Hotel guest experience

Analysis

Next-gen hotel guests have checked in

The changing guest experience

While hotels are meeting basic lodging needs, today’s consumers want—and expect—much more from each stay. Hoteliers need to turbocharge the guest experience and tune into their needs to drive loyalty and increase repeat business. Our hotel guest experience (GX) report taps into how data-driven strategies can meet new consumer needs and help differentiate your brand in this ever-changing marketplace.

The hotel guest experience landscape

Hotels are mastering the basics, but guests have no reservations about demanding more. The principle of knowing guests is and has always been, at the core of understanding and delivering an exceptional hotel guest experience.

But the concept of having intimate knowledge of, and 24/7 attention on, the GX is being realized in new and different ways. Today, a hotel’s customer experience strategy must focus on delivering the exceptional high-touch hospitality guests are used to, while also focusing on the one-click, right-this-instant utility they receive from other industries.

In order to win and retain guest preference, hotels should be more thoughtful about how people and technology, powered by insights, weave together to deliver authentic hospitality.

Guest satisfaction scores across the hotel experience

Next-generation guest experience

If the challenge of GX starts with guest knowledge—but then depends upon the actions that arise from that knowledge—what is the path forward? Many hotels will find it involves the intersection of two key themes: An embrace of cognitive capabilities and the development of a partnership ecosystem.

Cognitive capabilities: Organizations that depend upon information can build cognitive capabilities when they combine big data technologies with cognitive computing to extract insight from data that previously went unused or under-used. In hotels, the cognitive advantage can enhance the guest experience by enabling the hotel to better serve them.

The partnership ecosystem: Fueled by cognitive insights, the new world of data-driven guest experience can also enable the development of a partnership ecosystem powered by digital engagement. Today, guests can order a rideshare quickly, order delivery from local restaurants, and schedule a fitness class on their phones in seconds. Make it easy for guests to engage with their preferred vendors. This partnership ecosystem has benefits for all types of hotels as it helps them provide the experience guests want while reducing hotels’ total cost to serve.

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Where to begin

In popular culture, the sight of a hotel literally “knowing the guest” often appears as the signifier of top-notch service. What if that were only the beginning of an even more sophisticated, more customized way to make every guest’s every visit match expectations?

Think big: Align your future-state cognitive-enabled vision
Chart your ambition for your GX of the future. Getting started does not mean solving all customer data challenges. The GX of the future is not achieved through data and technology alone.

Start small: Focus on high-impact and high-value quick wins
Identify proofs of concept (POC) that will advance your ambition while driving measurable impact on key performance indicators. Robotic process automation and machine learning sprints can help uncover immediate value with moderate time and monetary investment.

Iterate often: Test and learn to achieve success
Be ready to adopt or adapt quickly. Validate or abandon concepts, measure results, and iterate. Then work toward moving high-value POCs to scale.

Deciding what changes to make is what will ultimately set brands apart from the rest—with an artful combination of human and artificial intelligence to create authentic, anticipatory experiences guests don't even realize they want today.

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