High tech, high touch

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Zebra Technologies Hospitality Vision Study reveals hotels’ plans for attracting guests and remaining competitive

Zebra Technologies Corporation, a global leader in providing solutions and services that give enterprises real-time visibility into their operations, has released the results of the global Zebra Hospitality Vision Study, a body of research that analyses the hotel/ resort industry and trends in travellers’ preferences and technology requirements that affect their overall satisfaction.

The study found that changes in consumer expectations for fast Wi-Fi, helpful guest assistants and loyalty rewards have prompted the hospitality industry to invest in technology that enhances the guest experience and provides added convenience for smartphone check-in, location-based offers and services and digitally-enabled loyalty programmes.

According to Zebra’s Global Hospitality Vision Study, hotels and resorts are tapping into technology to ease, enrich and personalise the guest experience.

KEY FACTS

Wider access

To help move staff to mobile computers for more guest interaction, expand location services for guests and deliver reliable wireless access, 77 per cent of hotels/ resorts surveyed worldwide are expanding Wi-Fi coverage, 66 per cent of guests report they have a better experience when associates use the latest technology and 68 per cent of guests expressed a desire to use their smartphone to speed up check-in.

Customised offers and loyalty programmes

Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of guests surveyed appreciate hotels that customise messaging and offers, and 75 per cent are willing to share personal information, such as gender, age and email address, in exchange for tailored promotions, coupons, priority service or loyalty points.

Location-based services

To create highly customised offers and perks, 74 per cent of surveyed hotels/ resorts are planning to implement location-based technologies within the next year – prioritising guest recognition and analytics, geo-targeted mobile offers and special promotions and upgrades. The study shows guests are less comfortable sharing their location than their personal information, though attitudes differ among generations. For instance, 34 per cent of millennials are comfortable sharing their current location compared to 13 per cent of 50 to 64-year-olds.

Regional findings

Guest recognition is the top driver for location technologies in North America where travellers are least concerned about sharing their location and social media profiles and most willing to use self-service technology. Hotels/ resorts in Latin America are moving fastest to implement location-based technologies where guests also have the highest expectations for receiving personal attention from hotel/ resort assistants. Maintaining current guests is the top priority in Europe where travellers are the least likely to belong to loyalty programmes.

In the Asia-Pacific region, offering special promotions and geo-targeting mobile users are the top drivers behind implementing location technologies where guests are influenced most by helpful guest assistants to stay at a hotel/ resort.

Survey background and methodology

Nearly 1,200 hotel and resort workers in IT, operations, marketing or guest services and more than 1,680 consumers were surveyed in two separate global studies. The first study focused on the hotel/ resort industry’s views on guest needs, strategic technology and service plans and vision for the future. The second study measured travellers’ preferences, technology requirements and opinions on the factors influencing their overall satisfaction at hotels and resorts.

Jeff Schmitz, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Zebra Technologies says, “The hospitality industry is becoming an increasingly competitive market, especially with the proliferation of niche hotels and home rental websites. To continue to attract and delight guests, hotels and resorts are making significant technology investments to enhance hotel services. This includes enabling guests – 92 per cent of whom carry a smartphone – to use their smartphones to do everything from ordering food to receiving text alerts on room readiness and possible upgrades. Although the impact of technology varies by market, digital disruption is changing the way hotels and guests interact in every region. Zebra will continue to deliver guest engagement and staff effectiveness solutions to better serve guests.”

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