Transforming Your Hotel Experience: Exceed New Guest Expectations [Webinar]

by | August 2, 2021

Hotel guest expectations have been steadily rising over the last decade. The increase has been fueled by the introduction of more online review sites and growth in traveler feedback. COVID-19 raised the bar even higher for hoteliers, completely transforming what travelers consider a five-star hotel experience. In this webinar, we will talk about what aspects of a guest’s stay have gone from “above and beyond” to “new normal.” We will discuss what travelers returning back to the hotel world want to see from you and how you can exceed their changing expectations.

Let’s get started today and learn how to far exceed new guest expectations by transforming your hotel experience.

Hotel Pool Upgrade

And we will start today’s webinar with a routine scenario in the industry: hotel renovations. In this instance, the hotel’s pool. Now in most cases, when a major amenity is being renovated at a property, there tends to be a lot of notice and communication shared with incoming travelers, informing them what they can expect when they arrive on the property. Hotels do this in an attempt to lessen the impact that this will have on a guest’s overall hotel experience.

What happens when this is not effectively communicated to the traveler? The answer: upset and disappointed guests. Your front desk could hear things like, “The pool is closed! I was not expecting this. No one told me this. If I had known, I never would have never booked here.” And just like that, the traveler has a negative start to their stay and most likely will end with a bad review online and the last time you will ever see that traveler. All due to the hotel not properly setting expectations for the traveler.

Hotel Experience Upgrade

Fast forward to today: your hotel’s pool might not be under renovation, but over the last year and a half, the entire experience at your hotel has changed. Hoteliers have been renovating their property experience to meet the “new normal” standards ushered in by COVID-19. But like the pool, if these changes are not properly communicated to the traveler and the right expectations are not set, you run the risk of upsetting and disappointing your guests on property. And right now traveler expectations are higher than ever.

Why Are Expectations So High

But why are they? Well, the first and most obvious reason is cleanliness. It’s not that prior to COVID-19, guests didn’t expect a clean room, but now guests associate cleanliness with their own health and safety, so the stakes for hoteliers have never been this high.

The second reason is the emergence and popularity of On-Demand Services. With the pandemic came the rise in on-demand services like UberEats and Netflix. Consumers expect things done right now, at their convenience, not yours. In the hotel industry, mobile check-in allows a simple, frictionless experience whenever a guest arrives on the property. On-Demand Services will continue to push traveler expectations to new highs as technology keeps integrating with the hotel experience.  

The last reason traveler expectations are so high today is because of the exceptional Customer Service guests have been receiving this past year. Think about it: in 2020, hotels saw historically low levels of guests on their property. With fewer travelers, hotels became much more attentive to the needs of those that were traveling and even waiving cancellation fees and accommodating those that weren’t.

Now with the labor shortage and travel back to 2019 levels in some places, it’s harder for hoteliers to meet that same level of service. Unfortunately, that extra attention is no longer an added benefit, it’s a requirement for guests. And if that level of customer service is not being met, you will hear about it online, through online reviews and feedback.

So the question is how do we meet these crazy levels of guest expectation right now? And to do that, let’s first get some insights into what type of travelers are staying at hotels right now.

Cautious Traveler Profile

The first type of traveler we’ll cover today, we will call the cautious traveler. This is a guest that maybe didn’t do a lot or any traveling in 2020. This could be their first time stepping foot in a hotel since 2019.

This traveler’s top priority is cleanliness and probably did a lot of research online prior to booking in order to feel comfortable staying at your property. This guest is also hoping to see some aspect of social distancing at the hotel and is on the lookout for “new normal” hotel policies and updates to keep guests healthy and safe.

With almost 2 years removed from the hotel world, these types of travelers have completely different expectations from before and essentially have to re-learn what it’s like to stay in a hotel in 2021. 

Adventurous Traveler Profile

Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, we have a different type of traveler. Let’s call them the Adventurous Traveler. This is a guest that is used to the new hotel experience and maybe did quite a bit of traveling in 2020 or the first half of this year. Because of this, they are comfortable with communicating with the hotel over text, social media, and other non-face-to-face channels.

They know how to check-in using their mobile phone and expect quick and exceptional customer service. The kind of service they have been experiencing when they might have been the only ones traveling. These guests, unlike the cautious traveler, have nothing to re-learn, because to them this is the normal hotel experience.

Now does every traveler fall into one of these two categories? Of course not. There are varying degrees of each, but when we look at guest expectations for your property, it’s important to keep this information in mind, because both types of travelers expect completely different – and sometimes conflicting – things from your hotel experience.

When you understand the expectations of each traveler, you’ll feel even more prepared for the situations you’ll find yourself in as occupancy continues to rise.

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