Two-thirds of hotel guests are ready for the new era of tech-driven hospitality

Joe Youssef

Executive Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Development, Hospitality, Amadeus

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You’ve finally checked-in after a grueling long-haul flight. While unpacking, pangs of hunger suddenly strike. But you’re too tired to go to the hotel restaurant or even pick up the phone to order room service. Fortunately, your room is equipped with a voice assistant and before you know it you’re enjoying a delicious meal.

This is just one of many possible scenarios where technology can improve the hospitality experience. There is a high level of interest from guests for a variety of tech-driven services from their hospitality providers. This could range from staying in a room with smart devices, using augmented reality apps to see what a hotel room looks like during the booking process or even using virtual reality to experience a holiday destination. 65% of the more than 7,500 respondents who took part in a study to look into the future of the hospitality industry indicated they would be interested in each one of these scenarios. In fact, 20% and more of the respondents said that they had already experienced these services. 

These are just some of the interesting findings from an Amadeus and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) commissioned study entitled Drivers of Change in Hospitalityby global consumer trends research agency, Foresight Factory. The study covered over 12 markets across Europe, Americas and Asia to provide a pulse on what the guest of tomorrow is looking for. So, while the customer wish list from a holiday stays quite typical in some ways - people travel for relaxation, spending time with the family and gaining new experiences, interestingly, escape from technology is last in terms of priority. 

Guests in fact expect to bring their existing preferences for the latest technology even on vacation. The most appealing tech offers/gizmos guests showed interest in included data bridging smart apps such as earphones that can immediately translate what someone speaking in a different language is saying (76%), or even access to a voice assistant in the hotel room to help with requests (64%). 

While convenience, friendliness of staff and flexibility remain the key determining factors in guests' choices for hotels - there is growing importance given to parameters such as always-on service, personalization, internationalism and curation. And while human service still wins out over self-service (63% prefer interacting with hotel staff), it would be prudent to say that there are signs of healthy growth in automation especially for more functional actions like booking a taxi, paying a bill, or ordering room service. Maybe it comes as no surprise, given their highly developed chat landscape and sophisticated mobile usage patterns, but Asians top the scorecard on self-service and the use of technology.  

  • While only 26% of Europeans and 40% of Americans would opt for an automated bill paying service, as many as 53% of Asians would opt for a self-service bill paying technology.
  • Asian travelers also lead the way on use of technology in hotels. Attributed to their highly developed chat landscape, 42% of Asians have already used a chat messenger to check on their hotel booking versus 35% of Americans and 22% of Europeans. 

While the guest of a few years ago expected to find bathrobes and a range of toiletries for their personal use in the room; the guest of tomorrow is looking for algorithm type services that can provide tips on what to do during the holiday, or a personalized room that is furnished to their needs. This is where attribute-based booking comes in. 

Technology is enabling hotels to take their loyalty programs to the next level and allowing guests to curate the room and the experience they desire. Attribute-based bookingallows guests that personal curation and enables  hotels to increase direct bookings and decide what attributes of the room and property add value to the trip more effectively. At Amadeus, we are already working with customers such as IHG on integrating attribute-based booking to our technology offering. An integral part of IHG Concerto is IHG’s new Guest Reservation System. With the successful rollout of the initial phase  across more than 5,600 hotels around the world now complete, IHG is looking ahead to the next phase – the development and piloting of attribute pricing, shopping and booking. This will offer guests a much greater degree of customization over their stay, as they will be able to book a room based on the specific attributes that matter most to them.

Want to find out more about the key trends set to change the hospitality industry? Download a copy of the Drivers of Change in Hospitality report here.