5 Key Research Insights into 2020 Guest Expectations

According to two recent studies, consumers are expecting digital travel experiences in the wake of COVID-19. Find out exactly what they’re looking for.

What does a successful hospitality recovery look like? Well, no one fully knows yet. While expert predictions have been extremely valuable during the pandemic, they’ve largely been based on guesswork. Not anymore.

Thanks to two new surveys, spanning over 10,000 consumers, hoteliers can get a much clearer look at how guest expectations have truly changed—and spoiler alert, the new ideal for consumers is a guest experience transformed and streamlined by technology. Here are five key takeaways for hoteliers to consider:

1. 71% of consumers agree they would be more likely to stay in a hotel with self-service technologies that minimizes physical contact with staff.

This may be a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating: the overall goal of every hospitality strategy in 2020 is to reduce the risk of infection for guests and staff as much as possible. That’s on the mind of every consumer as they weigh whether or not they’re willing to plan a getaway. One of the best ways to sway them towards booking a stay is to equip them with mobile technology—accessible from their own devices—that eliminates unnecessary contact with others and powers a much safer stay.

2. 80% of respondents said they would download a hotel app that would allow them to check-in, check-out and get hotel information.

If you’re sensing a trend towards mobile and contactless, you’re on the right track. A mobile app enables much of the self-service, contactless functionality guests are looking for—the swiss-army knife of hospitality technology. The features that have gained the most popularity throughout the pandemic, from dining to check-in to guest-staff messaging, can all be housed in a mobile app. It’s the new MVP of guest experience.

3. 92% of consumers say they’d rather check in and out online or through an app—with only 8% preferring a kiosk.

While check-in kiosks have been marketed as digital check-in’s equal, guests aren’t convinced. Hoteliers shouldn’t be either. A kiosk may be more convenient than stopping by the front desk, but that’s not a guarantee, given lines can form. But more importantly, safety isn’t guaranteed either: unless a kiosk is cleaned between every guest, they’re touching the same screen someone else just used. Comparatively, checking in on a smartphone and heading straight to the room is an objectively better experience.

4. 35% of consumers say contactless payment options would make them feel more comfortable staying in a hotel.

Did you know credit cards are dirtier on average than urinal handles? Cash and coins are hardly better, and still dirtier than NYC subway poles. Even in normal times, those stats might gross a person out enough to never want to touch a physical payment again. These days, consumers are taking no chances. Eliminating the guest-staff exchange in favor of digital or in-app payments not only makes guests more comfortable to visit a property, but also to spend more while they’re there.

5. 47% of guests said they would be more likely to order in-room service or to go to the hotel restaurant if they could use a mobile app to place their order.

During the pandemic, food delivery apps and websites have experienced a massive boom—with nearly one quarter of U.S. adults ordering weekly in 2020. This is where hoteliers can take a lesson from their restaurateur counterparts and shift to digital if they want dining to become profitable again. Digital menus and mobile ordering can transform not just in-room dining, but also make guests more comfortable visiting your property’s restaurant as well.

Investing in technology during the most significant financial downturn since the Great Recession may seem counterintuitive, but these stats say it all. Properties and brands looking for an edge over the competition should look to technology that puts guests in the driver’s seat, letting them control their stay and service. Their reward? Increased satisfaction, bookings, and revenue.

Find out how your property can meet changing guest expectations by implementing tools that increase convenience and minimize contact post-pandemic. See mobile hospitality technology in action, including a mobile app, mobile check-in, mobile key, and more in a demo of the award-winning INTELITY platform.

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Sources:
A Data-Driven Look at Hospitality’s Recovery, Skift Research and Oracle Hospitality, 2020.
Hotel Guest Expectations in 2020, Criton Hospitality, 2020.
Dirty Money: New Research Reveals the Filthiness of Our Cash, Cards, & Coins, LendEDU, 2019.
More Americans Are Ordering Food Delivery Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Axios, 2020.

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