A new study by Oracle Hospitality and Skift shows that 95% of people plan to travel in the next six months—with 29% taking an epic ‘revenge travel’ trip—however, many want to eliminate the ‘touch’ from the high touch industry they once knew. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of travelers want to use their mobile device 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 even wanting to pre-screen properties in the metaverse (68%). Moreover, 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.
“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. Check-out the report at:
Travelers want people to ‘get away’ while on their getaway
Two years of restrictions created a pent-up desire to travel, with 29% 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:
- 92% of travelers don’t miss being around other people while staying on a hotel property.
- 73% 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.
- 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% are also looking for contactless payments (only 5% want to pay in crypto).
Staff remains slim, 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:
- 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.
Travelers are mixed on how patient they are willing to be in this transition:
- 39% said they want a fully contactless experience for all basic hotel transactions (check-in/out, food & beverage, room keys, etc.).
- 34% said a staff shortage, and resulting slow service, would be their #1 deterrent to rebooking a hotel. However, just 23% noted that a lack of daily room cleaning is an issue, showing consumers have accepted (and 17% 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:
- 45% said on-demand entertainment access that seamlessly connects to their personal streaming or gaming accounts is their #1 must-have during their stay. Likewise, 45% of hotel executives said this in-room entertainment set-up is what they’re most likely to implement by 2025.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 87% said they would be likely to book a hotel that allowed them to pay only for amenities that they use.
- 54% are willing to 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; 32% to choose their room floor; and more.