5 Hotel Guest Expectations You Need to Know
12th December 2018
There is probably no other industry that relies on customer satisfaction as much as the hospitality industry. Many aspects of the guest experience are timeless, as guests always look for a comfortable bed, a good shower, a clean and tidy room, complimentary toiletries and a good internet connection. However, in the digital age, as technology and digital communication continue to advance the landscape of guest-facing technology has changed.
Hotel technology now plays a pivotal role in enhancing the guest experience, increasing revenues and attracting, engaging and retaining guests. From AI to robots and Augmented Reality, there are many technology products and services available on the market, but how can you choose? Before you understand what is best for your business, you need to know what your guests expect.
Mobile check-in and digital key
A study reported by eHotelier found that 85% of international travellers have some kind of mobile device while exploring the world, so it is no surprise that 70% of guests want to use their phone to speed up check-in (Zebra Technologies). In particular, business guests expect quick and easy access to their room when arriving at a hotel, to the point that 67% of travellers are more likely to choose a hotel that allows guests to check-in and open doors with a smartphone than a hotel that doesn’t (Hotels.com). Earlier this year, we partnered with 4Suites to let guests skip check-in and open the room using their own phone.
Technology plays a key role in tailoring messages to the right audience and delivering personalised experiences. Millennials, who are growing up in a technologically advanced world, will soon be the biggest bookers of hotel rooms in the world. According to Forbes, by 2020 they will be taking 320 million international trips per year, making them the biggest travel market on the planet.
Research conducted by American Express shows that 83% of millennials would let travel brands track their digital patterns if this would provide them with a more personalised experience. Amadeus found that 49% of travellers would be persuaded to make a purchase of relevant offers from mobile push notifications. Thus, creating an app for your property that can send personalised push-notifications would enable your business to upsell your services and increase your revenue. The result is that 66% of guests report they have a better experience when associates use the latest technology (Zebra Technologies).
Ease of communication
Millennials and the new generations are communicating by texting and on digital channels. Accommodation providers have to step up their game and make sure they maximise the opportunities offered by these channels. As Benbria noted, it’s in hotels’ best interests to encourage guest engagement. Disengaged guests are less likely to return to a property and more likely to go online to broadcast their dissatisfaction on the internet.
Messaging is big! There are over 5 billion monthly users of different messaging apps wordwide. 64% of consumers are likely to have a positive perception of companies that offer communication via text (One Reach). Companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers (Benbria). We partnered with Benbria Loop to enable accommodation providers to reply to guest’s queries coming from their own branded app as well as any communication channel they are using.
Digitising guest information in an app that guests can download on their own phone is now possible and affordable. By using an app, guests can access all the information that they need about their stay wherever they are and at any point. Your own branded guest portal can also include an in-room ordering platform, so that guests can order anything they want with a simple click. Research conducted by Forbes shows that the biggest growth opportunity in the next two years for hotels is ‘during the stay’, and hotels offering in room service orders via a mobile platform saw as a minimum a 18% increase in those orders (hotelexecutive.com).
An emotional connection
We can’t forget we work in the hospitality sector. A recent survey by Oracle noted that a large proportion of millennials still want the human touch. So while technology can enhance the guest experience, increase revenues and deepen engagement, there will always be customers who will want to meet the concierge at the reception and be personally welcomed. Using technology to streamline operations and drive staff efficiency ensures that guests have choice. They can talk to a human or go straight to their room and that’s the key, offering ALL guests what they want, when they want it is the ultimate in hospitality.