Hotels cannot afford to have even a single negative review – it’s really that simple. Even if a property has amassed hundreds of glowing reviews, one negative comment can instantly tarnish a property’s reputation forged through its tireless efforts over many years.
“Bad experiences – even just one – can cost you customers,” cautioned a recent PwC customer loyalty survey. “Consumers are not only willing to walk away, they’re actually doing it: 26% of respondents said they stopped buying from a specific business in the past year [due to negative experiences]. That percentage was higher – in some cases much higher – for many types of businesses, including airlines, restaurants, banks, and hotels.”
Today, the most successful hotel properties are preventing that by maximizing the Return on Experience (ROE) for both staff and guests to ensure zero disappointment – and that translates to more revenue, longer, more frequent stays, and consistent positive reviews. But how do they accomplish that when guests are returning in higher numbers with mounting expectations, but hotels are still facing staffing shortages?
What Today’s Guest Looks Like
Today the guest that walks through a hotel’s doors is not just looking for a comfortable bed and a soft pillow; they are looking for experiences – personalized, unique, inspiring experiences that they can’t get anywhere else (or at home). As noted by Ariane Gorin, president, Expedia for Business, “Travel is about to experience a year unlike ever before as people plan purpose-driven trips, value vacation time more, and up their investment in unique experiences.”
While the number of business travelers staying at hotels is still below pre-pandemic levels, leisure and bleisure travelers (a hybrid of business and leisure) are back on the road. They are tech-savvy, and willing to share information and insights about themselves with the hotel. Per the PwC Customer Loyalty Survey, “Eighty-two percent (of those surveyed) would share some type of personal data for a better customer experience.”
When hotels can collect and analyze this information, they have a holistic view of their guests and can make data-driven decisions on how to delight them by anticipating their unique needs and expectations while acting upon them in real-time. Data-driven hotels can better serve their guests by offering tailored activities, desired amenities, and curated offers based on past stays, transactional insights, and predictive modeling. Hotels that implement innovative technology solutions to collect and activate guest data at every touchpoint across their property can offer personalized, zero disappointment experiences.
How Can Hotels Deliver Zero Disappointment Stays in Today’s Market?
Luxury hotels are known for their exceptional service levels and the truly personalized, exquisite experiences they deliver to their guests. They provide unmatched activities, amenities, unforgettable luxury and, before the pandemic, exceptional service. When hotel properties invest in tailored, data-driven solutions designed specifically for the hospitality market, existing staff have access to innovative technology that helps them be more efficient, creating moments that truly delight their guests at every touchpoint. Each of these moments adds up to an enriching, exceptional experience that over time forges deeper, lasting, more profitable relationships with the property.
Whether it is preference data that anticipates sending the right brand of champagne to the guest’s room right before arrival or securing hard-to-get concert tickets, hotels today need to take advantage of solutions that integrate seamlessly across property and accumulate data with each interaction. Paired with guest-facing technology, this integration creates a single guest profile that allows guests to truly personalize their ideal stay. A robust booking engine integrated with an intuitive property management system can offer guests the ability to book activities, dinner reservations, and special experience enhancers like room upgrades, a glass of wine in the room upon arrival or other personal touches when reserving their room. The result is a guest who has an unforgettable stay worth sharing with their network on social media, elevating the hotel’s brand image, and a hotel that sees increased revenue and a new champion for its property.
To maintain luxury service levels with fewer staff members and retain the best employees, hotels and resorts need to invest in technology solutions that create a better staff experience. This increases overall staff empowerment and satisfaction while also increasing retention and minimizing shortages. Allowing guests to book activities in advance of their stay allows the property to better manage schedules, and inventory needs, ensuring staff have the resources they need to delight guests in a more personalized way. In addition, when hotels implement mobile solutions like mobile check-in and digital keys, digitally savvy guests can manage their own check-in, allowing staff to concentrate on guests who desire a 1:1 check-in experience.
When properties have mobile point-of-sale solutions, guests can easily order food and beverages, automatically pay for their items, and have them delivered directly to their chairs, allowing the staff to focus on higher value, more personalized guest experiences instead. These solutions require fewer staff members, automate more manual, transactional tasks to greatly improve productivity that ultimately allows staff to spend more quality time with guests. This improves the on-property experience for everyone.
The most successful hotels have already invested in innovative technology that enhances the experiences of staff and guests. With the high return on experience for guests and staff delivered by implementing luxury hotel-specific technology solutions, properties are creating champions at every touchpoint. The results for staff are lower stress levels and higher retention, and for guests, more positive reviews, return stays and increased revenue.
The Importance of Zero Disappointment
Luxury properties that do not invest in technology risk creating critics of their staff and guests. Hospitality is a zero disappointment industry. Offering anything less is surrendering business to the competition. Luxury properties need to work with their technology partners to ensure they have the solutions purpose-built for hospitality in place that truly delight guests and their staff. Only by offering exceptional experiences … every time can a property thrive in a post-pandemic luxury world.