New research identifies the technology that hotel guests really want

10th April 2019

We are delighted to reveal the findings of new research which, auditing the preferences of more than 3,600 travellers, shows a growing appreciation for bespoke hotel apps. Research highlight that loyalty programmes, self-check-in/out and accessing your hotel room via a digital door key are primary requirements of today’s guests.

The findings highlight crucial information for all hoteliers, with guests’ smartphones now recognised as an essential tool for delivering and improving their travel experience.  With 45% of respondents travelling for leisure more than four times a year, findings showed that 62% of respondents regularly use an accommodation app, with the figure increasing to 67% amongst business travellers.

If their favourite hotel was to have its own app, 74% of respondents overwhelmingly stated they would use this digital channel, with only 10% favouring an in-room device such as a hotel’s smartphone or tablet.  This reinforces Criton’s core belief that the future of hotel technology is own device.  Hoteliers no longer need to absorb the cost of installing in-room devices when their guests travel with their own smartphone and are more comfortable with the apps and content within it.

The opportunity to check-in via an app and access their hotel room via a digital door key was warmly received with 58% likely or very likely to want this technology.  With 68% finding it unacceptable to queue at reception for longer than five minutes, offering guests access to a service which global chains already offer is fast becoming a core priority for independent operators.

Respondents prioritised loyalty programmes as their favoured element of hotel technology with 53% recognising it as their top requirement.  In a competitive landscape, the opportunity to drive direct and repeat bookings through a personalised loyalty programme will ensure hoteliers save on OTA commission while creating their own closed marketing group to upsell onsite services and facilities.

Underlining modern travellers’ awareness of technology, the survey found an audience ready to talk about tech use and expectations while travelling.  Reflecting on the results of the survey, Julie Grieve, founder and CEO of Criton, which developed the UK’s first intuitive app builder for the hospitality sector, said:

“Increasingly, today’s travellers are downloading apps that help them get around and stay connected with their hotel. That level of tech awareness or even dependency also raises expectations for information, guest services, such as check-in, digital key and offers and incentives to reward their loyalty.

“Respondents to the survey were people who travel regularly, with the majority opting for a mid-range hotel or accommodation. It is increasingly clear that adopting technology has to be seen as an imperative for all hospitality providers; it is not something purely for the major franchises.”

Key Findings:
  • 45% of travellers stated they travel for leisure 2-3 times a year
  • 36% travel for business
  • 39% use TripAdvisor as main source of research and inspiration before booking a hotel, followed by 29% of respondents relying on online search
  • 40% of travellers said they regularly stay in a 4-star (boutique) hotel, with 6% in a 5-star (luxury) hotel. The majority (47%) stated they regularly stay in a 3-star (mid-range) hotel
  • 53% have at least one hotel app on their phone
  • 74% would use a hotel app if their favourite hotel had one
  • 55% stated it is acceptable to wait at check-in 2-5 minutes
  • 62% would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app
  • 58% would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app and use digital key
App usage
  • 62% use an accommodation app regularly (eg Airbnb)
  • 57% use a transport app regularly 
  • 47% use an airline app regularly
  • 36% use a hotel app regularly
When thinking about hotel technology, guests want: 
  • 53% - loyalty programmes
  • 35% - self check-in
  • 10% - in-room mobile
  • 18% - in-room tablet

How Criton can help you?

At Criton, we give independent hotels and serviced apartment operators access to the same technology that big chains already adopt. We have built bespoke apps with a wide range of functionalities (including push notifications, messaging, ordering, PMS integration, digital key) for clients including luxury boutique hotels and national chains of serviced apartments. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your business.