How Technology Can Improve the Guest Experience

According to the latest National Technology Readiness Survey (NTRS), 81.4% of travelers find it very important that their travel experience be personalized to their needs. Hospitality companies are constantly finding new ways to improve the customer experience. To provide a more customer-centric experience, hospitality companies are using technology to design hotel rooms that give guests the ability to personalize their stays to their individual needs. Many hotels offer guests ways to control their environment, such as allowing them to use their mobile phones as hotel keys and to simply adjust the thermostat in their rooms, which is convenient, saves time, and increases comfort for hotel guests. Hilton is taking personalization a step further by introducing opportunities for guests to control other aspects of their rooms, such as the lighting, blinds, temperature, and television, as part of their ‘Connected Room’ mobile app.[1] Marriott also recognizes guests’ needs and desire to personalize their hotel stays.[2] Through its new Marriott Mobile app, guests can chat with hotel staff before, during, and after their visits to ask questions or provide special requests for their rooms, such as more pillows. They can also browse local travel content based on travel experiences of other Marriott Mobile app users. 

While personalization is important to adult travelers, there is increased interest in using new technologies and innovations when traveling and staying in hotels in the future. More adults are beginning to utilize such innovations (see chart below). However, many view these features as something they will make use of in the future, as at least a third of consumers who have not used these features are interested in doing so. The most interesting features include personalizing hotel rooms based on preferences, using a mobile app to send requests to hotel staff, using a smartphone as a hotel key, and using a mobile phone to control elements of a hotel room. About 85% of all adults own and use a smartphone [3]; and given the prevalence of smartphones among travelers and their interest in using them to further their experience in hotels, hospitality companies should continue to innovate around smartphones as the hub of the guest experience. 

 

Younger travelers are even more interested than their older counterparts in new technologies designed to personalize the guest experience (see chart below). They are also more comfortable sharing their personal information in exchange for a personalized travel experience. Adults younger than 55 (particularly those aged 18-34) are more likely than older consumers to have used or consider using new hotel technologies in the future. This is of particular importance given that within the next few years, Millennials (and younger Gen Z-ers) will represent more than a third of all travelers.[4] These two generations tend to be tech-savvy, rely heavily on smartphones, and use various social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) for travel inspiration and to review and document their travels and hotel stays.[5] 

  

Smart technologies have the potential to further improve the travel experience for consumers. About half of adults believe traveling with smart devices (i.e. smart luggage with Wi-Fi, GPS, USB ports, scales, safety locks, charging outlets, etc.) is something they would be interested in doing in the future. In addition, more than half of adults believe smart services (i.e. pre-programmed Amazon Echo or Siri in a hotel room) are of interest to use during future stays.  

There is great opportunity for hospitality companies to improve the guest experience through the introduction of new technologies. Guests desire personalized services and apps that put them in control of their stay, resulting in greater efficiency and convenience for them. 

About the Study: The National Technology Readiness Survey is conducted by Rockbridge Associates, Inc. and A. Parasuraman, and has tracked technology and e-commerce trends since 1999. The survey is co-sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Service at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. The most recent wave was conducted in June 2022 and is based on an online survey of 1040 U.S. adults sampled at random from a consumer research panel. Results are weighted to match census characteristics. 

[1]https://www.hotelmanagement.net/tech/ilton-unveils-futuristic-room-controlled-by-guests-smartphone 

[2]http://news.marriott.com/2017/02/marriott-reimagines-mobile-app-meet-needs-modern-world-travelers/ 

[3]https://www.statista.com/statistics/219865/percentage-of-us-adults-who-own-a-smartphone/

[4] http://globetrendermagazine.com/2017/05/19/travel-trends-across-generations/ 

[5] https://washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/six-ways-hotels-are-targeting-the-millennial-market-and-benefiting-us-all/2017/06/29/244c0646-5852-11e7-a204-ad706461fa4f_story.html?utm_term=.44bd684fa365