Takeaways from the 2018 Guest Experience Assessment Report: Better Alignment of Tech & Value for Guests
By Jos Schaap, Hospitality Software Executive & Entrepreneur
The relationship between hospitality and technology is ever-evolving as the demands of the modern guest continue to redefine the industry landscape. With the on-going need for guest personalization and value-driven service, the most successful hotels will be those who allocate more of their budgets for technology that actually aligns with delivering a better guest experience for all types of travelers. This may empower a self-service model for some guests, and high-touch, personalized service for others.
To gain a better understanding of current guest assessment trends and technological, guest-centric advancements adopted by industry leaders, StayNTouch, Travel Tripper and TrustYou recently released an extensive study of worldwide hoteliers. The survey provides an overview of key guest experience trends to watch moving forward into 2018 and beyond while highlighting the areas in which some hotels may be lagging behind. Utilizing this information will allow hotels to better adjust their strategy for catering to, and connecting with guests in a way that instills long-term true loyalty, revenue growth and success.
- 41.33% of respondents do not offer guests a choice of check-in method, despite this being a popular guest expectation/preference.
- Only 30% of respondents felt strongly about their ability and effort to promote upsells and upgrades at check-in, signifying a common trend of missed revenue opportunity.
- 74.67% of respondents say that they respond and resolve standard guest requests either quickly or very quickly.
- Overwhelmingly, respondents indicated that email and phone were the primary means of communication. This highlights an area for improvement, as in-person interactions are often the ideal environment for establishing more personalized rapport with guests.
- 68.46% of respondents recognize that they need to establish or improve their use or adoption of mobile technology.
- 48% of respondents acknowledged that they are finding it challenging to capture or utilize guest data to personalize the guest experience.
The investment in technology today is much more complicated than it was 20 years ago due to the advancement of our technological world. As we analyze current trends and popular behavioral patterns of the modern guest, it becomes evident that prioritizing the purchase of guest-facing technology should be paramount. After all, sites like Tripadvisor, Yelp, social media channels and more have empowered guests to make their own buying decisions based upon the crowd. Hotels today are in competition for guest loyalty and without the support of guest-centric technology to empower their service offering, empower their employees and ensure guest satisfaction, hotels can expect fall behind the leaders of the pack.
Give Your Guests the Power of Choice
As we've noted before, recent studies show that 70% of guests prefer to use their smartphone to speed up check-in and services, and 67% of travelers are "more likely" to choose a hotel that allows guests to check in and open doors with a smartphone than a hotel that doesn't.
To limit your guest to one method of check-in/out is to turn guests away from your hotel entirely in this modern world. Give your guests the power of choice, and ensure they continue to choose your hotel over the competition.
Get on Board with Mobile
It is more important than ever before to capitalize on the rise of mobile technology and empower guests with the ability to choose their preferred service model (self-service, low touch or high touch). Mobile technology for the hospitality realm includes (but is not limited to) mobile check-in/out, mobile keys, concierge, reservations, alerts, custom hotel apps and more. With 68.46% of respondents to our StayNTouch survey recognizing that they need to establish or improve their use or adoption of mobile technology, this is an ongoing movement that needs to be adopted at a faster pace to keep up with guest demands.
Not only does mobile technology appeal to each guests' desire for personalization, but it empowers your staff to serve each guest better the way they truly want to be served.
Enhance Your Service Model with the Modern PMS
In the past, PMS systems were never seen — instead, they were firmly stationed behind the front desk with a server buried in the basement. While these on-premise systems served their purpose, their capacity to truly enhance a hotel's operation and guest engagement were limited in nature. Today's PMS, however, has the capability to do a seemingly unlimited number of things to directly impact guest satisfaction. With mobile-optimized, cloud-based systems that provide comprehensive, actionable insights at a glance to all hotel staff, the modern PMS allows guests to choose how they want to interact with a hotel property while freeing up staff to build relationships with guests one on one.
Considering the majority (~52%) of respondents acknowledged that they are finding it challenging to capture or utilize guest data to personalize the guest experience, investing in a modern PMS system should be top of mind. Further to the enhancement of guest engagement, advanced PMS tools will help your staff to better understand and leverage guest data for personalized service. And in terms of capitalizing on revenue opportunity, modern PMS software often offers built-in prompts for upselling and upgrade opportunities.
Having these capabilities as an integral part of your operational model by means of an advanced PMS tool is of incredible value to your hotel and should be prioritized accordingly.
Jos Schaap is a well-known hospitality software executive and entrepreneur, with over 30 years of experience in hotel management and software. He has a passion for hotels, especially staying in them, which has inspired his pioneering ideas for new technologies that have transformed the industry. As a great advocate for change and innovation, he has dedicated his career to developing new things, projects, applications, and companies.More from Jos Schaap
About StayNTouch, A Shiji Group Brand
StayNTouch is a "Software as a Service" hotel property management systems (PMS) company focused on developing solutions that help hotels raise service levels, drive revenues, reduce costs, and ultimately change the way hotels can captivate their guests. Developed with mobility in mind, the pioneering platform enables hotels to create long-lasting relationships with their guests by delivering personalized service levels that today's guests require. StayNTouch operates on tablets and smartphones, empowering hotel employees to go above and beyond in exceeding guest expectations at every touch point.
Powering over 90,000 rooms globally, our game-changing solution frees hotels from the constraints of legacy or premise systems, dramatically streamlines operations, increases margins, and revolutionizes how front-line staff connects with guests. StayNTouch is a trusted partner to many of the most forward-thinking hotels, resorts, casinos and chains in the industry, including Yotel, Zoku Amsterdam, Valencia Hotels, The Freehand Hotels, Modus hotels and the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.