Travelers want high-tech, low-touch experiences in the future

Travel is back, but it won’t be the same as the before times. Consumers want to see changes in the way hotels and resorts do things.

A study by Oracle Hospitality and Skift shows that 95% of people plan to travel in the next six months and that a majority want technology to eliminate human touch points along their journeys. 

The “Hospitality in 2025: Automated, Intelligent… and More Personal” study surveyed 5,266 consumers and 633 hotel executives around the world in the spring of 2022 to better understand how guest expectations have changed and how hotels are adapting. Consumers and executives were surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, and Mexico. 

The survey found that:

  • 73% of travelers want to use their mobile device to manage their hotel experience, including checking in and out, paying, ordering food, and more. 
  • People also want the opportunity to personalize their journeys by picking their exact room and floor and paying for only the amenities they want. 
  • 68% want to be able to pre-screen properties in the metaverse. 
  • 74% are interested in hotels using AI to better tailor services and offers, such as room pricing or food suggestions and discounts. 
  • Nearly 40% of hotel executives see this ‘unbundled’ model as the future of hotel revenue management.

On the topic of revenue management, 87% of travelers said they would be likely to book a hotel that allowed them to pay only for amenities that they use. Fifty-four percent would pay more to choose their view; 38% to choose their room; 37% to check in early/check out late; 33% to use the spa, wellness, or fitness services; and 32% to choose their room floor.

Many people plan to spend more on travel this year and into the next with big trips to make up for time lost during the pandemic. And they want to do it with contactless and self-service technology. 

More findings include:

  • 73% of travelers say they are more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service technology to minimize contact with the staff and other guests.
  • 38% want a fully self-service model, with staff only available upon request.
  • 39% want to order room service from their phone or a chatbot.
  • 49% want to make contactless payments.
  • 77% of travelers are interested in using automated messaging or chatbots for customer service requests at hotels.
  • 43% want voice-activated controls for all amenities in their rooms (lights, curtains, door locks, etc.).
  • 25% want room controls that auto-adjust temperature, lighting, and even digital art based on pre-shared preferences. 

These shifts towards heavier use of technology should be eagerly welcomed by hotel managers dealing with staffing shortages. Here’s what respondents had to say on that topic:

  • 65% of hoteliers said incorporating new technologies for staff best describes their strategy to weather labor shortages and attract new talent.
  • 96% are investing in contactless technology, with 62% noting “a fully contactless experience” is likely to be the most widely adopted tech in the industry in the next three years.
  • 54% added that their highest priority is to adopt tech that improves or eliminates the need for the front desk experience between now and 2025.
  • 81% of hoteliers expect a big service model shift between now and 2025.
  • 49% strongly agreed that “special amenities and upgrades” are critical to their revenue strategy.
  • 36% predict that the future of hotel revenue management will be underpinned by unbundling room rates, like a “basic economy” vs. “economy plus” model on airlines.

While spa will always be a higher touch experience – or at least maintain the option to be – it’s important for industry leaders to recognize these consumer wants and to offer streamlined processes for check-in and check out, intake, and more. 

“The pandemic has established technology’s role in the guest and associate journey, and the industry is never going back,” said Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality, in a statement. “Whether a hotel organization has two properties or 2,000, guests are looking for the highly digital, self-service experience they have come to expect in other parts of their lives, from banking to ordering food. For hoteliers to meet these demands, especially with constrained property staffing, they need systems that will enable them to quickly adapt, ‘plug in’ new services, and better and more efficiently serve a diverse group of travelers.”

 

Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, the leader in guest management, revenue and mobile solutions for the most exclusive spas, hotels, and resorts around the globe. Learn more at book4time.com

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