Guests are the lifeblood of any luxury hotel. Understanding their needs and wants is key to providing an exemplary experience. Especially when encouraging them to return time and time again.
Since the pandemic began in 2019, consumer spending in the hospitality industry decreased by a devastating 70%. While it is slowly and steadily growing again, the negative effects of the pandemic are still painfully obvious to those within the hospitality world.
Throughout this post, we will look at the different customer needs and wants in a hotel. By understanding your target customers' desires you can create a hotel experience that they won't forget.
Different customer groups have different expectations.
The first step to meeting your customer's needs is to identify your buyer persona.
Whether it's fitness and well-being, memorable guest experiences or even a good value family break, deciding on your target audience is key to choosing which needs and wants you should cater to.
Throughout this post, we will talk about the generic needs and wants of hotel guests for a luxury hotel. There will obviously be more specific needs and wants for your particular target audience. But you should be able to use this post as a skeleton to build on.
So what are the customer needs and wants in a hotel for 2021 going into 2022? Let's take a look.
The guest experience starts even before guests walk through the door. The hotel must create a great first impression before providing an experience that exceeds expectations.
By utilising an online presence to build a hotel brand, hotels can directly communicate to their customer base. Not only does this effectively entice customers to the hotel, but it also helps set guest expectations.
By using social media, their website, email and even text, hotels can communicate to the guests at each step of their guest journey.- Prior to arrival, during their stay and after their stay.
By keeping in touch with the guest, hotels can improve communication, guest loyalty and guest personalisation. -All key factors in setting and meeting their hotel needs.
Some information to share should include:
Understanding your target audience is key to getting noticed and enticing customers to your hotel.
Find out which social media platforms your target audience are mostly at.
For business/ professional clientele use Linkedin. For Boomers, use Facebook. For Millennials, jump onto Instagram.
Your marketing, language, brand design and content should all reflect and speak out to your target audience's needs and meet them on their level.
For example, a high-end hotel shouldn’t use language with “BOGOF”, “Big Savings” or “Cheap deals” as their target audience has the financial capacity to avoid the ‘value travel stays’. They're looking for hotels that offer exclusivity and luxury.
Perhaps you could argue that free Wi-Fi connectivity is now an essential need for hotel guests. - especially if travelling.
Everyone uses their internet for different needs. No matter how necessary their reasoning, guests have come to expect and need a hotel with a good internet connection. To not supply a free connection, you may as well wave bye-bye to almost all of your hotel guests.
Once guests have checked in, the hotel must deliver on what was promised to them during their stay.
This includes personalizing services, delivering on time, and offering attentive service at all times.
While we are moving fast into a technological world, the basics of hospitality are still fundamental to the guest experience. Hotels that can be attentive while using innovative technology to engage with their guests will strengthen their relationship and see them returning. This is easily achieved with contactless guest communication apps such as Benbria’s Loop customer engagement app.
Hoteliers can utilise customer communication through text messaging and receive valuable feedback from guests through a customer feedback touchpoint.
The customer wants mobile check-in and check-out
Mobile check-out is becoming more popular at hotels too. Many guests prefer the convenience of being able to leave using their phone rather than being forced to wait in line for hours at checkout time.
Providing this optional service can speed up the checking in and out process- vastly improving the experience.
However, hotels should still allow an in-person checking in and out for those guests who don't want to use technology. Some guests really do prefer face-to-face service. It's important to meet these needs if required.
A clean and presentable hotel is a must- especially in hindsight of the COVID pandemic. With the virus still present, hotels need to carefully manage guests expectations around their health and safety practices. Especially to avoid the spreading of the coronavirus between hotel guests,
There are many new cleaning procedures that hotels have adopted into their daily cleaning practices that can meet guests expectations while reducing the spread of Coronavirus.
These include longer, deeper and more thorough cleaning practices after guests have checked out and prior to new guests checking in. However, hotels need to be careful not to harm guest expectations with their new COVID procedure.
Some of the COVID cleaning practices include:
Hotels need to manage room amenities carefully. Some hotels have now removed expected amenities such as face flannels and cleansing packs (Including earbuds, cotton pads and a shower cap).
These are disposable items anyway, so it doesn’t make sense for them to be taken away from the service due to COVID (In my personal opinion anyway!)
Tables and seating have been moved further apart, allowing more privacy and less crowding in public areas such as bars, lounges or restaurants.
Some hotels have introduced a lower maximum number of guests on the poolside. Even ensuring pool and spa facility use is pre-booked for a certain amount of time. While this can be frustrating to guests if they can't book a slot during their stay, it can also make the experience more enjoyable for guests who can enjoy the space with less crowding.
As with any COVID restrictions, there is a delicate balance to allowing guests to feel safe while trying not to restrict them and remove their wants and needs.
It goes without saying, but as this post is about hotel needs and wants, a comfortable stay is an absolute must!
A hotel room must meet the basic needs of comfort and total relaxation.
Beds must be comfortable, with clean and inviting bedding. The room lighting must be soft and calming. While the sounds are managed well from other rooms, corridors and external sources. - A night's stay with constant noise such as traffic or blaring nearby music can totally ruin a good night's sleep.
Hotels should aim to create the perfect sleeping environment for their guests.
Other important room comforts include a complimentary tea and coffee station, complimentary room amenities such as shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Especially plenty of clean towels!
Personalisation and unique experiences are the needs of most consumers. This is especially true of the hospitality industry.
So how can hoteliers make their guests have these personalised and unique experiences?
The first way to achieve this is to make your guests feel special through personalisation.
Hoteliers who use technology can increase their levels of personalisation. By simply welcoming guests to their hotel through text, and updating them on available services throughout their stay.
Even hoteliers who aren’t adopting text messaging services can create personalised moments by placing a handwritten note in the room. Or training staff to welcome guests by name at check-in desks or restaurants.
Hotels that think about their guest's wants and needs can deliver exceptional experiences. These can come in many forms, whether through unique dining experiences, spa treatments or even working with local businesses in combining services to make complete experience packages.
We’ve witnessed many ‘outside of the box’ ideas on providing unique experiences throughout the pandemic, which has enabled many innovative hotels to ride through the crushing wave of the lockdowns. Take a look at the Celtic Manor Resorts 'Dining at home’ experiences.
One of the most lucrative ways to introduce experiences is through selling experience vouchers and gift cards to attract guests to your hotel. Even providing customers with desirable gift options for their loved ones.
Gif vouchers allow hotels to meet the needs and wants of their customers whether they’re guests at the hotel or not. Enabling hotels to generate more streams of revenue.
Different customer groups have different expectations. Think about each of your customers and their individual needs. Are you creating a service that can meet and compliment their needs and desires?
We hope you enjoyed this blog post on the customer needs and wants in hotel. For more information on improving your hotel's services, please see our blog post, “Unique hotel service ideas”.