Hospitality customer engagement technology could help innovate guest experience and revitalize loyalty programs.
Improving guest engagement and experience is taking center stage on the list of priorities for the hospitality industry as reports emerge showing that guest expectations have rapidly evolved over the past few years.
An increase in guest engagement can indicate an increase in hotel revenue. Reports show the average spent by an actively disengaged guest during a stay is $403, much less than the average total spent during a stay by a fully engaged guest ($588).
A guest’s perceived level of engagement can also be a strong indicator of their perception of a hotel or brand, as well as their behavior during a stay. About 80 percent of guests who feel that a hotel cares for their well-being are “fully engaged” brand ambassadors who actively support the brand. And both business and leisure travelers are reported to be willing to spend more to stay with a brand or hotel they have a preference for.
The $185 difference between what an engaged and a disengaged guest spend during a stay shows how much hospitality stands to lose simply by not actively engaging guests throughout a stay.
The $185 difference between what an engaged and a disengaged guest spend during a stay shows how much hospitality stands to lose simply by not actively engaging guests throughout a stay. Unfortunately, only 22 percent of guests report feeling engaged by the hotel they stay with most often. And about two-thirds of leisure travelers and half of business travelers say they aren’t loyal to any one hotel brand.
“A lot of people are saying brand loyalty is dead, that there are no true advocates,” said Sergio Iacobucci, Qubit senior associate strategist. “In my view, that’s not the case, it’s just a lot of companies have given up giving true customer experience. But the cost of providing that just goes into other areas of marketing such as reacquiring customers.”
With such potential revenue-related benefits tied to improving guest experience and engagement, hospitality management must constantly assess set standards and consider adopting new ones.
Many have begun to turn to guest or customer engagement technologies (CETs) in order to tackle the monumental task of managing the relationship with today’s guests. These can make it much easier for hotel management and staff to track interaction with guests throughout the entire travel journey, from booking to after checking out.
According to a recent report, 71 percent of hotel and restaurant executives said they were adopting customer engagement technology to enhance customer experience and satisfaction. And while all hoteliers and hospitality executives report using social media to improve guest engagement, a much smaller number make use of more intuitive customer engagement technology tools for improving the relationship with guests. According to a study by Hospitality Technology, these tools include:
- Mobile check-in (23.3 percent, with 38.3 percent planning to implement within 1 year)
- Tablet/iPad for check-in (15 percent, with 46.7 percent planning to implement within 1 year)
- Location-based technology (18.3 percent, with 40 percent planning to implement within 1 year)
- Room control devices (8.3 percent, with 25 percent planning to implement within 1 year)
- Mobile wallet (6.8 percent, with 39 percent planning to implement within 1 year)
- Smartphones as room keys (5 percent, with 31.7 percent planning to implement within 1 year)
The dramatic increase in implementation of such hospitality customer engagement technology is largely due to increased travel by Millennials, who now comprise the largest portion of the global workforce. Millennial travelers, and the broader segment of travelers who exhibit the Millennial mentality, are accustomed to brand interactions driven through technology, and they expect a level of innovation in the hotel experience as well.
It’s now obvious that improving guest engagement in hotels is aligned with the ability to increase hotel revenue. By incorporating new hospitality technology, like a hotel mobile app or in-room tablets that innovate the guest experience, the global hospitality industry will continue seeing incredible levels of growth into the future.