Insight from the 2019 Amadeus Hospitality Customer Conference
In an event full of educational and thought leadership presentations, one of the most popular discussions was led by Hospitality Division Senior Vice President, Paco Perez-Lozao. In front of 350 attendees, Paco painted a picture of the traveler of the future. What do they want hotels to offer them? What kind of technology will be not only expected but required in order for them to book? What will they be willing to spend more for and go home raving to family and friends about?
As hotel chains continue to introduce guest-facing technology to stand out from the competition, it’s important to also stop and ask the question – what do hotel guests really want? To find the answer, we commissioned an exclusive study with Cornell University and InterContinental Hotels Group to poll industry professionals and travelers, and analyze data to build a more accurate roadmap of the future. As we studied our collective findings, our view of the traveler of tomorrow started to take shape, including their predicted behaviors and preferences.
Here are the top 5 things hotel guests of the future will be looking for as shared by Paco:
1. Optimized shopping and booking
The majority of travelers today are young and tech-savvy. They live on social media, shop online, and take other guest reviews heavily into account before booking. They are informed decision makers and frequently use Google or another search engine to price compare for the best deal. This makes it even harder for companies to attract their attention, so brands need to make it count. Now is the time to review website performance and layout to make sure your property is making a good first impression. Ensure your website is fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate with a smooth booking process that can be done in a few clicks.
2. Seamless interactions
Travelers don’t want to be hassled while vacationing or on the road for work. They want important information delivered to them when and how they want it. This could include a welcome email with important check-in details for their stay, texting for room service, requesting towels from their voice-operated assistant, and a speedy check out on their smartphone. Delays, miscommunications, and other inefficiencies won’t fly, and will most likely cost a hotel a repeat customer.
Standardized stays are out – personalized visits are in. Guests want brands to pay attention to their needs and desires and above all – they want to feel valued. They want to build their own room (view, floor, décor, amenities), rather than select a traditional room type. They want to receive tailored offerings based on what they’ve enjoyed in the past – a discounted massage at the onsite spa, or maybe a coveted table reservation at the resort’s new restaurant. Offering deals backed by helpful customer service will help foster a long-lasting relationship between consumer and brand.
4. Experiential service
Travelers of the future want an experiential stay instead of a transactional one. Hotels can be expensive, and guests want their stay to be a memorable part of the travel experience – nearly as memorable as their visit to the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty. Think of creating a pop-up dining experience with a celebrity chef, exclusive tours and tastings at the hot new brewery down the street, and music or pet-themed rooms that resonate with a guest’s personality and passions. These all contribute to unforgettable experiences that drive brand loyalty.
Environmentally friendly practices are more important than ever. Travelers want to stay in a hotel that supports green initiatives and can reduce waste. Properties that fail to meet these standards may start to see their guest satisfaction scores plummet, so it’s important to invest in technology that reflects positive corporate values.
These preferences will be shared by millions of people in the coming decades. It may seem daunting for hotels to try and live up to these high expectations, but it also opens up a world of opportunity. Put this knowledge to work by building your brand promise to inspire loyalty members and generate a strong social media following. Introduce change incrementally by offering customers new and exciting options for their stays and gain market share. The sky is the limit.
Want to read the full whitepaper “The Drivers of Change in Hospitality” for more industry insight? Download it here.