Guests are embracing new technologies and apps on a daily basis, and hotel companies are trying their best to also get into the fray by developing their own guest facing applications to drive loyalty.
All of this comes during the most fascinating time for the hotel industry as it grapples with the disruption from alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway. To say that all of these dynamics combined to make it difficult for a hotelier to connect and build relationships with their guests would be a major understatement.
In the U.S Consumer Travel Report presented in July 2016 by Phocuswright™, research shows that 82% of leisure travelers are within the older millennial travel bracket (25-34).
Their main differentiators are; their desire to stay connected through the entire travel journey, to like to travel alone, they are motivated to see the world, they enjoy air travel and like to rent private accommodations.
So what exactly does today’s connected guest really want?
It would be fair to say that some guests are still very old school and want a high-touch in person relationship model that most hoteliers pride themselves on delivering.
On the other hand, many guests (at least at some point) just want a bed, services, restaurant and a bar in a location or setting that helps them either experience a great vacation or an optimized business trip.
According to the Phocuswright 2016 Technology Trends report, messaging is a game-changing trend for the travel industry.
If you look at the adoption of messaging apps, this indeed should be an area for hotels to keep their eye on. There are now many guests that are open to and even prefer communication via messaging apps. They want to be notified when their room is ready so that they can check in. They want to be informed about daily specials via an SMS message.
In fact, 49% of travelers would be persuaded to make a purchase of relevant offers from mobile push notifications (Frost & Sullivan/Amadeus).
They also want the option to communicate back to the hotel about any changes in their plans or to report an issue. It appears by all accounts that messaging is definitely here to stay.