Did you know that for 25% of travelers it takes just one bad experience to swear off a hotel brand and find an alternative? Guests have high expectations – and they continue to rise. When hotels get the guest experience right, their guests should hardly notice, but boy, when hotels get it wrong, guests can become hyper-aware of gaps in their experience and share it with family, friends and all over review sites.
So, how do you work to prevent this from happening? There’s probably no one way – mistakes do happen, as do unreasonable customers. A recent article featured on Hotel Technology News highlighted three such way hotels can get the guest experience wrong – and how to make it right! Here’s our take.
Not personalizing the guest experience.
Personalisation is one of the key buzzwords that features in the hospitality industry. Hotel guests want to be recognized, throughout their stay, as individuals with unique tastes. However, according to a Deloitte guest experience survey, only 65% of guests feel that a hotel truly knows them.
While it used to be hard to personalize the guest experience, the abundance of information that guests share both directly and indirectly with hotels has made it easier than ever to learn what a guest’s preferences are. Not only that but advancements in hotel technology means hoteliers have the tools needed to deliver personalized hotel stays.
Astute hoteliers who utilize this data to anticipate guest needs, to personalize their experience will not only have more happy customers but more money in the bank. Revinate found that personalization can deliver five to eight times the return on investment; stay frequency can increase by 13%; Qubit found that brands that create personalized experiences by integrating data and advanced technologies are currently achieving revenue increases of between 6% and 10% and on top of that, acquisition costs can be reduced by as much as 50%!
They don’t streamline operations
These days, guests like to get where they’re going fast. They are time poor, increasingly connected and evermore digital; they want things streamlined. A study by Oracle Hospitality has revealed that guests want innovative technology that enables them to quickly and easily get the service or information they desire; they want features that are integral to their hotel experience, such as enabling virtual check in/check out (68% of guests even want to avoid the front desk entirely, using their smartphones instead of check-in), keyless room access, and booking of activities and ticket purchasing – among other things.
Hoteliers who leverage the right technology to streamline their operations can easily meet their customer requests and ensure that service is delivered quickly and efficiently. Newer cloud-based systems can make a hotelier’s life much easier; they are agile and business enhancing – not only do guests receive a faster service (and are happier as a result) but they allow hoteliers to focus on some of those non-tangible and human elements that make the guest experience better and more personal.
“Technology can address the industry’s dual challenge of operating efficiently at scale and simultaneously providing individualized service.” Jay Upchurch, Vice President, Oracle Hospitality.
They don’t provide on-demand communication and service
As a result of the proliferation of mobile devices, nowadays, customers have the freedom to choose how they prefer to interact with your hotel. From research and booking to checking in and ordering services while on the property, mobile devices are becoming the preferred method of engagement for most travelers. Alas though, for the majority of hotels, the process of interacting and communicating with guests has remained unaltered for decades.
But, when communicating with brands, 54% of US social media users say they prefer messaging platforms to email, phone, and online chat. Messaging platforms are fast becoming the new way for businesses to interact with customers – Much of this comes down to ubiquity. Millions of people use chat apps on a daily basis to communicate in real time with their friends, family, and colleagues. Questions can be answered in a matter of seconds, with news communicated at the click of a button. By extension, this familiarity makes them a preferred way to communicate with their favorite brands and businesses. Including hotels.
The real-time, immediate and personal nature of messaging is part of what makes it such a compelling engagement channel for hotels. It is well suited to guest engagement. It’s conversational, much like the traditional interaction between guests and staff. And it has clear advantages for hotels looking to engage with their guests. The hotel has a clear record of each interaction with each client; it can help improve guest satisfaction and loyalty, by giving hotels the opportunity to take advantage of every request, suggestion, concern or compliment from guests that may have otherwise gone unnoticed and it can help hotels improve revenue by actively communicating with guest throughout their journey.
Each hotel is unique and different and there is no one cookie cutter solution for providing the perfect guest experience. But an artful combination of human and artificial intelligence can help create authentic, personalized experience that will exceed expectations and keep guests coming back for more.