NEW YORK—According to a new poll conducted by research firm YouGov and commissioned by hotel operations platform ALICE, 81 percent of consumers would like to received local experience and hotel upgrade recommendations from their hotels.
The Hotels’ Digital Divide report highlights the shifting expectations of modern hotel guests, as well as travelers’ technology preferences and the role that technology plays in providing more personalized travel experiences.
Of the guests who want to receive recommendations from their hotels, more than one in four (27 percent) want dining recommendations for nearby restaurants, and more than one in five (21 percent) want to receive experience or room/service upgrade recommendations (21 percent).
Travelers are most interested in experiences such as: food tastings/food tours of local cuisine (40 percent); guided tours of the town they are visiting (36 percent); a learning center to learn more about the culture/life of the city they are visiting (33 percent); and spirit/wine/beer tours of local distilleries/wineries/breweries (27 percent).
Technology Guests Actually Want
More than half of consumers (56 percent) said they did not want to interact with robots during their stay. However, 52 percent did express interest in touring hotels in AR or VR. Consumers also conveyed a demand for improved in-room technology, and the research found that this was a leading priority for modern guests. In fact, they’re willing to give up other amenities in exchange for it, such as: a business center (34 percent), fitness center (27 percent), spa (24 percent), room service (15 percent), fresh towels delivered daily (11 percent), and later check out times (11 percent).
In-Room Tech That Matches Guests’ Home Life
More than two in five (43 percent) of those who want hotels to better match their home life list in-room technology to integrate with their personal devices among their top three wishes. However, not all guests are alike—the research found that among those who want to use either their personal or a hotel-provided smart device, 69 percent want to use hotel-provided smart devices.
When broken down my service, 63 percent of guests would rather order room service and housekeeping, from a hotel-provided smart device versus 37 percent from their personal devices; to make reservations for dining or a spa appointment, 41 percent want to do so on hotel-provided smart devices and 59 percent want to use their personal devices; and for check-in and check-out, 40 percent want to use hotel-provided smart devices while 60 percent want to use their personal devices.
Creating a Home Away from Home
The research showed that consumers seek lodging experiences that reflect the comfort of their home lives—from additional blankets in-room to the ability to select bedding and more. Top amenities of interest to those looking for a more home-like experience include: a better WiFi connection than currently offered (59 percent); their preferred coffee/tea selection in-room (38 percent); their preferred toiletries in-room (33 percent); a white noise machine (20 percent); an option to select their room’s layout (18 percent); and a selection of books to read at their leisure (16 percent).
“The digital revolution is at the forefront of the hotel industry—but not all guests need to be wowed by the latest and greatest technology like robots at the front desk,” said Alex Shashou, co-founder and president of ALICE. “Hotels should focus on providing both technologies and recommendations that can be used to elevate their staff’s ability to provide hospitality—not replace it. When designing optimal guest experiences, hoteliers must find balance between providing new, unique experiences coupled with the feeling of a home away from home. Above all, hotels must center their services around choice.”