Hotel Maps and Apps

The Venetian and its sister property, the Palazzo, recently joined the list of Las Vegas hotel-casinos that offer mobile apps to help visitors navigate their properties. They’re a little late to this party, so the Venetian brass is touting its Pocket Concierge app—specifically its turn-by-turn mapping feature—as something different. The feature is a nice touch, but the app as a whole isn’t as polished or comprehensive as some of its competitors. This isn’t so much an indictment of the app as a sign of how competitive the field has become.

Hotel apps have become extremely user-friendly and efficient in a very short period. A typical one will include maps and information about every aspect of the property, from room rates to convention-event times to restaurant menus, and many even allow users to make reservations and purchase tickets. Many free hotel apps are easier to use and have better information than commercial travel-guide apps—with the significant drawback that they generally cover just one property.

It’s difficult for any single app to stand out from a quality crowd. The turn-by-turn feature—with its auto-GPS-style directions—works well. The problem is that the app as a whole lacks some basics, such as restaurant menus, that have become standard in other hotel apps.

But the fact that hotels are competing on the quality of their interior maps shows that we can expect these apps to become even more sophisticated. And the next time you need to know something about a casino, rather than checking a travel guide or calling the concierge, you might find it easier to just pull out your phone instead.