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4 Insights on Millennial Travel Behavior and How Your Brand Can Benefit

  • Millenials
  • Guest Experience
  • Hotel News Resource

    Reimagining Hospitality Classics to Adapt to Changing Guest Demands

    • Self-Service
    • Legacy
    • Keyless
    In this digital age, few human experiences have resisted the influence of emerging technology. With each passing year, we witness the progressive evolution of capabilities and enhancements that, in many respects, change how we interact with the world. In the hospitality industry, hoteliers know they need to keep a pulse on emerging trends to avoid disappointing guests and falling behind competitors. Across all aspects of the guest journey, hoteliers are enhancing the modern experience by shifting away from legacy technology and antiquated models to embrace a new, tech-savvy, and guest-centric approach. While some traditional elements of the hotel stay will always remain, industry leaders around the globe are pro-actively reimagining hospitality classics to drive revenue, reduce costs, and enhance service. 
 
 A Front-Desk Experience For Every Type of Traveler
 
 Travelers today crave personalization and convenience across every touch-point of their stay. Of course, each traveler is unique, and what represents a positive, personalized experience to one guest, may look entirely different for another guest. With this in mind, it’s never been more imperative for hotels to implement an operational infrastructure that caters to both a high-touch and a low-touch service model, allowing guests to choose their preferred experience model. If a property skews too far into a tech-dominated model, they risk losing out on those guests who crave a more traditional experience. On the other hand, if they resist the implementation of new-age technology that drives convenience, they risk deterring those modern travelers who expect enhanced, seamless convenience. 
 
 According to recent surveys, more than 85% of consumers have used a self-service kiosk and, given a choice, consumers are more likely to tap self-service technology versus employee-led options. As such, hoteliers are leveraging the latest advanced platforms which enable them to offer streamlined, mobile check-in/out, as well as self-service kiosks. By providing a self-service option, those guests who value a fast, convenient check-in/out process will have complete autonomy over their experience. On the contrary, those guests who prefer the in-person, high-touch experience will be rewarded with more attentive service at the front desk, without the deterrent of long lines. Further, hotel staff is then able to move around freely, empowered by a mobile, flexible platform, interacting more genuinely with guests, and offering a more responsive experience. Keyless Entry, Virtual Concierges and Smart Rooms of the Future
 
 Hotel rooms of today — and those which we can expect to see in the future — are far more than just a place to lay one’s head. Modern hotels are tasked with the responsibility of providing all the comforts of a guests’ home, enhanced by luxury and added conveniences. Convenience represents the primary theme, as guests expect an experience uninterrupted by setbacks or pain points. As countless hotels around the globe invest in the creation of native apps for their property, it comes as no surprise that keyless entry is a trend currently sweeping the industry. In the past, guests frequently had their on-property experience interrupted due to misplaced or malfunctioning keys, and the initial wait for key programming at the front desk. Today, this ceases to be a concern, as guests can gain access to their room via their handheld device.
 
 Of course, the evolution of the classic hotel room doesn’t begin and end with keyless entry. Rather, it’s only the beginning. As voice-powered assistants and smart devices become increasingly popular and mainstream, hoteliers are implementing similar devices and capabilities as in-room features or upgrades. Rather than a handful of cable channels, guests can expect complimentary Netflix of Crave TV. Room preferences such as temperature, lighting, and more can be pre-set and adjusted from mobile devices or in-room iPads, and wake-up calls can be set via an in-room Google Mini. Rather than sifting through an over-priced assortment of goods in a mini-bar, guests can even pour themselves a glass of red or white wine, by the glass and on-demand. Many hotels are also investing in AI-powered guest service in the form of mobile virtual concierges and chatbots. As it relates to the smart room and smart hotel of the future, this is only the beginning — but it’s an exciting direction.
 
 Visualizing Amenities for In-Room, On-Demand Beverage Service and More
 
 As we’ve alluded to before, hotel mini-bars (at least as we’ve always known them) seem to be on their way out. While guests still crave the instant gratification which mini-bars, in theory, provide, their antiquated structure is ultimately too problematic and costly to resist evolution. Moving away from that legacy model, hoteliers are seeking out ways to virtualize amenities for an in-room experience that is still convenient and immediate, but is less labor-intensive and provides an enhanced sense of luxury for each guest. This is where in-room, on-demand wine comes in, a sleek new appliance that offers guests the ability to pour a glass of featured red or white wine, whenever they please. 
 
 Considering over 60% of hotel executives believe the quality of a guest’s experience will significantly improve through enhanced in-room service and 70% of guests want to use technology to elevate their overall experience, this shift comes as no surprise. Rather than limiting revenue potential and consuming resources with laborious features such as mini-bars and room service, hotels are adopting in-room wine, app-based food delivery, on-property grab-and-go dining, and more. Not only are these modern formats more cost-effective, but they also drive more revenue and cater to a more personalized, modern, and guest-centric experience that leaves a positive impression on guests. For example, Four Seasons developed a 'fast delivery' program. Soon the program amounted to about 20% of the brand's room service business and went beyond the business traveler to cater to all discerning guests. Further, Plum in-room wine boasts capture rates as high as 20%, a far cry from the 1% capture rate of wine offered in traditional mini-bars. 
 
 The predominant theme of 2019 and beyond is quite simple: out with the old, in with the new. As the examples above show, technology is a powerful tool in responding to guest needs. As new technologies emerge, hotels of all sizes can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. Those that put guest needs first are in a position to win. Adam Hoydysh is Vice President of Hotel Sales for Plum. He has more than 20 years of B2B technology and hospitality sales and management experience at F5000 corporations and start-ups. Prior to joining Plum, Adam was Director of Sales for Juniper Networks, driving sales and sales training efforts for Juniper's advanced technology portfolio of security products. Previous to its acquisition by Juniper Networks for $80 million in 2012, Adam was Director of Sales for Mykonos Software, the leading provider of intrusion deception security for Layer 7. Mykonos was the winner of Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Information Security. Adam started his career in hospitality at Vail Resorts, the premier mountain resort company and leader in luxury travel. Plum reimagines every aspect of the wine by the glass experience. The world's first appliance that can serve a glass of wine just as the winemaker intended, Plum allows hoteliers to satisfy the moments that inspire guests to enjoy a glass of wine in the hotel's room product. Plum delivers an unforgettable experience - and profits - in extraordinary style, one glass at a time. To learn more visit www.plum.wine.

    How technology is affecting old hotel classics?

    04:44
  • Trivago Business Blog

    What’s Motivating Guest Loyalty for Hotels Today?

    • Loyalty
    • Guest Experience
    An article published in Harvard Business Review, while conceding variation across different industries, pointed out that “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.” Research done by net-promoter-score inventor Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. PwC in turn found that guests are on average willing to spend an extra $25 on their preferred hotel brand. Furthermore, these guests drive ancillary revenue by regularly indulging in their favorite services, and they contribute to positive word-of-mouth awareness as brand ambassadors. The good news is that the actions taken to increase guest loyalty and inspire repeat bookings can also work to attract, convince, and delight first-time guests as well. And every first-time guest may be seen as a potential loyal hotel guest. PcW’s illuminating 2016 study “What’s driving customer loyalty for today’s hotel brands?,” conducted as part of their Consumer Intelligence Series, found that both business and leisure travelers cite room quality as their number one reason for choosing a hotel. But beyond quality rooms, which may seem the most fundamentally basic of guest expectations, what can hotels offer travelers to encourage their loyalty? We’ve identified 10 key things to keep in mind when developing a strategy to foster guest loyalty. Here’s what helps — and what harms — in the quest to create a hotel experience that has guests booking . . .  and rebooking. A hotel’s first chance to lay the groundwork for a loyalty-driving guest experience is, unsurprisingly, the first touchpoint the traveler has with the hotel. Increasingly, this touchpoint is the hotel’s profile on a metasearch site. By owning and optimizing the content and rates contained in this profile, hotels can make the sort of impactful first impression that can turn into consideration, then conversion, and then ultimately, loyalty. If a hotel’s booking process is slow, difficult, and demanding, it creates a painful experience that travelers may not even complete once, let alone want to repeat. If, on the other hand, the booking process is quick and intuitive the first time, it will be that much quicker and more intuitive the second (and third, fourth, etc.) time around. And if the personal information is (securely) saved so that it only needs to be entered once? Even better. trivago Express Booking helps hotels offer this super-simple, loyalty-encouraging booking experience. Discounts on direct bookings (where possible) are a good start to attracting and converting guests who not only are loyal to a hotel, but faithfully book through its direct booking funnels as well. But they’re just that — the start of what hotels can offer loyal guests who book direct. Every imaginative perk, from locally sourced gift baskets to free bike rentals, improves a hotel’s chances of converting a looker not just into a booker, but a book-again booker. To understand what incentives to offer, a hotel can look to data on their core audience. To promote their hotel’s direct booking funnel with the official website rate directly on trivago, hoteliers can run a campaign with Rate Connect. Millennial engagement with loyalty programs is similar to that of leisure travelers, though millennials and vacationers want different rewards than business travelers. It’s about targeting a hotel’s core audience and diversifying rewards. From a warm personal welcome email to a courteous check-in, concierge services and recommendations (whether from a real person or an AI program), and small in-room gifts, the small personal touches that enhance the guest experience can go a long way toward fostering loyalty. Hotels can stay in touch with past guests, keep their stay fresh in their minds, and offer enticing incentives to encourage them to visit again, all through calculated emailing marketing campaigns that use messaging and timing to turn previous guests into recurring guests. Improved marketing efficiency, streamlined operations, and facilitated inter-staff communication all enable the hotelier to focus on the quality of the guest experience and invest in building lasting relationships with their customers. To this end, hotels can run optimized CPC marketing campaigns with automated bidding platforms and save time (and money!) with cloud-based property management technology. We previously outlined loyalty program pitfalls to avoid in a past article, but here are a few more faux pas that also apply, independent of any rewards programs: The reality of the hotel stay didn’t match up with the image painted online? This not only kills loyalty, it also can impact the hotel’s online reputation and thereby jeopardize its ability to attract new customers. Running a hotel shouldn’t get in the way of providing stellar hospitality; when it does, the guests recognize they aren’t the hotel’s first priority. And they likely won’t come back. While it may be futile to question which guests are most valuable, it would certainly not be futile to work toward fostering a strong loyal base of repeat guests. And when every guest is given the attention and personalization afforded longtime guests, a hotel’s circle of high-value loyal guests can only grow.

    We all know that that hotel guest loyalty is important that it is much easier to sell to an existing client that a ...

    03:30
  • Mint Business Travel

    How Technology is affecting business travellers

    • Trust
    • Trends
    • Mobile
    Every aspect of travel is experiencing upheaval, and media coverage often focuses on the sensational. This inevitably handles the travel experience (think robot butlers) or revolutionary new operating models (think sharing economy). But for the industry itself, the quiet revolution continues to be in research and purchase. For many traditional travel businesses ecommerce began as an easy way to offload unfilled inventory. Global distribution systems (GDSs) brought about ecommerce and opened a whole new sales channel for travel vendors. All this led to the idea that developments in technology were about efficiency. Which they are – tech has shaken up operations and economic models. But it’s also drastically changing the way consumer’s research and book travel. Just as technology changes customer expectations, so must it adapt to those changes. This feedback loop between developments and expectations is a common theme in the travel industry – particularly in the research and purchase experience, where travellers depend heavily on technology to accomplish their goals. That tech is placing more power in the hands of consumers. And it’s providing businesses with ways to add value to the customer’s experience; suppliers that respond to this rather than purely focusing on operational savings can win consumers by not only making the booking journey easier, but also by helping and inspiring them. In this eBook we’ll look at how technology is continuing to change how consumer’s research and purchase travel, from fundamental changes in the customer journey to developments at the forefront of computing. Though most of us intuitively understand that mobile has revolutionized travel booking, Google’s concept of micro-moments is particularly useful in formalizing the notion. Google estimates that the average person’s daily mobile activity adds up to around 150 separate sessions, each lasting just 1 minute 10 seconds. This mobile media consumption creates a huge number of touch points where consumers are dreaming, wondering, speculating, researching, comparing, deciding and booking. Before the turn of the century, a traveller’s booking journey might have started with a flick through a newspaper travel supplement – maybe a thumb through a guidebook or a look at teletext pages for the really self-sufficient. The crucial moment of purchase meant either a trip to a high-street travel agent or a phone call. It would be a stretch to say that this journey was simple or predictable, but it seems positively straightforward compared with the endless stream of micro-moments and impulsive search activity that characterise today’s booking journey. For this is the fundamental change that mobile has brought about: mobile has made information constantly available, and instantaneity has come to define consumers’ research activity – mobile searches surpassed desktop in 2015 and have continued to grow and Googles research reports that 60% of searches are now from mobile devices. The advantages of mobile are most often convenience-related. Airline apps already provide a well-established booking-to-boarding experience with mobile boarding passes, which make the once-novel convenience of printing your own at home seem like a hassle. The digital wallet is another innovation that plays on the convenience of mobile. Airline apps appeal because they allow travellers to research flights, compare times and prices, book and get their boarding pass all in a single place – no keeping track of emails or losing bits of paper. Research shows ‘convenience as the leading factor in consumer adoption of mobile payments’. Though initial uptake of digital wallets has been slow, improvements in security and user experience are likely to see the technology grow – and it’s not restricted to payments. The ability to ‘tokenize’ all kinds of data means that digital wallets could truly live up to their names – as a repository for both currency and ID. Token-based experiences using biometric data are already spreading in the travel world. Though we are a little way off digitised passports, it’s not hard to imagine the appeal of apps and services that integrate search, booking, payment, tickets and ID all in one fully digital platform. And as the huge surge in use following demonetisation in India showed, digital wallets can also be a reliable alternative for payment in an uncertain world. Significantly, despite this the mobile wallet market is still dominated by the EMEA region, with over a third of the total market revenue and major growth predicted. Bottom line: digital wallets haven’t exactly caused shock waves yet, but they have plenty of applications in the travel industry. Almost half the world’s population uses messaging services. Text-based messaging is a fundamental part of everyday life for hundreds of millions, so it’s a natural booking channel. The hospitality industry has been using services such as WhatsApp and plain old SMS to allow guests to make requests and bookings as a convenient replacement for phone calls, but travel companies are also working to combine the search and booking phases into a single experience using messaging services and artificial intelligence (AI). Technology is closing the gap between personal and virtual. Virtual reality (VR) is the obvious example, but even well-established digital innovations continue to reshape the way travellers make their decisions. Online brand marketing and reviews are vital to trust. Nielsen research has shown online consumer opinions to be the third most trusted advertising format among consumers – 66% trust online reviews, behind only recommendations from family and friends (83%) and branded websites (70%).

    We all know that technology is affecting the operational economic models in travel; however, how has technology ...

    02:27
  • Hotelnewsresource

    5 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Make Guest Experience Your Hotel's Niche

    • Guest Experience
    • Hotels
    “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” - Jeff Bezos I’m a hotel guest experience junkie (enthusiast, if you will). And I can guarantee you that those who know me well, will nod wildly- for different reasons. Some of them will agree because they’ve seen me fight for my right as a customer, one too many times. And the rest, because they’ve spent countless hours listening to me talk about how important it is to be customer-obsessed, in this day and age! Bottomline is- I am passionately and unapologetically committed to this revolution called guest experience management. And as a hotelier, you should be too. You should embrace it so hard, that it becomes synonymous with your brand, aka your niche. Some of the most successful brands in the world credit their success to their customer-centric culture.  In the hospitality space, enhancing guest experience is more important now than it ever has been in the past. Now, because we at Hotelogix strongly believe in the mantra of  “What is measured, is managed”, we thought it is best if we took a stat-based approach in this blog- to show you just how compelling the case is. Here you go- 5 tips with relevant stats that will push you to make guest experience your niche. That’s right! Treating your hotel guests, the way they should be, can actually bring in more business for you. Because that’s the one thing people look forward to! And for hotels, this starts even before the check-in happens! Right from the moment they start their search for a hotel, you should stand out for them. Their engagement with you should be consistent across all touchpoints- be it in the discovery phase, at the booking phase, pre-arrival, while checking-in, through their stay, at check-out and post departure. You cannot promise them the stars in your description online and then give them anything less during the other phases. Be modest in your approach- that’s ok, but be genuine with your service. Genuine service will always translate into more satisfaction. Or if you think elaborate & personalized hotel guest experience is your thing, then go ahead and blow their minds off with it. Point is, to do it consistently throughout their journey with you. Because, like we saw- if it feels right, they will give you their business. This is golden. With the amount of information (and power) available to the new-age guest, no hotel can afford to lag in their services. In fact, offering a guest experience that is superior to what your competition offers is one of the easiest ways to improve your hotel’s reputation- online or offline. This stat shows that customers, or in the case of the hospitality industry- guests, are more tolerant if the problem they face is product-related or price-related. These are negotiable. But their impatience to deal with service-related issues is steadily on the rise. Not only will shoddy service result in loss of business for you, it will also tarnish your image. You’ll then have to start thinking of ways to handle your Hotel reputation management. And it keeps getting worse from there on. The smart way to go about it all is to offer impeccable guest service, which will only ensure that your competition doesn’t steal your guest. If we were to go by this stat, there is absolutely no reason for you to not want to make guest experience your niche! Look at it! People don’t mind shelling out more money if they know they are in safe hands. This stat is most applicable to the hotel and airline industries. Can you imagine how much you stand to gain if you could offer your guest a “guaranteed good experience”? This is your cue to redefine your hotel’s guest experience strategy. Upsell, Cross-sell or just give your guests a premium experience throughout. And make sure your staff is aligned to this too, so they can convince potential customers to upgrade to a better (more expensive) room. But the crux of it all still lies in delivering a great experience. Omni-channel guest engagement has become so important in this day and age that if you aren’t present everywhere, you are sure to lose out on business. A strong online presence is non-negotiable now, given how rapidly mobile is taking over the world. Not only does this mean that you need to have a superb online marketing strategy, it also means that you should engage with your customers (potential ones, included) across all online channels - OTAs, social media, review sites, your own website. Be proactive in your engagement in order to stay relevant. Even in areas of business that aren’t guest-facing, mobile is a great idea. Like investing in a hotel PMS with a mobile app. It helps you stay on top of things, no matter where you are! We’ve told you what you stand to gain by taking your guest experience up a few notches. But here’s the deal- you will be penalized for bad service- and it will cost you a bomb. Hotel Reputation Management is heavily invested in these days and no hotel would knowingly wish to ruin their reputation. Let’s consider the first stat here: a massive chunk of unhappy guests will not complain about the bad experience and most of them will never return to you. The stakes are just too high for hotels in such cases. This is why being proactive in guest feedback management is mandatory, so you get to know what they thought about their experience with you. Enhancing guest experience is one thing, but constantly trying to work on guest feedback is another. Both together ensure holistic guest experience management. The second stat brings to light the absolute power of guest reviews. A guest who has had an unpleasant stay with you is sure to tell anywhere between 9 & 15 people about the experience. And if it were me, I would never go to a hotel where someone I know has had a bad experience. I’d rather take my business to a place that has good ratings, even if the ratings are given by strangers! This is the damage negative reviews bring along. For every single person that is unhappy with your hotel’s guest experience, you stand the chance of losing up to 20 potential guests. The business implications of this is staggering. No hotel can afford these odds. But with the right approach, you can turn tables around and make sure that every customer creates customers by word-of-mouth marketing. By ensuring that your hotel’s guest experience management strategy is best-in-class, you are sure to reap the benefits of positive reviews and customer loyalty. Do you see how making guest experience your niche correlates to long-term success? We’d love to share with you other ways in which our product can help you up your game when it comes to hotel guest experience and hotel reputation management.  Feel free to reach out to us if you want to know more! Divya Bhat is a content strategist and writer with over a decade's experience in journalism and marketing. Apart from working with some of India's leading media houses, she has also worked as a French language translator. An avid Customer Experience enthusiast, she is also passionate about the Travel & Hospitality industry. You can reach out to her at divya.bhat@hotelogix.com

    As a hotelier, the hotel guest experience is extremely important; however, what are the relevant metrics you should ...

    03:03
  • Hotelogix

    10 Trends that are reshaping Hotel Guest Experience

    • Trends
    • AR
    • Bots
    What guests expect from a hotel always changes. Gone are the days of cookie-cutter hotel guest experiences — now, it’s all about a one-of-a-kind lodging with both charm and a wealth of tech amenities that make each visit seamless. Today’s hotels are responding accordingly, too — here are 10 of the biggest trends and how they can help enhance hotel guest experience. Once upon a time, when hotel guests needed suggestions for dinner or entertainment, they walked downstairs and spoke one-on-one with the concierge. Now, though, the internet provides us with the same information, as well as customer reviews, virtual menus, reservation-making apps, etc. Still, a guest searching for ideas on their own does little to put a personal touch on their stay with a hotel. So, the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas — among others, including Hilton — have used artificial intelligence to get the best of both worlds. For instance, at Cosmopolitan, guests can text and chat with Rose, the hotel’s AI-based concierge. She makes restaurant suggestions and can tell guests where they’ll get a great cocktail. She even leads them on art tours through the hotel, plays games with them, sends room service and more. There’s only so much a photo gallery can show us before we decide to book a hotel room. That’s why some accommodations have begun outfitting their website with augmented or virtual reality tours for guests who want to explore the rooms and amenities before they reserve. To that end, those renting spaces within a hotel for, say, a business conference or a wedding, can get a better feel for what they’re getting, too. We’ve grown accustomed to using smart tech at home — from apps to tablets to voice-activated devices like Amazon’s Alexa, we can easily check the temperature on the thermostat, set the alarm, find out the weather and more. This same comfort is coming to hotel rooms in 2019, too. Some hotels have added iPads or other tablets into rooms, from which guests can order towels, lower the lighting or adjust the room temperature. Amazon has also released an Alexa for hospitality, which can do all of the above and play music, tell guests where to find amenities and more. Taking a step back from tech, there are other trends reshaping the hotel guest experience. Today’s guests want a unique lodging, rather than a one-size-fits-all experience  at a branded hotel they could find anywhere. As such, a lot of accommodations have redecorated with a local flair to give guests a sense of place. Whether that means selecting artwork and textiles by local artisans or hanging photographs of the city or town is up to the hotel itself. But this personalization will make a person’s stay more memorable, which means they’re likely to tell others about it or come back themselves Now, back to tech — many travelers have begun to plan out entire trips through their smartphone, and easy-to-use apps are making this possible. On top of that, there are specialized apps designed to pair guests with the best deals, so they can travel as cheaply and as comfortably as possible. Take the Hotel Tonight app as an example — travelers can find a last minute discount on a nice hotel in cities such as New York, Amsterdam, Toronto and San Francisco. Let’s say a guest stays at the same hotel three times. Every single time, she requests two extra pillows and an extra towel, and she drinks sparkling water from the minibar each day. Data-fueled personalization allows hotels to track these types of behaviors and plan for her next stay — the extra pillows and towels will be waiting for her in the room, and the minibar will have extra bottles of sparkling water for her. Airlines have long enticed customers to remain loyal to them with special perks, so long as they have a frequent-flyer card. Now, hotels have begun to do the same. For example, the Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs has a subscription service for its luxury spa, wherein guests can sign up for monthly visits for treatment, which, in turn, boosts the number of guests staying at the hotel. Waiting in line decreases customers’ perception of a hotel’s customer service. So, now, more and more hotels offer mobile check-in and out, so there’s no line. This frees up staff to help those who want a full-service check-in. Plus, mobile or tablet-based check-in systems can offer guests room upgrades and add-ons such as late checkout, which could lead to more lucrative stays for the hotel or upselling opportunities. In 2019 and beyond, technology will make the hotel’s staff — and, therefore, the hotel in general — safer. Geolocating will help pinpoint where someone is, including their elevation or floor level, if they have a problem. Plus, more and more hotel staffers will have access to panic buttons if they need to signal that something has gone wrong, thus meaning help will arrive sooner than ever. Finally, expect 2019 to be the year of the chatbot, too. You’ve likely interacted with one of these before, but they’ll become a mainstay in the hospitality industry this year. They’re a great resource for hotels to have — they can answer questions and help guests even if customer service agents are busy or off-duty. Even if the chatbot can’t fully help, potential guests will appreciate the effort and base level of information they’ve received. Of course, these changes represent just 10 of the many ways technology, decor and client requests will affect hotels.. As time goes on, we should expect to see the travel industry continue to tailor its services to each guest walking through their doors. And, with the right tech and data, hotels can easily make this happen, further improving the lodging experience in 2019 and beyond. Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more!

    What are the big trends in guest experience before, during and after their stay?

    03:39
  • Trivago Business Blog

    What Are Hotel Guests’ Expectations in 2019?

    • Guest Experience
    • Personalization
    Keeping up with the ever-changing — and ever-increasing — desires and demands of today’s digital and discerning guests is a challenging task. Near impossible, you might even say. But what is possible is to have a pretty good idea of what will be some of the most important hotel guest expectations in 2019. We’ve taken a look at the top 2019 hospitality trends from the guest perspective. Summarized here, our findings highlight what guests are expecting this year from their hotel amenities, their booking experience, and the reputation of the properties they choose to book. Recognizing and then providing what your guests expect from their stay with you will not only help you satisfy them at your property, but also inspire them to book with you in the first place. We’re now subject to a lot of hype surrounding new technologies. We also hear a lot about deep personalization and trends like wellness travel. But before accepting payment in bitcoin or adding in-room fitness facilities at your property, it’s worth evaluating if you have the basics covered. A 2018 study from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration found the most frequently used in-room amenities were still the essentials such as a closet, complimentary toiletries, television, hairdryer safe, and iron. Furthermore, while guests anticipated using certain amenities such as an alarm clock, gym, and room-service, their actual usage of these was well below expectation. On the other hand, the usage of amenities such as valet parking, lobby seating, and concierge were ultimately higher than expected. The market penetration of smartphones is now almost universal, so it’s unsurprising that guests now take for granted being able to keep their mobile devices online and powered up during their hotel stay. A survey by Openkey showed that 98% expect high-speed Wi-Fi and 88% expect device charging ports. However, the survey also showed more than half of guests expect to use their smartphone as a room key and to be able to pay for their stay with mobile payment services. Guests are increasingly demanding more personalized experiences. Repeat visitors may expect you to anticipate their needs based on their last stay, and to only send marketing materials that fit their profile. However, many guests are also reluctant to provide information about themselves and are uncomfortable with having data collected about them at all. However, a recent report from Salesforce shows that, overwhelmingly, what customers want from companies is simply transparency and control over their data. Even more positively, survey respondents said that increasing the level of trust would make them more likely to recommend the company, spend more money, and share their experiences. A 2018 report from EyeforTravel showed that 73% of travelers regularly use metasearch. Guests expect to find your hotel on metasearch, and you’ll now need a complete and standout profile if you want to capture and pique their interest. Metasearch also represents a huge opportunity to promote your hotel’s direct rates to guests online and increase the number of direct bookings you generate. A new study from Phocuswright shows that nearly two-thirds of independent properties now receive direct bookings from metasearch. Rate Connect enables you to publish your website rates on trivago through a cost-per-click (CPC) campaign that brings the traveler straight to your website to complete their booking. A survey from Expedia looked at how different nationalities planned their holidays. It showed the majority of respondents, from all countries, were looking for inspiration when planning a trip. It also found that most travelers were also deciding between two or more destinations for their holiday. So when planning out your marketing materials and social media presence, it can be beneficial not just to showcase your hotel, but also your whole destination. Offering tips about what potential visitors can see and do, as well as stunning photography of your location, could help tip the decision in your favor. The current guest experience trend is for guests to want a stay that feels authentic to their destination, as well as unique. For room design and décor, this can mean reflecting the character of the city or neighborhood, while also making each room distinct in some way. This can be achieved by partnering with local artists and artisans, and letting guest know about any bespoke design features. The latest food trend is for more home-grown cuisine, made from local produce, possibly even from your property’s own garden. Alternatively, you can also showcase what your area has to offer by partnering with local restaurants to enable guests to order in-room from local eateries, or provide food experiences such as food trucks or pop-up restaurants. While it might seem contradictory to getting a local experience, guests are also keen to have the comforts of home. This can include technology they are used to such as streaming video services, like Netflix, digital voice assistance, or something as simple as an in-room coffee maker (which was expected by 59% of guests in the Cornell study). It also is reflected in the growing shift to apartment-style accommodations with kitchen facilities and more residential-feeling spaces. The travel experience has been fundamentally transformed by social media. This has affected every stage of the customer journey, especially for millennial travelers. In the planning phase, social media provides inspiration, with a recent study showing 83% of millennials say they would be more likely to book a hotel after seeing images of it from someone they follow on social media. One in four said they use social media sites to find accommodation directly. At the booking stage, guests also expect to engage with hotels and use social media to read reviews and understand the reputation of a hotel. It’s important to keep on top of comments on your social media pages and respond to any negative feedback. And during the stay, guests will want to share their experiences: 97% of millennials now share photos and videos of their travels online. Make it easy for guests to showcase your hotel by providing Instagram-worthy photo opportunities and sharing your social media accounts and relevant hashtags with guests. Guests are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious. A report from Hilton revealed that 20% of respondents said they actively seek out a hotel brand’s environmental and social efforts before booking. Highlight your eco-friendly initiatives such as waste reduction and recycling programs, renewable energy and water saving initiatives, use of local and organic produce, or the availability of electric car recharging stations. Are there other guest expectations that you think will be pivotal in 2019? We appreciate hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts by commenting below.

    What are they looking for when they stay in your hotel? Is tech that important for them?

    04:34
  • Egencia

    How Data Analytics, AI Are Changing Business Travel

    • AI
    • Data
    I’ve been a business traveler for longer than I care to admit. Let’s just say I took business trips when you needed a paper ticket, complete with red carbon paper backing, to board a plane. A lot has changed since then. Some aspects of business travel have grown a bit more stressful. At the same time, advances in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) have led to improvements that would have been hard to imagine even a few years ago. I’ve seen a fundamental shift in the way corporations view the travel experience. There was a time when there was business and then there was travel for business. The two never intersected. Travel took you to where you did the business. That is less and less the case now. To improve the business travel experience, it helps to look at travel as part of a business process. Travel is really just one more operational element required to make the business succeed. Non-stop connectivity contributes to this new perspective. Answering an email from a plane is still, well, answering an email. I’m a living, breathing business process element. Moving my body from Seattle to London is a step in a business process workflow. That said, the business-trip-as-business-process could do with some optimization. Like all business processes, there is always room for improvement. The more efficiently I can get to London, the more streamlined and successful the process will be. This is where AI can shine. Making travel an integral part of business success is also a matter of culture, as recent research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services shows. The report, “Travel culture: Your competitive advantage in a global market,” reveals that more than half of business leaders feel having a strong travel culture is very important to their organizations’ business performance. Companies with a strong travel culture have twice the rate of improvement in key areas of performance compared to businesses with weak travel cultures. The divergence became apparent in customer loyalty and retention (50 percent versus 21 percent), market share (43 percent versus 22 percent) and employee satisfaction (35 percent versus 15 percent). Data analysis in travel is nothing new, but advances in data science are having a transformative effect on the industry and an individual traveler’s experience. Data science and AI are the mechanisms that make it possible to improve the business-trip-as-business-process. Predictive analytics is one example. By examining a variety of data streams from my travel history, for example, predictive analytics could anticipate a problem I might have on a trip before I even take off. AI uses machine learning (ML) to let our travel management platform continuously learn about me and get better at delivering a good travel experience for me. The data science that delivers AI, ML, and predictive analytics is changing the corporate travel experience. It enables an optimal business-trip-as-business-process. At a high level, this works through the capacity to personalize the travel experience. Our travel platform can now tailor business trips to my preferences. Based on my travel history, peer reviews, data about my company and more, the travel management platform can help me do my best work on the road while staying in compliance with travel policies. In specific terms, I see AI and related technologies help with travel planning and organization, getting the small but important details right and keeping me safe so that I’m not worried and can enjoy some downtime after hours. I can also report the business results of my trip more effectively. Planning a business trip and getting organized for it can be time-consuming. The personalization possible with AI and ML eases the planning and organizing processes. For example, the platform knows what I want from my previous history and the other data streams it consumes. It will suggest a hotel I will probably like, a car rental company that my peers say is reliable and so forth. A travel platform that uses AI and ML can also help with the seemingly minor things that actually contribute to exhaustion and stress on a trip — stuff like airport shuttles and knowing where to eat. There are few things more exhausting than arriving in a foreign country and immediately getting stuck in a traffic jam. AI-based travel tools mitigate this hassle by helping you navigate on the ground. This is still a little more in the future than the present, but with GPS-to-GPS communications and real-time analysis of traffic, for example, you can be directed around traffic even if you have no idea where you are. AI in travel apps can also help you use public transportation. In some countries, this is vastly preferable to getting around in a car. As a woman who often travels alone, safety is a high priority. However, it can be challenging to stay safe (and feel safe) in a foreign country where you don’t know public norms or who you can trust. For example, in some countries, you really need to know which car services are trustworthy. AI helps with safety by aggregating data from other travelers and various other sources to present a quick, clear summary of what’s what. It’s possible to do all your safety research by hand, but who has the time? AI makes it available instantly. When you travel on the company’s dime, you’re there for them. However, as we all know, you won’t work well if you’re a wreck. In my experience on the road, it’s definitely worth enjoying a little personal time when the workday ends. AI and personalization contribute to a positive experience in this department as well. For example, I can get suggestions for activities and dining options based on my personal preferences and the location. In some cases, an AI-powered travel personalization tool will leverage your device’s Bluetooth to identify enjoyable, restorative things to do that are nearby. Reporting on the results of your business-trip-as-business-process is an integral part of optimizing the process. Good data reporting, which is built into all travel platforms now, is part of this. Developments in data science take it further, making it easier for you to assess how your travel contributed to the business. The data can tell your managers, in effect, “I went to London. It cost $3,000, but we earned $1 million — and the trip cost five percent less than the average employee trip to London.” You can also socialize your business travel experience by tweeting during trips and the like. This isn’t for fun. Your social posts contribute unstructured data to the travel AI equation. If you tweet, “I got sick after eating here ;( #sickontheroad,” that data point will contribute to your colleagues’ business-trips-as-business-processes. Data science, AI and ML are having an impact on business travel, especially through the power of personalization. It’s still somewhat early in the evolution of these capabilities, but there are already very promising results. Read more to learn more about how Egencia is putting AI and ML to work in personalization of business travel.

    Business travel is constantly growing and changing; however, how has technology made a stressful process a bit easier...

    03:04
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