Guests are willing to share personal information for something in return

(Business travelers want free Wi-Fi)

Most hotel guests are willing to share personal and location information in exchange for tailored promotions, coupons, priority service or loyalty points, according to a new study. 

The Zebra Hospitality Vision Study, conducted by Zebra Technologies, analyzes the hotel/resort industry and trends in travelers' preferences and technology requirements that affect their overall satisfaction.

The guest need for fast Wi-Fi, guest assistants and loyalty rewards have prompted the hospitality industry to invest in technology to enhance the guest experience. These technologies include smartphone check-in, location-based offers and services and digitally-enabled loyalty programs.

The study also found that 77 percent of hotels and resorts are expanding their Wi-Fi coverage to allow for staff mobile computers and expanded locations services. Sixty-eight percent of guests want to use their smartphone during the check-in process to speed things up. 

Approximately 66 percent of guests report that they have better experience when hotel associates use the latest technology. 

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of guests appreciate hotels that customize messaging and offers, and 75 percent are willing to share personal information, such as gender, age and email address, in exchange for tailored promotions, coupons, priority service or loyalty points.

But not all guests are loyal — earlier this year, a report from PwC U.S. found that millennials bucked expectations by holding similar loyalty allegiances to other demographics, with travelers aged 30 and older having on average 3.6 loyalty memberships compared to the millennial average of 3.0. Millennial business travelers, however, have on average 3.4 loyalty memberships, which is more than expected yet fewer than the 30+ crowd, which averaged 3.9 for business travel and 3.2 for leisure.

Millennial leisure travelers are members of even fewer loyalty programs, just 2.3 on average. The report chalks this up to millennials' interest in the sharing economy and their young age, accounting for fewer overall hours spent traveling compared to those over 30 years of age.

Location Technologies

To create highly customized offers and perks, 74 percent of hotels and resorts are implementing location-based technologies within the next year – prioritizing guest recognition and analytics, geo-targeted mobile offers and special promotions and upgrades. Guests are less comfortable sharing their location than their personal information, though attitudes differ among generations. Thirty-four percent of millennials are comfortable sharing their current location compared to 13 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds.

“To continue to attract and delight guests, hotels and resorts are making significant technology investments to enhance hotel services,” said Jeff Schmitz, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Zebra Technologies. “This includes enabling guests – 92 percent of whom carry a smartphone – to use their smartphones to do everything from ordering food to receiving text alerts on room readiness and possible upgrades. Although the impact of technology varies by market, digital disruption is changing the way hotels and guests interact in every region.”

Regional findings from the study show that guest recognition is the top driver for location technologies in North America where travelers are least concerned about sharing their location and social media profiles and most willing to use self-service technology. 

Hotels and resorts in Latin America are moving fastest to implement location-based technologies where guests also have the highest expectations for receiving personal attention from hotel/resort assistants.