Living Up to Next-Gen Guest Expectations

In a single moment or interaction, a guest could decide they can’t wait to return to your hotel or begin counting down the minutes until they can leave and never look back.

Which way they go is up to you.

Today’s traveler is accustomed to having every seemingly available option at the tip of their fingers, on-demand, and competitively priced. And they’re not shy about expressing their dissatisfaction either. In a recent Deloitte survey of 6,600 hotel guests across 25 brands, 75% of respondents indicated they choose to return to hotels that deliver what they consider to be an outstanding guest experience.

By providing new and improved guest experiences – ones that leverage the technology consumers interact with in their daily lives – hotels can increase the likelihood of return visits by up to 30%.

But the battle to appeal to today’s traveler grows more difficult with every passing minute. Hotels face stiff competition from traditional hospitality companies, as well as new lodging concepts and non-traditional market disruptors, such as peer-to-peer home sharing.

Simply put: if a guest is unsatisfied, there’s plenty of other places for them to go. And they have no qualms about packing up and leaving.  

 

By leveraging technology consumers interact with in their daily lives, hotels can increase the likelihood of return visits by 30%

 

Over the years, hotels have come to master the basic lodging needs that were once considered luxuries of travel. Expectations such as clean rooms, well-maintained facilities, unique dining services, prime locations, ease of bookings, and the ability to customize your stay (to name a few) have all have become the norm. Hotels can no longer get by with just providing the basic services.

If you don’t meet the new level of expectations, while going above and beyond to surprise and delight, things won’t be looking good for the business. And that’s putting it lightly.

So what should hotels do once they’ve mastered the basic needs?

Because today’s traveler demands a personalized travel experience, you must discover what your guests are yearning for before they even get the chance to tell you.

The key to fulfilling these expectations lies in one of the unrelenting principles of hospitality: know your guest.

Simple personal interactions are no longer enough, getting to know today’s guests happens in ways that would’ve been hard to fathom just a few years ago. Instead of gaining insights from information that is gathered when guests book, check-in, or are prompted to respond to questions about their experience, hotels must travel outside the traditional means to learn exactly who is staying with them and what kind of experience they expect.

Luckily for hotels, travelers are willingly sharing more personal information. You just need to know where to look and how to interpret it. And no method of sharing is more popular than social media, where guests can broadcast their stay, and exactly how they feel about that stay, to hundreds, thousands and potentially millions of followers. Guest satisfaction and promotion go hand in hand, as 81% of very satisfied travelers fall under the category of promoters — individuals who are highly likely to recommend their experience to others.

It is critical to remember that you’re not only providing excellent service to your current guests but also every single person they could potentially share that experience with in the future.

Using HYP3R’s guest experience platform, hotels can actively listen to the experiences guests are sharing in and around their properties. This allows them to get to know their guests and engage them in highly personalized ways. There are several unique ways these interactions can be carried out.

The St. Regis in Mexico City does an outstanding job fostering social engagements that have led to even more shared experiences from the guests they interacted with. When one guest Instagrammed a photo of their wagyu beef and martini dinner from a hotel restaurant they never could’ve expected what happened next. The St. Regis’ social team responded with a comment telling them to enjoy their meal and a follow up inviting the guest to meet the newly-hired mixologist at one of their other restaurants. After going to the bar that weekend to meet the mixologists and have a few cocktails, the guest decided to once again take to Instagram to share their experience.

On Mexico’s Caribbean coast, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa has surprised & delighted guests by learning more about their reasons for visiting using HYP3R’s guest experience platform and its alerts. One guest was celebrating her 30th birthday on the property, but never let the hotel know. HYP3R provided the hotel staff with the ability to discover this crucial bit of information on the guest’s public Instagram profile and quickly get to work decorating her room and leaving colorful birthday messages while the guest was lounging by the pool.

Not a bad surprise to walk back to, huh?

These are just a few of the ways hotels can live up to the expectations of the next-generation guest experience. This is critically important with the Millennial and Gen-Zenerations, whose spending power continues to grow as they transition into careers and the next phase of their lives. With a current age range of around 23-38, and proactively focused on maintaining a digital presence, Millennial guests, in particular, have expressed a desire to be surprised and delighted up to 71% more than other generations. And with their preferences being shared continuously across digital platforms, it’s easier than ever to zero in on exactly what they’re expecting and meet those expectations.

 

1 out of every 4 of guests are more likely to promote when hotels proactively communicate with them

 

When it comes to authentic, personalized guest experiences, the sky’s the limit—and guests have already taken notice. The question isn’t if a hotelier should focus on the newest generation of location-based marketing, it’s how they can leverage the tools that are already available to continuously elevate guest experiences.

What happens when the time comes, and guests realize that your hotel doesn’t live up to their expectations?

They’ll find another that will.

 

Joseph Lage
Author Joseph Lage Director of Growth Marketing