A recent infographic asks, “Who is the Hotel Guest of 2020,” and how will evolving technological advances most likely shape their expectations. While 2020 once seemed far away, in reality it’s only a few short months away. Reminiscing back to the 1980’s, when anyone predicted what life would be like now, it always seems so futuristic, from flying cards, to hoverboards, automatic jacket driers and everything in between. However, while we might not live in the future Robert Zemeckis created, the expectations of hotel guests today are notably different. Concepts which would have seemed alien, even only a mere ten years ago, are now considered as standard, with technological evolution adding an unprecedented level of expectation to a guest’s stay.
With 2020 just around the corner, we take a look at some of the technology trends hotels should be adopting in order to deliver a superior experience that guests have come to expect today.
Self-sufficiency – the importance of convenience: Today’s tech-savvy, mobile-first travelers want the freedom to choose how and when they interact with your hotel, they want the ability to help themselves, to be self-sufficient. They expect their travel experiences to be free from the stress and inconveniences, and have a desire for self-service capabilities when it comes to their hotel stay – everything from checking in to checking out, gaining access to their room, booking reservations, keeping track of their expenses, ordering room service, contacting housekeeping, etc.
As a result, many hotels now employ various guest facing self service capabilities such as remote and onsite check-in and check-out, keyless entry, biometric fingerprint ID, mobile billing and making reservations, along with a host of other services.
Offering guests self-service options satisfies an expanded definition of customer service now grounded by the conveniences of the instant gratification economy.
Smart hotels – Creating a home away from home: Guests expect all the modern “smart” features they enjoy at home to also be available in guest rooms when they travel. Unsurprisingly, one of the most important comforts is the ability to access personal entertainment and music streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora – via great (free) WiFi and power. And thanks to the advances in smart technology, streaming to the in-room TV, adjusting the temperature, drawing the curtains, dimming the lights, ordering room service, even booking a massage or set a wakeup call, is something guests can control with the help of their mobile device – and is already a reality at many luxury hotels.
In-room controls are now the expected norm. Providing guests with the freedom of control over their environment has the power to elevate the guest room service and create a better guest experience.
Personalization defines the guest experience: It would be an understatement to say that personal interactions are important – they define the guest experience. Consumers today are not just more connected, but hyperconnected. Along with this hyper-connectivity, they shun the cookie-cutter approach and, instead, seek out those who can deliver unique authentic experiences. According to Frost & Sullivan, by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. This means that customers will, if not already, choose companies that offer them hyper-personalized and differentiated experiences.
The key to success is creating personalized experiences and delivering them in an authentic manner. And with the right hotel technology tools, hoteliers today can now do just that! If you get it right, not only will you provide a more personalized service elevating the overall customer service experience but studies show that a moderate improvement in customer experience (CX) would impact the revenue of a typical $1 billion company an average of $775 million over three years.
The guest of tomorrow is already here. Those hoteliers that understand consumer trends and best cater to the changing needs of the emerging and enlightened generations of guests will be best positioned to attract and retain guests in 2020 and into the future.