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  • Writer's pictureDeniz Tekerek

BYOD is Dead - 2 Key Implications from the iOS 14.5 Update for Guest Engagement & How Portier Helps

If you kept an eye on the latest news cycle surrounding Apple’s iOS 14.5 update which was released at the end of April, you would have seen that the world of apps has changed forever. Much to the discontentment of companies like Facebook and Twitter, users are showing clear signs of valuing the privacy of their personal phone space more than ever before in the history of smartphones being in use.

Indeed, Apple’s latest update means that when a user now downloads an application, he or she will have to actively opt in to app data tracking. Such tracking enables app providers to serve targeted ads but also further personalise the experience to users. The initial statistics from Apple are a big middle finger to app providers, with only 4% of US and 12% of global iPhone users choosing to opt in to such tracking.

As per Mashable, companies like “Snapchat and Twitter, have acknowledged that the change will likely impact their business.” And guess what? This change will also have a significant impact on guest-facing hotel technology. Hoteliers that believe in utilising guests’ own phones in particular, should pay attention to this monumental shift, as this is a clear sign of smartphone users placing an incredible amount of value on their private phone space.

In other words, the above will continue to drive two major implications for hoteliers looking to engage their guests via technology in a post-COVID world.

1) No Data = No Personalisation

We have often highlighted the value of personalised experiences at hotels, and many hotels have tried tapping into the emergence of modern technologies by providing the likes of applications, chatbots and more, in order to create a more customised experience for their guests.

Indeed, technology is the most crucial source of personalisation today, and 72% of guests are likely to return to a property (read HERE) that provides the technology they expect. Having said that, how can technology provide the needed amount of personalisation when the data which that technology collects is restricted? After all, knowing more about your guests gives hoteliers the ability to personalise at scale.

In that sense, if you have invested in an application that already faced challenges of user acquisition (i.e. downloads) and engagement (hotel apps get less than 1% of engagement), you will now find your app further challenged by the rules that are being implemented by ecosystems like Apple’s App Store, something you have no power over. With that lack of power comes a lack of needed data and therefore, an inability to personalise any part of the hotel experience.

2) The Guest’s Phone is Personal & Private

With news such as the above continuing to dominate the technology space, smartphone users are becoming increasingly anxious about the value of their privacy. We had previously covered the user fallout from WhatsApp (read HERE) due to some seemingly simple changes to the chat application’s privacy policies, which ultimately led to a substantial loss of users overnight. At the time, we had urged hoteliers to pay attention and to acknowledge that smartphone users are becoming wary of their private digital spaces including the conversations they have on platforms like WhatsApp, meaning that hoteliers would have to find a better way to engage their guests.

The news from Apple’s iOS 14.5 release is an additional amplifier of that narrative. In other words, if your belief with regards to guest engagement continues to revolve around a “bring your own device strategy”, you might already be on the road to disastrous outcomes. The cruel reality is that “acquiring” a guest’s attention on their own device is a near impossible undertaking. If you take a look at the performances of applications in the hospitality field on Sensortower for example, you’ll find that they are already some of the worst performers. Add to that emerging worries from the user’s perspective, and you can surely see those performances plummet further.

It’s important to understand the limited time guests actually spend at hotels across the year, given the finite amount of annual leave they can take from their employment. In that sense, hotels need to get the captive attention of a guest for only a few days at a time, and the best way of getting such attention is not to ask those guests to go out of their way to engage with hotel staff. Applications and “bring your own device” solutions certainly fall into that challenged category - the former requires a guest to download an app for only a few days of usage, while both options let an “alien” enter their private phone space.


The Portier Ecosystem provides the perfect solution to the above conundrum! Powered by Portier Phones that run on the Portier Operating System, guests receive a customised and hotel-branded smartphone for their stay, and the phone covers ALL of their hotel and destination needs from a single place. In many ways, Portier Phones can be regarded as a vacation device that helps hotel guests fully localise, the very moment they get to your hotel.

Portier Phones cover everything the hotel has to offer (think ancillary services or staff chat), provides access to the most relevant local apps guests would have never known existed, and makes destination discovery a walk in the park. This ecosystem is not subjected to any unexpected changes from Apple and continues to utilise anonymous data in such a way, scaled personalisation is not just a possibility but a daily reality.

From a guest’s perspective “Portier Hotels” respect the private digital spaces of guests and don’t require them to make room for them on their own devices. This adds a layer of security that will only continue to gain importance in the months and years ahead.

All of the benefits listed above make us the most engaging guest solution in the global hotel technology market today, and our partners take advantage of our platform in a multitude of ways. Whether that’s making a significant amount of incremental income from ancillary services or receiving more 5-Star reviews, each partner has its own agenda with the Portier Platform.

If you are interested in becoming part of that future, get in touch via


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