New research is pointing to the fact that interaction between hotels and their guests is shifting more and more to the digital world. There is talk of the new mobile-first travel customer that often prefers to share their hotel experience online. This is particularly true for Millennials and frequent business travelers.
For example, someone at a Hilton hotel shared their problem with air conditioning on the Hilton Suggests social media service instead of talking to a hotel employee.
“This highlighted for us how customers are changing,” said Chris Silcock, senior vice president of Commercial Services at Hilton Worldwide. “Even if they’re in the hotel, they won’t necessarily always speak to the hotel.”
With technology freeing up resources in other areas, hotels have the opportunity to reallocate them. Listening to social media, instant reaction and problem resolution should become a priority.
If travelers turn to digital, brands and hotels should also react by providing useful software.
What is it though, guests are looking for in hotel or brand apps when staying at a hotel? A survey from Software Advice, a company that provides reviews on hotel management software, found that the most popular feature for U.S. travelers (36%) is interactive maps helping them to get around the area.
In second place, 27% say local coupons or discounts would be used most often while in-room service only ranks in third place with 23%. Interestingly, loyalty programme features are much less important to travelers at just 14%.
Amongst the interactive map feature category, maps with top restaurant locations is what 50% of users would be likely to use and they would prefer local restaurant and bar discounts to discounts at the hotel.
The most popular in-room service feature is detailed menus with photos, followed by the ability to pay directly from within the app.