Everyone knows they should be using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, but what about the other apps that are out there being downloaded and installed on tens or hundreds of thousands (or millions) of mobile devices? Which apps should operators be aware of and have on their phones, tablets, and computers? Brittany Oat shared what she feels are the 10 must-have and must-watch apps for 2016 at the 31st Annual Nightclub & Bar Show.
There are several reasons these apps made the list. First, they’re location based. Second, they’ve been downloaded by large numbers of people and are being used often. Third, these apps make conversations easy. The fourth factor is that your competitors are using these apps, and if they’ve established their presence on these platforms, you need to do so as well. Finally, the target demographics you’re after use these apps.
So, how many of these apps do you know about, and which are you using?
The creators of this app are determined to remove the snobbery from the wine experience. Hello Vino is free and gives users wine recommendations anytime, anywhere. Essentially, it’s a free and convenient wine assistant capable of making suggestions based on food pairings, special occasions, and even the user’s personal preferences. Have a wine menu? Download the app, set it for your region, and see what the app is suggesting. Consider finding a place on your menu for those wines to draw in Hello Vino users.
For users who love craft beer and specialty cocktails and spirits, there’s TapHunter. Users tell the app what they’re in the mood for and the app tells them where to find it. The Activity Stream keeps them in the know about what’s hot, from bars to beers to spirits, and much more. Users can also learn all of the pertinent details about a bar with the tap of a finger, meaning the app is easy to use. Bar owners can follow a link, fill out some information, and await a call from TapHunter’s team so they can be featured on the app. Since users can fill out a similar form and request that TapHunter reach out to their favorite bar it’s in a bar owner’s best interest to claim and monitor their listing on the app.
People can do more than just book flights, find hotels, and locate vacation homes for rent on TripAdvisor. Users can also read reviews for bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Some of the eateries and other hospitality industry venues on TripAdvisor make it possible for users to make reservations through a pop-up window linked to OpenTable. Essentially, the travel site is a one-stop online shop for travelers looking to have the best possible experience during their trip. Boasting more than 320 million reviews, owners and operators need to keep their eyes on their TripAdvisor listings.
Zomato (previously UrbanSpoon)
Not only do “regular” consumers use Zomato, critics leave scores and reviews as well. Claiming to be the number one free food and dining locating app, the app makes it simple for users to discover restaurants anywhere they may be living or traveling. Zomato makes it easy to search via various parameters, read menus, get basic information, make reservations, and read reviews so that people can make educated decisions about where they’d like to spend their hard-earned dollars.
When UrbanSpoon was sold many users pushed back and left some less than glowing reviews on the App Store but operators need to be aware the app, their listing on it, and whether or not the information – and reviews – are accurate.
This app is dedicated to the party crowd. Servicing 8 locations at the time of this writing (The Hamptons, Foxwoods, New York, Boston, Miami, Washington DC, and Las Vegas), Tableist makes it convenient for their users to find the hottest parties and book tables. Tableists can search for what’s going on at any given night, tell the app how many people are in their group, and book a table, opting to pay at the venue if they like. If you’re a nightclub, lounge or a hip bar, you need to be listed on Tableist.
“Never pick another bad wine,” reads the reassuring message on the Vivino website. With 16 million users the app is also the world’s largest wine community, so they must be delivering on that promise. People who download and use the app have access to the largest wine library on the planet. They simply scan a wine label or even a menu, read the reviews and ratings, take a look at prices, and make an informed decision. Right now there are 8,757,903 wines, 239,259,810 scanned labels, 15,248,693 reviews, and 44,292,797 ratings in the Vivino database, meaning that if you have wine on your menu you need this app.
Are you an owner or operator with a bar, nightclub or lounge in New York City or The Hamptons? If you answered “Yes” you need to know about Flux. This app is for members only and gives users access to the best in NYC and Hamptons nightlife and concerts. Members of Flux choose where they’d like to go, add their friends, and then pay for preferred entry through the app. When they arrive at their chosen destination they bypass lines and tickets by showing their app and walking right in. NYC and Hamptons operators need to know about this app because the developers partner with the hottest spots in both of those areas, making it easy for their members to discover the hottest venues.
This app lets users follow beers so they can find out when they become available at a bar, restaurant or store near them. It also lets them follow places so that they can be made aware the moment they change their beer menu. They can also log the beers they drink, keep track of their favorites, find places that are selling the beers they love or want to try, browse up-to-date beer menus, and even lets iOS 9 users search for beers directly from Spotlight. If you sell beer you can see why you need to be aware of BeerMenus.
Beer drinkers who want a more social app for discovering beer turn to Untappd. Users can easily discover new beers and bars near their location, find out where their friends are enjoying beer and meet them, find the locations selling specific beers nearby, check in, post their activity and photos via Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, and create a beer wishlist. People who use Untappd can also unlock badges for trying different beers, styles and locations. For beer sellers, this app is priceless.
You know about Yelp. Love it or hate it, you also know why you need to keep tabs on your listing and reviews. And, you now that you need to engage with Yelp users. It’s Yelp, and forget the cliché about living underneath a rock if you don’t know about it, you’d have to be a rock to not be aware of Yelp.
And there you have it – Brittany Oat’s 2016 app recommendations. What do you think? Let us know about your favorite hospitality-focused apps!