I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: guests’ needs haven’t changed, expectations have. That means a lot in today’s digitally-driven world where demand for agility, quality and speed are at an all-time high. It also can mean many different things considering today’s wide generational spectrum.
In the past, I’ve offered go-to tips on how to exceed these expectations—plan ahead, capture cues, prepare your staff—but how exactly are these expectations changing? That is, what’s really going on in the mind of the average guest today?
The answer: a lot. Consider the following 20 statistics derived from various reports, surveys, and studies:
1. Top motivations to travel for Gen Xers and Baby Boomers include “relaxing and unwinding,” yet for millennials it’s “to have new experiences.” (Source)
2. 85 percent of customers believe travel is a worthwhile investment, while 64 percent rank leisure travel as a top priority in life. (Source)
3. 80 percent of customers would rather have their future travel experiences dominated by “authentic and sincere interactions” than streamlined, automated service. (Source)
4. 79 percent of customers believe their travel hassles could be made up for by exceptional customer service. (Source)
5. 72 percent expect higher levels of customer service when they travel compared to their daily life. (Source)
6. 83 percent of millennials are in favor of hotels using data about past travel purchases to deliver a more personalized experience; meanwhile, 62 percent of Gen Xers and 57 percent of Baby Boomers feel the same. (Source)
7. 64 percent of customers say they rely on websites or mobile apps to find activities, events, etc. when traveling to a new or unfamiliar place. (Source)
8. 88 percent of guests believe that mobile booking options with live travel service professionals will be more important five years from now. (Source)
9. 68 percent of guests want to use their smartphone to speed up check in. (Source)
10. 40 percent of guests today have hotel mobile apps, while 30 percent are inclined to download one. (Source)
11. When it comes to text and email notifications, 89 percent want notifications that confirm their room booking; 88 percent want to be notified of issues or changes to bookings; and 84 percent want notifications pertaining to room readiness. (Source)
12. 70 percent of guests today want location-based coupons/specials. (Source)
13. 50 percent of guests still use traditional loyalty cards, while 25 percent use mobile loyalty programs. (Source)
14. 75 percent of guests are willing to share personal information in exchange for tailored promotions; however, 80 percent want to control how their information is used to tailor their experience. (Source)
15. 68 percent of travelers say they see little to no noticeable difference between hotel chains today; compare this to 57 percent of consumers who see significant differences among airlines. (Source)
16. 27 percent of guests use a consumer feedback site to decide where to stay. (Source)
17. Summer vacations, multi-generational trips and weekend getaways were listed as top destinations by 95 percent of domestic travelers last year. (Source)
18. Only 54 percent of U.S. travelers used all of their vacation time last year; even then, one-third were likely to bring work with them on vacation. (Source)
19. By September 2015, 18 percent of all international travel planned for 2016 had already been fully booked; meanwhile, at that time, half of all domestic trips were still “just an idea.” (Source)
20. 51 percent of millennials use online review sites like Yelp; meanwhile, only 36 percent of Gen Xers do and just 24 percent of Baby Boomers do. (Source)
So, who's ready to start making some changes?