What shifts in guest behavior mean for hoteliers in the coming days.
The hospitality industry has been waiting, hoping, and working tirelessly to facilitate a return to pre-pandemic occupancy rates. According to STR and Tourism Economics Hotel, occupancy is expected to continue trending upward from the historic lows of 2020, averaging 63.4% for the year. But will the industry ever really return to “normal?” The answer is no–but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Travel has already rapidly increased over last year, and room reservations are projected to climb even more in the coming months. But the landscape of travel has changed dramatically, along with the conveniences and expectations guests have become accustomed to having. To keep those glowing reviews coming and also ensure guests return, hotels, resorts, and casinos should plan for the guest preferences and expectations of today’s travelers. Here are three places to start on how to meet new guest preferences:
1. Prepare for the Influx of Leisure Travel
Morning Consult’s State of Travel and Hospitality reports that 64% of U.S. adults say they have traveled within the past year, with younger and higher-income consumers leading the way. Americans were among the most eager to get back to traveling, with 50% already planning to take a leisure trip within the next six months (AHLA 2022 Report). We’ve written recently about the importance of personalization-focused loyalty programs so guests experience targeted marketing that makes them want to return to a property and even visit recommended sister properties. Leisure travel is not a one-time thing; if guests, especially younger guests, love their stay, they’ll be itching to come back.
2. Embrace the New Remote Business Travel
Due to the rise in remote work, fewer people are traveling for business but more people are working while traveling. Whether they are in town for vacation or they are a local remote-worker looking for a change of scenery, more travelers are taking their work on the move. That’s why many hotels now offer expanded office space options and amenities. Some hotels are renting out rooms as office spaces during work hours, or offering a remote-work package that includes a private office space for the guest to use. Offering amenities and special packages for “bleisure travelers” and remote workers can further increase bookings and guest satisfaction. Creating targeted promotions, like an evening spa treatment discount or a happy hour special, that are marketed through smart-room tablets or a mobile guest app encourage guests to take some R&R during their stay and increase revenue for the hotel.
3. Meet and Exceed Tech Expectations
During the pandemic, contactless options became a lifeline for many hospitality businesses to keep operations running while protecting guests and staff. Now, many of those technologies, like mobile check-in/check-out and mobile key, are the standard expectation for most hotel guests. The majority of travelers today are chronically online and expect to have the same convenience of accessing everything they need on their mobile devices. When it comes to looking for a dinner spot or local attraction, modern guests are used to scouring the internet for what they want. So why not offer them a “digital concierge” by laying out relevant local information in a hotel guest app? When it comes to service requests and, at the end of their stay, reviews, making a hotel guest app the one-stop-shop for everything a guest needs allows them maximum convenience while giving the property access to vital data about what their guests want from their stays.
Rising to meet the modern guest preferences starts with personalization during their stay that offers convenience and added value. Whether business or leisure travelers, young or old, making your physical space work for modern guests and providing digital touchpoints elevates their experience overall.
To learn more about hotel tech that can elevate your guest’s experience, start a conversation today.