SevenRooms, a data-driven guest experience platform for the hospitality industry, released its “Beyond the Booking: Meeting & Exceeding Hotel Guest Expectations” report, uncovering how hotel operators can deliver extraordinary experiences that build guest loyalty in this new era of hospitality. According to the data, almost half (46%) of Americans would be open to booking a hotel under the right circumstances and in order to capitalize on this wave, operators must be prepared to meet new guest preferences – from implementing dealbreaker health and safety features to the traditional special touches that are still crucial.
The study, conducted with third-party research firm YouGov, examines how hotel guest expectations have shifted as we continue to adjust to life in a pandemic. While health & safety is paramount, tried and true amenities and perks are still a priority for Americans. In fact, of those open to staying at a hotel in the coming months, 1 in 5 (20%) would book a hotel if they got a deal or promotion for hotel dining or entertainment.
Hotel operators must keep this top of mind as they look to drive continued revenue and guest loyalty during this new era of hospitality – and the SevenRooms report highlights exactly how they can best implement these features and perks from check-in to check-out.
From Booking to Check-In
The report uncovered that as Americans are choosing which hotels to book, many are prioritizing health & safety – with more than 1 in 3 (34%) saying they’re more inclined to book with hotels that are operating at a reduced guest capacity. Further data uncovered that many Americans will only book at hotels offering:
- Explicit COVID-19 health and safety measures ahead of time: more than 1 in 3 (41%)
- Contactless tech: 1 in 5 (20%)
- Health Screenings for guests upon arrival: almost 1 in 3 (30%)
While these features can help operators get guests on premises, the journey doesn’t end there. From the pool to the hotel bar or even a blackjack table, guests say health & safety features are a must-have; even going so far to make most Americans say they’d end their stay early or never return to a specific hotel under the right circumstances. Of those Americans, 67% say they would end their stay early if hotel staff and servers look or sound ill. Many would also do the same if:
- Hotel is too crowded and does not enforce social distancing – 63%
- Hotel staff and servers are not required to wear masks – 63%
- Hotel guests look/sound ill – 58%
- Hotel guests are not required to wear masks – 55%
Making the Most of a Stay
Once the guest has made a reservation and checked in for their stay, operators must now shift to creating memorable, highly-personalized experiences through a health and safety lens. The data showed that Americans are still expecting classic amenities during their stay in order to make it special. In fact, more than 1 in 3 (34%) Americans say a complimentary hotel breakfast is the top item they look for when thinking about a hotel’s dining amenities. Simple F&B perks still go a long way with Americans as:
- Almost 1 in 2 (46%) of those whose hotel choice is likely to be influenced by F&B say a complimentary drink or meal upon arrival would encourage them to book one hotel over another
- 1 in 4 (25%) Americans indicate that a hotel having multiple types of dining options is the among the most important dining amenities to them
The key to making these experiences successful is not losing sight of health & safety features. Many Americans still want to take advantage of amenities like restaurants, pools, casinos and more, but through added reservation options. Among those Americans interested in booking amenities in advance, 59% want to make a reservation at hotel restaurants in advance of their stay. They also would like to be able to make reservations in advance to:
- Lounge at the pool – 42%
- Visit the spa or sauna – 37%
- Swim at the pool – 36%
- Use gym/fitness equipment – 28%
- Sit at the hotel bar – 22%
- Gamble at tables – 18%
Reservation technology not only allows guests to feel more comfortable, but can also provide valuable data on their preferences. When implemented thoughtfully, operators can then use that insight to add personalized touches and build loyalty. Of those Americans who’d be more likely to stay at a specific hotel due to key F&B experiences or amenities, 1 in 4 (25%) say that receiving a personalized offer to book again (based on previous dining/stay activity) would encourage them to choose one hotel over another. Thirty-four percent (34%) of this same group said loyalty rewards for its restaurants and bars would convince them. When done correctly, loyalty programs can still be a powerful tool for marketing to guests to get them to return.
“Restaurant and hotel operators across the globe have shown incredible resilience over the past six months as they’ve adjusted to meet changing consumer preferences,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO & Co-Founder at SevenRooms. “As Americans become more comfortable with travel once again, hotel operators have a huge opportunity to instill even more confidence through incredible experiences. Our research has highlighted the new guest journey that consumers are expecting – and while health and safety measures are clearly top of mind, those special, personalized touches are also important. When operators can thoughtfully integrate technology that helps provide peace of mind around safety, they’re also getting valuable insights into who their guests are and what they want. This data is essential for driving loyalty that can boost repeat visits through targeted marketing and, ultimately, bringing guests back to your hotel through direct channels. Those that can take these insights and turn them into actionable, personalized touches will succeed in this new era of hyper-personalized hospitality.”
The full report is available at sevenrooms.com.
SevenRooms commissioned YouGov PLC – a third party, professional research and consulting organization – to poll the views of 1,361 individuals who agreed to take part. Fieldwork was undertaken online between 29th – 30thof July 2020. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).