AUSTIN, Texas—A new study by Oracle Hospitality and Skift shows that 95 percent of people plan to travel in the next six months with 29 percent taking a “revenge travel” trip—however, many want to eliminate the “touch” from the high-touch industry they once knew. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of travelers want to use their mobile devices to manage their hotel experience, including checking in and out, paying, ordering food, and more. This is good news for hoteliers looking to tech to manage through the staffing shortage without hurting guest engagement and service.
Over the next few years, travelers are also looking to personalize their journey even more by picking their exact room and floor and paying for only the amenities they want, and they even want to pre-screen properties in the metaverse (68 percent). Moreover, 74 percent are interested in hotels using AI to better tailor services and offers, such as room pricing or food suggestions and discounts. Nearly 40 percent of hotel executives see this model as the future of hotel revenue management.
“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. “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.”
The Hospitality in 2025: Automated, Intelligent… and More Personal study surveyed 5,266 consumers and 633 hotel executives across 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.
Travelers want people to “get away” while on their getaway.
Two years of restrictions created a pent-up desire to travel, with 29 percent of people planning a larger, pricier “revenge travel” trip. But the pandemic has also left jetsetters feeling antisocial with many desiring contactless and self-service technology:
- Ninety-two percent of travelers don’t miss being around other people while staying on a hotel property.
- Seventy-three percent agree that they’re more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service technology to minimize contact with the staff and other guests.
- Thirty-eight percent want a fully self-service model, with staff only available upon request.
- Thirty-nine percent want to order room service from their phone or a chatbot.
- Forty-nine percent are also looking for contactless payments (only 5 percent want to pay in crypto).
Staff remains slim but tech is helping.
The labor shortage remains a top issue in the hotel industry, but hoteliers are working hard to onboard new tech to ease the strain on guests and staff:
- Sixty-five percent of hoteliers said incorporating new technologies for staff best describes their strategy to weather labor shortages and attract new talent.
- Ninety-six percent are investing in contactless technology, with 62 percent noting “a fully contactless experience” is likely to be the most widely adopted tech in the industry in the next three years.
- Fifty-four percent added that their highest priority is to adopt tech that improves or eliminates the need for the front desk experience between now and 2025.
Travelers are mixed on how patient they are willing to be in this transition:
- Thirty-nine percent said they want a fully contactless experience for all basic hotel transactions (check-in/out, food and beverage, room keys, etc.).
- Thirty-four percent said a staff shortage and resulting slow service would be their top deterrent to rebooking a hotel. However, just 23 percent noted that a lack of daily room cleaning is an issue, showing consumers have accepted—and 17 percent welcomed—that this pre-pandemic mainstay is never coming back.
People looking for the comfort of home, even when away from home.
Whether ordering room service or signing onto Netflix, travelers want the ease and convenience of home while traveling:
- Forty-five percent said on-demand entertainment access that seamlessly connects to their personal streaming or gaming accounts is their top must-have during their stay. Likewise, 45 percent of hotel executives said this in-room entertainment set-up is what they’re most likely to implement by 2025.
- Seventy-seven percent of travelers are interested in using automated messaging or chatbots for customer service requests at hotels.
- Forty-three percent want voice-activated controls for all amenities in their rooms (lights, curtains, door locks, etc.).
- Twenty-five percent want room controls that auto-adjust temperature, lighting, and even digital art based on pre-shared preferences.
Ala carte-based hotel pricing.
Consumers are interested in a hotel model that lets them pay for just what they use. Hoteliers, in tandem, are looking at new service models that upsell everything from amenities to adventures:
- Eighty-one percent of hoteliers expect a big service model shift between now and 2025.
- Forty-nine percent strongly agreed that “special amenities and upgrades” are critical to their revenue strategy.
- Thirty-six percent predict that the future of hotel revenue management will be underpinned by unbundling room rates, like a “basic economy” versus “economy plus” model on airlines.
- Eighty-seven percent said they would be likely to book a hotel that allowed them to pay only for amenities that they use.
- Fifty-four percent are willing to pay more to choose their view; 28 percent to choose their room; 37 percent to check in early/check-out late; 33 percent to use the spa, wellness, or fitness services; 32 percent to choose their room floor; and more.