Are You Meeting Guest Expectations?
The hospitality industry is built upon the demand for a unique, guest-centric experience with each and every visit. A recent survey shows 80% of customers make additional purchases when they undergo a positive experience with a company and 79% of them tell family and friends. As such, it’s no surprise those hotel brands which invest in the tools needed to understand the ever-evolving needs and desires of guests are those which experience long-term success and guest loyalty. Meeting—and exceeding—guest expectations is a win in the world of hotel guest experience and one important step on the path to long term loyalty.
However, hotels cannot expect to delight guests if they don’t first understand (and cater to) who they are, why they are traveling, and what they value most. The question becomes, what technologies and processes should hotels focus on in order to truly tap into what modern guests care about most? Where should hoteliers direct their attention?
To help ensure your hotel is positioned for success we’ve broken down exactly what guests want – or rather, need – from your hotel today, in order to transition into lifetime guests.
Get to Know Your Guests
Not that long ago, Gretchen Hartley, senior director of global design at Marriott International, was quoted saying “personalization of the guest experience in the next frontier.” There’s no denying it, personalization is a powerful tool, as we enter further into an experience-driven age in which consumers prioritize experiences over possessions and material goods. Not only do guests expect hotels to recreate the comforts of home, they want to feel known and appreciated by those hotels they frequent.
Hyper-personalization has become one of the most dominant themes in hospitality technology and will only continue to grow in importance. Recent studies by Google/Phocuswright indicate that 57% of travelers feel brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors. Further, if a travel brand tailored its information and overall trip experience based on personal preferences of past behavior, 36% would be likely to pay more for their services. One recent study found 79% of customers only consider shopping with brands that show they understand and care about them, and 56% are loyal to brands that demonstrate a deep understanding of their priorities and preferences. Ultimately, investing in technology which empowers a hyper-personalized experience allows hotel to create more memorable, authentic relationships with their guests.
What does personalization technology look like? The first step in personalizing the guest experience is simply establishing a clear picture of who exactly your guest is. This requires going beyond basic demographic information like age, interests, and location – to having true guest intelligence. These details can be beneficial for developing general guest profiles, but in order to really understand your customers, you need to dig deeper and learn about their overall sentiments and intentions, as well as the factors that weigh into their buying decisions.
In today’s climate, hotels have to move beyond legacy operational models and embrace modern, guestintelligence platforms that provide context to guest data and unlock meaningful insights. It is with those actionable insights that hoteliers can make smarter decisions, and more importantly, allow hoteliers to connect with the real person behind every reservation. Not only does this enhance the guest experience, it also boasts the potential to maximize revenue – with more opportunity for meaningful up-sells and creating repeat guests. Guest intelligence technology advancements can help hoteliers to realize (and offer) a new level of guest engagement.
Are you equipped to get to know your guests on a personal level? We’d love to discuss how you can get started.
Get Mobile, or Get Left Behind
Guests expect to be able to use a variety of channels to communicate with hotels throughout the guest journey. This is true on the day of arrival as well as before, during, and after the stay. It should come as no surprise that mobile has been, and will continue to be, an integral aspect of the guest experience. In fact, the guest personalization model leans heavily on the mobile experience, as guests more readily share integral data through their handheld device. According to research, nearly half of Americans ‘couldn’t live without’ their smartphones, and 76% of travelers name their mobile device as their number one travel accessory. Still apprehensive? Twice as many people would choose to travel with their mobile device then with their loved ones.
If a convenient, personalized, and ultimately frictionless experience is the goal, mobile devices and corresponding technology should be viewed as the ultimate conduit. This includes, but is not limited to, mobile check-in/out, native mobile apps for hotels, keyless entry and mobile payments. Hotels.com found that 42% of people globally have booked a hotel on a mobile device and 44% said they’d be willing to use their mobile device at a self-check-in kiosk at a hotel.
Fast delivery isn’t just for pizza anymore. Video streaming services give consumers instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows and on multiple devices. Too busy to run to the grocery store? Use Instacart or Postmates to have dish detergent and avocados brought to your door. Amazon now offers same-day delivery for select items. It’s not your direct hotel competitors setting high expectations, it’s the best experiences that consumers have had anywhere.
In the hospitality realm, any perceived friction is the enemy of guest satisfaction. Front desk lines, operational inefficiencies, delayed response from hotel staff in the case of a complaint or issue, unsavory room conditions… these all pose a risk to your hotel’s reputation. This has become a theme across industries, in fact, if a brand cannot deliver a frictionless experience, customers will go elsewhere. No guest wants to be required to repeat things already communicated or go to any extra trouble. It is the hotel’s responsibility to provide impeccable service to each guest. Obstacles in the way of an ideal guest experience are friction. Modern guests do not have time for those obstacles.
As we’ve said before, and we will likely say this many times over: it’s an exciting time for hospitality. With the advancement of technology keeping pace alongside evolving guest demands, hotels find themselves in a great position to truly transform (and capitalize on) the guest experience. Understanding the factors that make for great customer experience and engagement will make it easier to assess which existing and emerging technologies will help you meet, anticipate, and outpace service expectations.
About the Author:
The capability to understand today’s hotel guest is a priority for Concilio Labs. Terri Miller and her team developed a way to leverage hotel and public data to help hoteliers provide exceptional relevant experiences to its guests. As CEO of Concilio Labs, Terri is responsible for driving the strategic and tactical growth of the company, while ensuring innovation is at the forefront when delivering solutions hoteliers truly need. Her wealth of experience in business, management, and technology guides all facets of the company’s success. Prior to Concilio Labs, Terri was the Vice President of MICROS eCommerce leading the creative, delivery, and technical departments. With a passion for delivering results, Terri continues to grow Concilio Labs with a focus on becoming the leader in developing and delivering smart hotel products and services.