The next normal will include travel — but modified with extra safety measures to keep passengers and crew members healthy.
In the current age of social media where everyone’s opinion is typed out in 140 characters or fewer, if you’re not actively seeking ways to upgrade your hotel with the latest and greatest, hotel guests notice and publish their travel experience for the entire world to see.
More and more travelers are posting running commentaries on social media, describing where they go, what they do and how their trip measures up. Travelers can either criticize a hotel for neglecting facility upgrades, or boast about its innovation.
A social media sample of 650,000 Twitter conversations focused on the hotel guest experience, during a 90-day period from March through May 2015, provides some interesting insights for hoteliers about what their guests want most from their stay.
Tech-Savvy Travelers Seek Exceptional Connectivity
From leisure travelers to business travelers, connectivity is a prevalent theme across social media conversations. In-room Wi-Fi is an important issue for anyone traveling with a mobile device.
A recent survey of thousands of hotel customers from Hotels.com revealed that 53 percent of hotel guests wish free, stable Wi-Fi connectivity was a standard amenity. The social media posts sampled indicated that customers are willing to pay for Wi-Fi, but generally consider it a perk when a hotel offers complimentary Wi-Fi.
Guests Anticipate Modern In-Room Entertainment
How can hotels stay a step ahead? Wow guests. In-room entertainment matters to guests. While, guests not only want seamless internet connectivity, they react negatively to outdated television technology.
According to a 2014 Gallup analysis of what matters most to guests, amenity improvements and custom messaging sit high on the priorities list for guests. Overall, about half of the 13,515 customers Gallop surveyed – from economy, midscale, upper midscale and luxury segments – expressed willingness to pay more for improved in-room entertainment and still favor watching content on a television as opposed to a mobile device.
On social media, complaints revolved around actual outdated technology – from aging standard definition TVs, built-in DVD players and broken or missing remotes/buttons – causing guests to beg for their household amenities.
Roughly 4,000 tweets in this social media sample centered on the television, not about the act of watching television, just about the type of television technology their room had. A handful of additional complaints surfaced around not being able to connect personal devices to room televisions, increasingly a “must-have” feature as the average worker now uses four devices per day, according to Frost and Sullivan.
Impress Guests at Every Corner With Stellar Amenities
One of the first things guests seem to notice upon entering their rooms is the view. Whether travelers have a window, balcony or perfect view of a neighboring alleyway, nearly 15,000 tweets described the view – or had a photo – and the ratio of positive to negative was 3:1.
Food is a major issue for any traveler. Whether they have in-room snack options available, to free breakfast in the hotel lobby. In-room snacks and food mentions accounted for a total of 10,000 tweets. All mentions centered on the idea, or desire, of getting food or snacks without having to leave the hotel. A major theme was how people like hotel menus and they are not happy when they have to search for a snack.
The size, comfort level, and cleanliness of a room’s bed and linens were of top concern to guests with more than 16,000 tweets mentioning at least one of those aspects. Guests will voice their opinions on social media about cleanliness, bed size and comfort level – the majority is positive with some guests even going as far as stating they prefer hotel beds to their own.
Guests also seem to get very excited about bathroom amenities with more than 10,000 tweets addressing bathroom features, ranging from the types of soap/shampoo offered to the water pressure, or having phones or televisions by the toilet.
Word of Mouth Is Still Effective – Even Across Social Media
Audiences trust the opinions expressed on social media – specifically young audiences. A 2015 report about key trends in hospitality from Revinate suggests that a social media star could have more purchase influence than traditional marketing tactics or Hollywood star endorsements. If a social media user posts a story about a faulty remote at their last hotel, more than likely this will influence the decision of that user’s followers. Customer opinions and word-of-mouth marketing still pose as driving influential factors in the hospitality industry.
While some hoteliers thrive in providing the finest hotel experiences, others are risking being left behind. This growing divide has contributed to why alternative accommodations, like home-sharing sites and boutique hotels, have gained popularity. These facilities personalize the travel experience. It’s all about creating an experience of a lifetime to inspire repeat customers. Every hotel should make it a point to keep guests engaged. To encourage repeat guests, hoteliers must create custom-made experiences.
Now is the time to listen to your customers and upgrade your hotel’s in-room entertainment. Samsung is offering a buyback program for hotels purchasing 50 or more new Samsung Hospitality TVs. In addition to a rebate, Samsung will pick up and recycle the old units, reducing disposal costs and saving the environment in the process.*