Today’s consumer has high expectations. Unfortunately, many hotels seem to be a step behind— and their guest satisfaction scores match.
The hotel industry fundamentally revolves around the ability to meet guest expectations and exceed market standards to create truly memorable guest experiences. When these criteria are not met, guest loyalty can vanish and guest satisfaction scores can plummet.
To keep competitive, and ensure guest loyalty, hoteliers must be dedicated to providing guests with the experiences they want, with the highest level of commitment, creativity, and care.
The average traveler’s day-to-day life relies on and is enriched by technology. When they first check into their hotel room, it should not feel like they are stepping into the 20th century. Their hotel experience should support the same tech-savvy lifestyle they are accustomed to.
Hoteliers looking to boost guest satisfaction metrics should keep on top of current technological trends, and pinpoint areas of opportunity to provide innovative and memorable experiences for their guests.
Cloud computing company Oracle recently published a research report outlining the relationship between guest expectations and technology. More than 2,700 US and European travellers were surveyed with the goal of gaining a deeper insight into the mind of the modern luxury traveller, and the impact technology has on their stay. These findings will be discussed throughout this article, with accompanying areas of opportunity clearly outlined.
The study found that technology is a critical part of the hotel experience, with 64% of US hotel guests citing it is “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance their experience.
Through the study, several factors for influencing guest satisfaction scores were uncovered, which have been broken down and paired with enhancing technology below.
Seamless Check-in Process
The guest experience starts immediately, and the overwhelming majority of guests (71%) strongly value an easy check-in process. Hoteliers should place the same value on their check-in process, and welcome guests with a hassle-free check-in through automation. Not only will this simplify the process for the guest, and allow them to start their travels immediately, this will also free up agents to focus on more complicated matters.
Another way to enhance their check-in process is by adopting keyless entry. Some of the largest hotel companies in the world have begun implementing keyless smartphone technology, allowing their guests to bypass the front desk altogether.
Joshua Sloser, SVP of Digital at Hilton Worldwide, says he believes Digital Key is “revolutionary” and that it improves both the guest’s arrival and overall stay. Since the inception of Hilton’s Digital Key, the majority of loyalty members who use the digital check-in and Digital Key are more likely to rate their “efficiency of arrival” almost 10% higher than those who did not.
Hilton has also begun combining their keyless entry system with other services, such as allowing guests to select their exact room through interactive digital floor maps. Guests are definitely appreciating these new technological offers, as this feature alone is used more than 1 million times per month.
Hoteliers now have the ability to make each visit better than the last. By documenting guest information, hotels can create in-depth guest profiles and tailor the service to match specific guest preferences.
In turn, guests will feel valued and appreciated, increasing both guest loyalty and guest satisfaction scores.
While hotels may have previously been wary of tracking guest information in fear of breaching guest privacy, guests actually encourage and are comfortable with hotels obtaining their personal information, as long as clear consent is given.
Service Requests & Staff Helpfulness
Hoteliers are missing a huge opportunity to positively impact guest stays and increase guest engagement. More than 60% of respondents to the Oracle survey admitted to regularly relying on non-hotel sources for their in-destination queries. With that in mind, 72% of respondents highly value staff helpfulness and say it directly impacts their satisfaction and experience.
By offering guests the ability to contact the concierge through their mobile phones, hotels are opening another opportunity to build relationships and demonstrate their commitment to guest experience. In fact, the overwhelming majority of travelers, 94% of business travelers and 80% of leisure travelers, see value in being able to message hotel staff for service-based requests.
This feature would also give hotels deeper insight into the specifics of what guests need, and what guests love, allowing them to create more accurate guest profiles and personalized service for future stays.
In-Stay Service Recovery
While the request based service is a step in the right direction, hoteliers can better improve guest satisfaction scores through a deeper line of communication. Helix by MicroMetrics focuses on creating a comfortable space where guests can voice their underlying emotions in real-time, allowing staff to resolve any issues in-stay. Helix gives every guest a chance to voice their feedback directly to the hotel staff, ensuring that they leave with a memorable experience.
Increase Guest Control
One size no longer fits all. Today’s travelers wish to take more control of their stay and have the ability to better customize certain services and amenities to fit their personal preferences. One area in which guests want more control is room cleanliness, with 93% of respondents saying this is one of the most important factors in determining their overall satisfaction.
Investments in technology, like automated SMS messaging systems, can enable guests to schedule the cleaning crew to come when they are out, and ensure their room will not be missed. Guests can even receive smart-phone notifications alerting them when their room has been cleaned and have the ability to request specific services, like extra towels.
Allowing guests increased control over their stay better guarantees high guest satisfaction scores. Guests know what they want, all they need is the power to make it happen.
Nearly 75% of guests use in-room entertainment, with over 25% saying it is a critical element to their overall hotel experience. Some hotels have begun expanding their in-room entertainment, to provide their guests with unique travel experiences. For example, Prizeotel in Hamburg city decorates each room with lamps that can play music over Bluetooth, and 32-inch flat screen TV’s.
While technology cannot completely eliminate the human touch, the opportunities and insight technology brings is undeniably valuable. Hoteliers must effectively leverage all possible resources to provide guests with the experiences they truly want and expect.
Helix by MicroMetrics helps hotels enact service recovery strategies in real time, preventing negative reviews and developing guest loyalty.