- By Sherril Hanson
- January 23, 2023
Hospitality Technology has released a Lodging Technology Study, as well as a Customer Engagement Study with data pointing to particular areas of focus for customer experience. Some of the findings coincide well with the market drivers of CX in Travel and Hospitality that Dash Research has identified including:
- Demand for omnichannel interactions and self-service
- Acceleration of contactless and convenience technologies
- Increased communication needs
- Changes in the nature of the travel experience and desire for personalization
According to Dash’s analysis, the implementation of contactless technologies was already in the works before COVID-19, but the pandemic greatly accelerated the rollout. Travelers want frictionless, easy experiences, and there is an increase in these types of CX-supporting technologies all along the travel journey.
Much of the data in the Hospitality Technology 2022 Customer Engagement Study: Embracing Digital Transformation supports the notion that travelers want technologies that keep their experiences convenient and contactless. Sometimes this is also tied into the desire to just take care of something themselves via self-service options.
How important are these technology features in your decision to select one hotel over another? (The following technology features were rated at either moderate or extreme importance to travelers)
- 73% – The ability to make reservations and check in/out from a mobile device
- 54% – You are able to check in/out via a kiosk
- 48% – The hotel has a mobile app
- 48% – The hotel offers contactless payment
- 16% – The hotel uses robots to provide contactless service
Customers also want effective communication and information flow.
How important are these technology features in your decision to select one hotel over another?
(The following technology features were rated at either moderate or extreme importance to travelers)
- 73% – The hotel texts important information about your reservation before your stay
- 46% – Digital Signage
- 41% – The hotel offers a voice-controlled device inside your guestroom, which allow you to communicate with the hotel during your stay
The hotel having positive consumer reviews and ratings was also very important (83%) as was the hotel personalizing services based on purchase history (50%).
According to Hospitality Technology’s Lodging Technology Study: Embracing Mobility & Self-Service, hotels are apparently listening to what customers want, as many are already offering or plan to offer many of these technologies on customers’ wish lists.
Percentage of hotel operators who currently offer or plan to add in the coming year
- 100% – Mobile reservations
- 100% – Mobile check-in
- 100% – Mobile room key
- 95% – Two-way messaging with guests
- 88% – Contactless payments
- 76% – Digital Signage
- 62% – Check-in/out via kiosk
- 54% – Voice-controlled devices
- 46% – Guest-facing robots
When it comes to how customers interact with staff or ask for help, the data shifts a bit towards having another human in the mix, rather than leveraging technology. Along a traveler’s journey, there are a variety of technologies that a customer can interact with, all which can affect a customer experience.
According to Hospitality Technology’s Customer Engagement Study, when survey respondents were asked “What are your preferred methods for requesting service or interacting with staff at hotel and restaurants?” 75% said in person and 38% said a phone call. Other preferences were:
- 27% – Text messaging
- 22% – Chatting via my mobile phone
- 19% – Self-service kiosks
- 15% – Email
- 6% – Voice-controlled devices such as Alexa
- 4% – Robots
Related Article: Frontier Airlines Eliminates Live Agent Customer Support
The data does show that when customers do interact with various forms of self-service, which is often driven by labor shortages, they are relatively satisfied:
- 53% – Satisfied or very satisfied for self-service check in/out kiosks at hotels
- 48% – Self-ordering kiosks in hotels
- 30% – Chatbots on hotel and restaurant websites
There is often a wide CX expectation gap between what customers want and what the company they are interacting with is offering. It is a positive that in this case, it appears the gap is narrowing between what travelers want and what hoteliers are offering or plan to offer. Although, the 18% of survey respondents who said they would like “a virtual-reality space where customers can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users (e.g., customers can turn into digital avatars and virtually walk through the hotel)” might be waiting a bit longer.
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