Image courtesy of Magnani Caruso Dutton
Magnani Caruso Dutton (MCD), a digital customer experience agency for several of the world’s most recognized brands, recently announced results of a 1,000-consumer survey within three traveler segments – business, leisure and family – as well as travelers across these segments with the highest tendency to be loyal to a hotel brand. The report examined the needs and expectations of travelers, the types of digital offerings from hotels that were most compelling to them, and documented the importance of mobile features to make travelers’ stays more convenient and informed. Respondents indicated that, in return, the hotels might gain their loyalty.
The results found that 70 percent of travelers indicated that a hotel’s website, app and other digital tools impact their decision to book a stay, with those who feel most strongly about this also being twice as likely to consider customer service/experience as their top priority when booking. Moreover, 74 percent of travelers wanted substantial digital involvement from the hotels after check-in in order to make their visits better. And 80 percent of travelers found it important that a hotel allow them to set personal preferences that can be updated and saved for future use, happily exchanging personal information for a more customized and streamlined experience.
“With competition as fierce as ever, hotels looking to stand out to today's travelers need to meet their rising expectations for great digital experiences,” said John Caruso, creative director, partner at Magnani Caruso Dutton. “In particular, there is a huge opportunity for hotels to make better use of the device that is always with the traveler: the smartphone. Using mobile to increase personalization and convenience will create a better experience for guests, and factor into their next decision of where to stay.”
Desired Smartphone Capabilities
Travelers were asked which specific mobile capabilities they would be most likely to use if offered by a hotel. Indicative of a desire for timesaving and convenience, the top-five features were:
• To easily see offered amenities and hours (80 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
• To engage with maps of the areas they visit (78 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
• Automated check-in to bypass the front desk (73 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
• Late check-out (73 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
• Concierge tips about the places they visit (68 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
For Business Travelers, Experience Is a Top Priority
Business travelers presented particularly powerful opportunities for hotels to earn their return visits and increase customer lifetime value by giving them the digital experiences they want. This segment tends to stay with the same hotel brand again and again, more so than family and leisure travelers. When asked how frequently they tend to stay at 30 major U.S. hotel brands, business travelers selected "often" or "always" twice as often as family travelers and three times more than leisure travelers. In addition, business travelers ranked past positive experience higher than participation in their preferred rewards program as an influencing factor when choosing a hotel. This, along with their ability to de-prioritize price, points to the opportunity to increase customer lifetime value.
This study was fielded online from Oct. 28 to Nov. 5, 2013 and includes responses from 1,000 U.S. consumers evenly segmented as business travelers, leisure travelers and family travelers. Traveler type was assigned based on travel behaviors and patterns, and travel was defined as including a hotel stay. Respondents were 18 years or older, owned a smartphone, and were diversified in age, gender, household income, and level of education.
The study was commissioned by MCD and fielded by Vision Critical. View the full report here.