In the ever-competitive hospitality industry, what are some of the emerging trends in amenities hotels can offer to better create a next-level, loyalty-building experience for their guests?
From what we see in the market, it’s no longer enough for hotels to bank on value, location and brand loyalty to bring guests to the check-in desk. A good address and even better pricing are givens for guests now, not reasons to choose one property over another. To bring guests back time and time again, hotels should consider cutting-edge, next-level guest amenities which truly build an outstanding and memorable guest experience.
The new traveler: Amenities, personalization and the millennial market
People want to watch what they want, eat what they want, and do what they want when they stay at a hotel. In 2018, guests are no longer “stuck” with options offered by the front desk, room service or on Pay-Per-View. The era of the “self-contained” hotel is over, and properties which support the flexibility guests want will win that ever-coveted customer loyalty.
For a good indicator of which amenities to incorporate, turn to the millennial families hitting the road. Millennial families spend thousands of dollars per year on travel as a matter of basic math – a family of four is likely to spend more than their single or coupled counterparts. That’s more mouths to feed, larger cars needed for rides, and even more rooms booked if their party is big enough. As a result, they’re driving the demand for new amenities, personalization, and guest appreciation.
So, what are some of those amenities which inject that flexibility into the guest experience?
1. Tap into text concierge
A frictionless hotel stay means fulfilling guest needs as quickly and smoothly as possible, which means being available when and how guests want. In a world where 7 out of 10 millennials prefer texting over talking on the phone, offering text-based concierge is a natural next step for hotel managers.
Powered by a chatbot, text-based concierge can take the burden off the front desk and process requests for more towels, accept room service orders or provide information on local tourist attractions. Guests receive a welcome message from the text-based concierge when they check in. When guests check out, the chatbot can send a survey to collect feedback — data which is then used for hotel improvements and to build a more rounded customer profile.
2. Leverage customer data to enhance the in-room experience
It’s time to act on the customer data you’ve been requesting from your guests. Hotels are often sitting on a treasure trove of information about their guests: reasons for staying, room preferences, and more. Acting upon your guest’s preferences without them asking shows that you’re paying attention and truly care about their patronage, crafting an unforgettable experience and building customer loyalty.
This personalization can be based on something as simple as the guest’s reason for checking in. Those in town for summer vacation, for example, would appreciate an extra hotel-sized sunblock in the amenity kit. A more detailed profile may reveal patterns in travel behavior, such as a guest who never fails to visit the spa or always orders a black coffee at 7 a.m. Offering a complimentary spa add-on or automatically delivering the drink goes a long way in fostering that ever-coveted customer loyalty.
3. Offer complimentary local rides
Hotels can help relieve the burden of transportation from travelers by offering a (complimentary) way for guests to get to local destinations during their stay, adding a memorable finishing touch to the suite of standard amenities. The Uber Central dashboard makes it easy for employees to order multiple guest rides on demand or schedule rides in advance.
When your guests arrive, having a ride not only waiting at the airport, but waiting the next day to take them to one of the top three local destinations, creates a truly personalized, delightful, and hassle-free moment.
On the other side of the equation, working with a partner like Uber to arrange guest rides gives you the power to build additional upsell packages, and also helps to reduce overhead by supplementing or replacing shuttle costs.
Complimentary rides can also be used as a tool for customer service: if a guest had a less-than-stellar stay, a ride in a premium vehicle can be offered.
4. It’s time to get serious about your hotel Wi-Fi
Slow and unsteady Wi-Fi, or charging for faster Wi-Fi, is a disservice for the guests who rely on it (And let’s face it – that’s nearly every single guest in 2018). Such limitations prevent guests from performing everyday tasks, creating unnecessary frustrations during what’s supposed to be a frictionless stay. Providing the same quality of Wi-Fi guests expect at home or at the office will go a long way in crafting that smooth experience guests want when they check in – and hopefully, make its way into a positive review.
5. Calling guests by name–literally
Guests don’t want to be treated like they’re just another credit card number — they want to know that their business is valued. For hotel managers, a step in the right direction is to simply swap out general greetings for names and some information drawn from the customer data.
“Dear guest, we hope you enjoy your stay” on the check-in form doesn’t have the same impact as “Dear Jim, we hope you and your family enjoy your four-night vacation.” Demonstrating that you’re paying attention shows that your guest’s business is valued and appreciated like they’re a part of the extended hotel family.
The check-in desk can even go a step further, adding a handwritten note whenever possible. A few minutes of extra effort can make or break the guest experience in the age of personalization.
6. Allow food delivery as an alternative to room service
Leaving the hotel just to eat can be an exhausting prospect for some travelers, but not every guest is satisfied with the choices available through room service.
Allowing guests to order take-out to their room via delivery like UberEats demonstrates the hotel’s commitment to guest comfort and willingness to cater to their needs, instead of just pushing its own offerings onto guests.
This also wins the favor of guests with dietary restrictions the hotel can’t always accommodate.
Personalization is driving the newest trends in guest amenities. How can hotels support the guests’ desire to eat, watch, and go where they want, all while including those little touches which demonstrate appreciation for the guest’s business?
While it may seem like a lot of effort to personalize the guest experience, it only takes a little bit of work upfront for such long-lasting payoff. Many of these services can be carried out by using guest information you have already requested permission to use and have stored on file, or existing services can be modified and expanded to accommodate.
Guests likely won’t forget when you offer a fast ride to or from the airport, jot down a handwritten note thanking them for their patronage, or give them the tools to eat sushi in their PJs in the comfort of their hotel room.
Before you leave: Uber Central gives you a powerful way to use Uber to delight your guests. Call guest rides immediately, schedule in advance, or send a link to ride when they’re ready. Reduce your shuttle overheads, and no minimum spend required. Set up an account now.