A majority (81 percent) of consumers would like to receive local experience and hotel upgrade recommendations from their hotels, according to new research. The “Hotels’ Digital Divide” report, commissioned by Alice and conducted by third-party research firm YouGov, highlights the shifting expectations of modern hotel guests, as well as travelers’ technology preferences and the role that technology plays in providing more personalized travel experiences.
Of the guests that want to receive recommendations from their hotels, according to the survey, 27 percent want dining recommendations for nearby restaurants, and 21 percent want to receive experience or room/service upgrade recommendations.
Travelers are most interested in experiences such as:
- Food tastings/food tours of local cuisine (40 percent).
- Guided tours of the town they are visiting (36 percent).
- A learning center to learn more about the culture/life of the city they are visiting (33 percent).
- Spirit/wine/beer tours of local distilleries/wineries/breweries (27 percent).
Not all guests are interested in the latest emerging technologies—more than half of consumers (56 percent) said they did not want to interact with robots during their stay, but 52 percent did express interest in touring hotels in augmented reality or virtual reality.
Consumers also conveyed a demand for improved in-room technology, and the research found that this was a leading priority for modern guests. They are willing to give up other amenities in exchange for it, such as:
- A business center (34 percent).
- A fitness center (27 percent).
- A spa (24 percent).
- Roomservice (15 percent).
- Fresh towels delivered daily (11 percent).
- Later check-out times (11 percent).
Matching Home Life
In addition, 43 percent of survey respondents who want hotels to better match their home life list in-room technology to integrate with their personal devices among their top three wishes.
The research found that among those who want to use either their personal or a hotel-provided smart device:
- For in-room technology: 69 percent want to use hotel-provided smart devices.
- To order roomservice and housekeeping: 63 percent want to do so from a hotel-provided smart device and 37 percent want to use their personal devices.
- To make reservations for dining/spa: 41 percent want to do so on hotel-provided smart devices and 59 percent want to use their personal devices.
- For check-in and check-out: 40 percen) want to use hotel-provided smart devices and 60 percent want to use their personal devices.
While guests are seeking new and unique experiences during their travels, the research also revealed that consumers seek lodging experiences that feature a level of comfort that’s close to their home lives—from additional blankets in-room to the ability to select bedding and more.
Top amenities of interest to those looking for a “more like home” experience include:
- A better Wi-Fi connection than currently offered (59 percent).
- Their preferred coffee/tea selection in-room (38 percent).
- Their preferred toiletries in-room (33 percent).
- A white-noise machine (20 percent).
- An option to select their room’s layout (18 percent).
- A selection of books to read at their leisure (16 percent).
“The digital revolution is at the forefront of the hotel industry—but not all guests need to be wowed by the latest and greatest technology like robots at the front desk,” Alice co-founder/President Alex Shashou said in a statement. “Hotels should focus on providing both technologies and recommendations that can be used to elevate their staff’s ability to provide hospitality—not replace it. When designing optimal guest experiences, hoteliers must find balance between providing new, unique experiences coupled with the feeling of a home away from home. Above all, hotels must center their services around choice.”
Alice commissioned YouGov, a third-party research and consulting organization, to poll the views of 1,207 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between Jan. 3-4. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+). The full report is available here.