped progress along and it it weren’t for this, we feel that the final release would have been pushed out months.
The prototype process outlined above allowed us to gradually introduce the app features to the client over an extended period which meant that when the app was complete and released, they were very familiar with all of the functionality so it wasn’t a ‘big bang’ implementation.
When we got sign off on the prototype – we set about publishing the app to both Apples I-Tunes and Googles Play Store. In mid-July 2020 and right on time – we were delighted to launch the app on behalf of the hotel.
The hotel now have the capability to send push notifications to all app users who have consented to push notifications. These can range from special offers, announcements, hotel news etc. The hotel can create segments within their audience based on device type, active users, engaged users & location etc. We have set up a geo-fence around the hotel so that management can target those consenting users within that geo-fence for specific activities within the hotel (e.g. kids club times, cinema schedule etc.). These messages can be broadcast in real time or scheduled to happen at a time in the future giving the hotel huge flexibility. If a user does not consent to push notifications they will not receive any messages.
The app also offers in-app notifications and again these can be targeted at different consenting audiences. These take a the form of a stylish popup with a call to action button and can be a very useful marketing tool.
This is a beautiful app. This is a functional app. We’re very proud of our work on this app and you can check it out on both stores below