What Modern Guest Prefers? A Detailed Guide.
What a guest expects from a hotel room in 2021 is oceans away from what they expected in 2001. Or even from what they expected in 2011, for that matter. Enormous changes come over customer behavior in a mere span of a decade. And 2021 is not just any other year. It’s the second year of a global pandemic.
But does a modern guest only care about the hotel following COVID-19 related rules? Or are there other factors that have also majorly changed customer behavior and their preferences?
In this article, we will delve into exactly that. This is a detailed guide on understanding the preferences of a modern guest.
For this, I will be focusing on three major factors. Of course, COVID-19 is the first. The second is climate change. And the third- dependence on technology.
It is difficult to say whether introversion grew due to technology or whether introversion fuelled some technological advancements. The first major change that came over the hotel industry stemmed from introversion itself. Or, you could even look at it as people wanting to preserve their autonomy in this temporarily borrowed space.
Guests wanted to be left alone. From 2015 itself, guests showed an overwhelming preference for hotels that allowed self-check-in. They wanted to limit their interaction with the staff as much as possible. This allowed them to have more control over their own stay. This, of course, was exacerbated by the pandemic when self-check-in is no longer a preference, but a necessity.
In this guide, I’ll tell you exactly which modern trends in travel you have to keep an eye out for.
What Does a Modern Guest Prefer?
Contactless Check-In, Check-Out & Payments
Why “contactless” is the main buzzword of 2020-21 doesn’t need to be elaborated upon. Travel had come to a stop not just because of government-imposed travel bans. Travelers themselves were justifiably scared of coming into contact with people from various other places.
And a hotel lobby is exactly where this sort of interaction is forced upon guests. This is exactly why people started opting for more Airbnbs or rented vacation stays instead of hotels.
One way your hotel can compete with these other options is by introducing contactless check-in and check-out. Contactless check-in can simply be done through the guest’s mobile. And it can be done way before the guest even sets foot in the hotel. This also ensures that the housekeeping staff can keep the room prepared before the guest actually arrives. This ensures that you don’t have to worry about human contamination the moment you step in.
Self-check-out is also equally convenient. It too can be done through a mobile app. The hotel just sends you the list of remaining expenses along with a payment link. You don’t need to even carry a card or ask for a card reader. You can leave, as you had previously arrived, without interacting with anyone.
As a hotelier, you can provide these facilities by investing in a Property Management System like StayFlexi. This is a cloud-based software that allows you to control the entire management of your property through automations. Contactless self-check-in and check-out are facilities provided by StayFlexi. The guest can even extend their stay without interacting with the staff. All they have to do is register their request on the app. If rooms are available, their request will be granted and the new guests will be shifted to another room seamlessly. StayFlexi also allows you to send payment links and online vouchers.
Reduced Interaction With Staff
This directly follows the first point. Of course, guests now want to interact with as few staff members as possible. And I’m sure your staff members want the same as well, to ensure their own safety.
This is exactly why StayFlexi’s Smart Housekeeping feature is so incredible. In this, guests simply have to put in their requests on their mobile apps or website. The requests are received by the staff member who has been assigned that particular room. The guests don’t need to call the front desk for this purpose. If that particular staff member is busy, the request gets redirected to the backup staff. As soon as the request has been fulfilled, the staff member can update this on the app. This way no guest request gets lost in a lengthy game of Telephone.
There are many completely staffless hotels in America right now. Only the housekeeping staff remains on-ground. Guests can check themselves in and then leave without having interacted with anyone. When they check out, the housekeeping staff steps in to clean the rooms. The management and administration of these facilities are completely automated and run through a PMS.
Digital Room Keys
This also ties in with the first two points. If you are opting for a contactless check-in, you obviously don’t want a physical key. Who knows how many hands it might have passed through?
This is exactly why modern guests prefer digital keys to their rooms. These can be of various kinds. Several hotels employ a Radio Frequency Identification method (also called RFID). I won’t go into the explanation of exactly how this works. But all you have to have for this is your mobile phone. The door to your room will have a reader that will match the frequencies and let you enter. Neither your phone nor you have to come into contact with anything.
This same purpose can also be achieved with a simpler QR Code or a password. The main intention of digital room keys is to ensure that you have autonomy. There is no chance of losing your hotel keycard this way.
You might not think this is a big deal but it is. Climate Change and Global Warming are issues that are constantly in discussion now. Most guests care about these things. And even the ones that don’t, are bound to be impressed by earth-friendly amenities.
“Sustainability” and “eco-friendly” are not fads anymore. You genuinely have to ensure that your property does not adversely harm the nature that surrounds it.
How to be sustainable in the hotel industry?
There are various ways around it. The bigger steps include options like smart lighting and installing solar panels. Remember, smart lighting actually reduces your electricity bills. Besides these, you can have a variety of eco-friendly options. Your hotel can practice rainwater harvesting to grow organic fruits and vegetables. Guests can pick out what they want for dinner. You can even try using recycled materials to form the room interiors.
Remember, in the long term, sustainability doesn’t just get you more guests. It also saves you money. Smart lighting and smart showers are the best examples of that.
Virtual Reality Tours
You must have heard of the expression “Internet of Things” or IoT. Technology has come a long way. And now you can take a tour of your hotel from the comfort of your own room.
When you are deciding whether or not to get a reservation, you must justifiably want to survey the property. With Virtual Reality tours, you can do just that. You may or may not decide to use a VR set for this. Either way, you will get a glimpse of each nook and cranny of the hotel that you are planning to pay for.
Within the hotel itself, this augmented reality option is often used for other purposes. For example, you can use this for virtual yoga or pilates classes from within your room. This gives you more control over your time. And also ensures that you don’t have to frequent a crowded class. Entertainment options rise exponentially with augmented reality. Some hotels even offer virtual live concerts.
Modern guests prefer not to be treated like one of the nameless thousands who frequent your hotel every year. They want to be treated as themselves. They want their own likes and dislikes to be accounted for.
The reason for this expectation of individual attention is simple.
Spotify knows your favorite songs. Google knows exactly what you are shopping for. Facebook knows exactly which memes you will laugh at. YouTube knows which kind of videos you are most likely to binge on. Why shouldn’t your hotel know how you prefer your stay to be?
So, as a hotelier, how can you give individual attention to all of your guests? Thankfully, a PMS can help with that. As I have told you before, a PMS is a cloud-based system. This explains why it can store heaps of data about your guests without ever having to discard anything.
Your PMS will have detailed guest profiles that will contain all of their preferences. Since the entire process is digitized, it’s way easier to store each little bit of information. From their food preferences to their preferred visiting spots. Since none of the interactions are getting lost in conversation, you can record it all and use it later.
This is one of the most effective ways to not only get loyal customers but also to practice targeted marketing. You have to know your guests to serve them better. And a PMS like StayFlexi helps you out with exactly that.
Amenities like air conditions, a flatscreen TV, a gym, etc. are common. Every hotel has them. Therefore, modern guests have started looking for something new. Something more advanced.
As I have said time and again, guests want more autonomy. Having Smart Rooms gives them this much-wanted autonomy over their own living space. In smart rooms, guests can control the temperature, lighting, TV modules, etc. with their hotel mobile app. No separate remote is required for this purpose.
Some hotels even have Alexa in their rooms. The guests can simply issue voice commands or ask questions. No amount of prior learning the process is required for this purpose.
Besides these, smart rooms also have the augmented reality entertainment options that I have mentioned before in point 5. And if you don’t have the budget for this, just consider investing in a Netflix package.
Have you heard of this word before? Well, it’s slowly and steadily gaining momentum. “Workation” stands for a mix between work and vacation. You work during the morning and then enjoy the rest of your stay in the lap of nature. This is perhaps the newest trend in travel for obvious reasons.
Almost everyone who can afford to work from home is doing so. And one of the perks of working from home is that you can basically do it from anywhere. Anywhere that has a steady internet connection, that is.
This is exactly why modern guests are preferring hotels that are equipped to let them work. This means a good WiFi connection, a workstation, and a lot of USB plug points.
Remember, if you have these facilities, it makes your hotel perfect for business conferences as well. All business conferences will almost definitely also be broadcast through Google Meet, Zoom, etc. now. So, your hotel needs to be properly equipped at all times to handle that load. Guests are now wary of places with absolutely no working internet option. This is because they are always expected to remain alert.
So, what are the main trends that you could spot from this list?
Guests want their autonomy. They don’t want unnecessary interactions. And they want modern technology to be utilized to the fullest. Be it for the purpose of entertainment or work. And last but not the least, they care about the environment.
As I have explained in this article, a PMS like StayFlexi can help you with many of those above trends. If you want to know exactly how StayFlexi can help with personalization, do leave a comment below!