Today’s consumer has high expectations, and expects their standards to be met, if not exceeded. Unfortunately, most hotels seem to be a step behind— and their guest satisfaction scores match.
Fundamentally, the hotel industry revolves around the ability to meet guest expectations and exceed market standards to create truly memorable guest experiences. When these criterion 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.
For the average modern traveler, their day-to-day life relies on, and is enriched by, technology. When they first check-in to their hotel room, it shouldn’t feel like they’ve stepped into the 1800’s. Their hotel experience should support the same technology savvy lifestyle they’re accustomed to, if not surpass it.
Hoteliers should keep on top of current technological trends, and pinpoint areas of opportunity to provide innovative and memorable experiences for their guests — their guest satisfaction scores will follow suit.
Oracle, an influential tech company, 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, Vice President of digital product innovation at Hilton Worldwide, believes “digital key is revolutionary” and that “it improves [the guests] stay, and it improves their arrival”. 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 every 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 some 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.
Want to increase your online reviews? Read our recent post “Get Better Reviews: How Hotels Can Improve the Volume & Quality of their Online Reviews”
Service Requests & Staff Helpfulness
Hoteliers are missing a huge opportunity to positively impact guests stay and increase guest engagement. More than 60% of respondents 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, they can be seen as a value added service, and build stronger relationships. In fact, the 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.
To learn the impact AI can have on hotel customer service, read our recent blog post “Is AI The Future of Customer Service?”
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. Solutions like Helix by MicroMetrics focus on creating a comfortable space where guests can voice their underlying emotions in real-time, allowing staff to resolve any issues in-stay. Helix ensures every single guest leaves with memorable experiences and confidence that their voice was valued.
To learn how Helix helped the InterContinental Los Angeles strengthen guest relationships and elevate their in-stay service recovery, read our recent case study “How Helix by MicroMetrics helped the Intercontinental, Los Angeles at Century City boost in-stay service recovery rates”.
Increase Guest Control
One size no longer fits all. Today’s travellers 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 should be given more control is room cleanliness. With 93% of respondents agreeing room cleanliness is one of the most important factors in determining their overall satisfaction, guests are open to taking a leading role. 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 can have the ability to request specific services, like asking for extra towels.
Allowing guests increased control over their stay better guarantees high guest satisfaction scores — they know what they want, allow them the opportunity 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.
Check in with guests before they check out, learn more about how Helix provides real-time alerts and engagement that fuel in-stay service recovery opportunities.