New survey gives insights into guest expectations for technology

In today’s digital age, hoteliers are forfeiting opportunities – and potentially revenue – by failing to offer guests the individualized experiences they are increasingly demanding, according to the results of a survey of hoteliers and consumers just published by Oracle Hospitality and Phocuswright.

Oracle commissioned Phocuswright to conduct “Creating the Coveted Hotel Guest Experience,” which polled more than 2,700 U.S. and European travelers, to better understand technology’s impact on the hotel-guest experience and gain insight into making it a differentiator for winning new business. The study also weaves in the perspective of hoteliers, both chains and independents, to shed light on their technological pursuits and gauge alignment with consumers’ expectations.

According to the research, hoteliers have intensified efforts by improving websites, launching apps and engaging on social media. And while hotels will always face competition throughout the customer’s journey, the researchers contend that once travelers arrive in the lobby, they’re a captive audience—and that’s where hotels should make a bold statement with technology.

Highlights from the research include the following findings:

  • Technology already is an inherent and invaluable element of the entire travel lifecycle, ranging from travelers using an array of devices to book hotels to connecting to WiFi upon arrival. Their reliance upon it is evident, and they want more: 64 percent of U.S. hotel guests said it is “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience.
  • Hoteliers want to deliver personal experiences, but are struggling with obtaining guest information that would enable them to do so. The foremost question: At what point do such efforts infringe upon privacy? Though an answer remains elusive, it is clear that new opportunities exist for technology to customize offerings without necessarily requiring more guest data. For example, 45 percent of hotel guests want the capability to select specific room locations, while 94 percent of business travelers and 80 percent of leisure travelers expressed interest in using smartphones to request service and message hotel staff.
  • Exceptional hotel experiences are important not just to keep guests happy during their stay, but to influence their behavior post-stay. Commentary on social media is now the norm and bound to rise, especially with millennials accounting for a greater share of travel activity. Millennials (ages 18-34) recount their hotel experience on social media (33 percent) far more than older travelers (26 percent).
  • Hoteliers need to take a larger role in providing information that shapes both the on- and off-premises guest experience. More than 60 percent of guests rely on non-hotel sources for in-destination queries, such as recommendations for activities and restaurant reservations, but hoteliers can leverage technology to provide the same information while driving guest engagement.