Accommodation alone is not enough if you do not combine your offer with impeccable service and unique experiences.
And the Next-Gen guests expect much, much more.
Many have already adjusted based on numerous data from various loyalty programs, surveys, feedback, and reviews. With new generations of guests, this is inevitable for everyone.
The Guest Experience Landscape
Next-Gen is the common denominator for millennials and Generation Z, counting an impressive 151 million members in the United States, with $358 billion in consumer power. Meaning more than half of Americans are members of the millennial generation or are even younger.
In popular culture, a hotel that knows the guest is often paired with excellent service. What if it was just the beginning of an even more sophisticated and customized way to make each guest visit meet expectations?
Define the goal, harmonize expectations, possibilities, desires and needs. Top-notch experience is not achieved exclusively with digital solutions. The decision to change is what will ultimately set your offer apart. It is necessary to use technology and human touch suitably for authentic hospitality. A clever combination of human and artificial intelligence creates authentic experiences that guests don’t yet realize they want.
In the not-so-distant past, offer usually differed through different practices, recognizable products, and service quality. However, the above is only the base now.
Need for travelling.
According to research, Next-Gen members desire to travel. As they consider travel to be one of the vital experiences, the pandemic limitations have left them with a sense of missing out, which they will want to make up for as soon as possible.
When deciding on destinations and travel, the key player is digital content, consumed in unlimited quantities. 65% of Next-Gen members are inspired by digital content when planning a trip.
Authentic and unique experiences.
The new generation of travelers appreciates authentic and unique experiences. It does not mean the offer has to be extraordinary. It must be genuine and reflect the region. 43% of Next-Gen travelers are looking for experiences that are new to me.
Decisions are not necessarily based on loyalty.
Unlike other generations, Next-Gen members do not base their booking decision on loyalty. Instead, it is necessary to reflect the value and build long-term relationships by changing the loyalty program concept.
Although millennials and Generation Z will be pathfinders of future travel, their preferences can attract guests of different profiles. As the journey continues, everyone will be open to discovering new experiences and offers.
The imperative of knowing, understanding, and remembering guests’ preferences can classify guests preferences into four phases whose importance varies depending on the type of offer and the facility.
Communication with guests in a customized, authentic and attentive way.
According to research, the unfriendly staff is the second most common reason a guest leaves a negative review. Logically, kindness is the number one reason behind the positive experience.
Example: Allow the reception to devote more time to guests on arrival by using more efficient technology and automating repetitive tasks. When staff are more dedicated to guests, guests will share a positive review in 29% more cases.
How guests’ needs are recognized, if empathy is expressed, and willingness to resolve problems. According to Deloitte, the way guests can express themselves is the most crucial advantage. Still, only 62% of guests said their needs are heard and recognized.
Example: If a guest is dissatisfied and complains about some service aspect, a prompt and efficient response will result in 40% more chances for a positive review. Likewise, when booking, discovering the motivation behind choosing your offer will improve the experience for guests from the very beginning.
Flexibility and approach to shaping the experience according to the wishes and needs of the guests themselves, when and how they want. This phase is becoming an increasingly important factor. According to research, the importance of empowering guests to influence their own experience directly is approximately 20 times greater for travelers aged 18 to 34 than for those aged 55 to 70.
Example: Proactive recommendation of activities or attractions to younger guests. Allowing guests to tailor their stay and experiences to their wishes is a growing trend—guests staying in luxury accommodation value personalization 33% more than other guests’.
Creating moments that surprise guests, exceeding their expectations. Almost the same as guest empowerment, this segment becomes more and more significant. 71% of millennials want more moments like this than other generations.
New Tools & Approaches
Everyone who cares about service quality and sustainability knows the actual data value, which is extremely important for understanding guests’ preferences. As artificial intelligence and automation become unavoidable terms in the travel and hospitality industry, there are countless possibilities that such data can be used. Although the use and implementation of new systems and technological solutions are attractive, we repeat that it is also highly adaptable and flexible. And as such, only as such, it is and should be used to the maximum.
By investing in new technological solutions for the hotel, many focus on technical specifications and lose sight of the bigger picture. The latest technology cannot succeed if it does not reflect the needs and desires of guests. There are always those who take this philosophy too seriously. Embracing new solutions and technologies without the specific purpose of improving the guest experience, but with an intense concentration on the wow factor.
So how do you stand out if next year brings us a wave of technology-based guest experience? 🤔
One should distinguish the basics from thinking and offering outside the box. Creative thinking about how you could use technology to enhance the guest experience is the real difference.