Survey Offers Insights Into Guest Expectations for Hotel Tech

REDWOOD SHORES, CA—Oracle Hospitality commissioned Phocuswright for “Creating the Coveted Hotel Guest Experience,” a new survey that reflects the thoughts of more than 2,700 U.S. and European travelers—as well as the perspective of hoteliers—to gauge how well they align with consumers’ expectations.

According to the research, hoteliers have intensified efforts by improving websites, launching apps and engaging on social media. And while hotels will always face competition throughout the customer’s journey, the researchers contend that once travelers arrive in the lobby, they’re a captive audience—and that’s where hotels should make a bold statement with technology.

Highlights from the research include the following findings:

• Technology already is an inherent and invaluable element of the entire travel lifecycle, ranging from travelers using an array of devices to book hotels to connecting to WiFi upon arrival. Their reliance upon it is evident, and they want more: 64% of U.S. hotel guests said it is “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience.

• Hoteliers want to deliver personal experiences, but are struggling with obtaining guest information that would enable them to do so. The foremost question: At what point do such efforts infringe upon privacy? Though an answer remains elusive, it is clear that ?new opportunities exist for technology to customize offerings without necessarily requiring more guest data. For example, 45% of hotel guests want the capability to select specific room locations, while 94% of business travelers and 80% of leisure travelers expressed interest in using ?smartphones to request service and message hotel staff.

• Exceptional hotel experiences are important not just to keep guests happy during their stay, but to influence their behavior post-stay. Commentary on social media is now the norm and bound to rise, especially with millennials accounting for a greater share of travel activity. Millennials (ages 18-34) recount their hotel experience on social media (33%) far more than older travelers (26%).

• Hoteliers need to take a larger role in providing information that shapes both the on and off-premises guest experience. More than 60% of guests rely on non-hotel sources for in-destination queries, such as recommendations for activities and restaurant reservations, but hoteliers can leverage technology to provide the same information while driving guest engagement.