Guest Experience in Hotels: The Complete Guide in 2022
The world of hospitality and guest experience is changing at a rapid pace. Your hotel guests are no longer interested in the luxuries of the past. Instead, they are looking for a guest service experience tailored to them.
This means that what has worked in the past for your hotel - may not work in 2022.
How has the guest experience journey evolved over the years? What trends should a hotel be aware of, and what should you offer your hotel guests in 2022 to deliver an exceptional guest experience? We’ve summarized all the essential information in this guide.
Table of Content
1. What Is Guest Experience in Hotels?
1.1 Why Is the Customer Experience in Hotels Important?
1.2 How Has the Guest Experience in Hotels Evolved?
2. Trends Influencing the Hotel Experience
2.3 The Advancement of Technology
3. Step-By-Step – How You Can Improve Your Guest Experience in 2021
3.1 Collect Feedback
3.2 Look Inwards for Internal Obstacles
3.3 Revaluate Your Guest Journey
4. Common Issues in the Guest Journey - Tips and Tricks 2022
4.1 Common Issues in the Pre-Arrival Stage
4.2 Common Issues During Hotel Stay
4.3 Common Issues After Hotel Stay
What Is Guest Experience in Hotels?
The hotel guest experience journey can be described as the summarized experiences that a guest has with your property before, during, and after their stay. As a result, whether a stay experience was great or not lies in the subjective perception of the guest.
So what is a guest experience in hospitality?
What Are the Components of a Guest Experience?
Your hotel guests assess their stay based on factors, such as:
Quality of Service
The degree to which a hotel's staff meet and anticipate guest expectations.
Cleanliness of the Property
The degree to which a hotel is cleaned according to guests expectations and cleanliness of their past experiences.
Facilities and Amenities
How well the hotel’s facilities and amenities meets the guests’ expectations.
If the hotel is maintained to the expectation of the guest.
Standard of the Hotel
To what degree the hotel accurately represents its star category.
The ratio of the hotel price and the value derived from it.
How convenient the location is relative to the guest’s purpose of stay.
Their overall experience throughout the entire guest journey (pre-stay, during and post-stay)
Why Is the Customer Experience in Hotels Important?
Okay, so you may be wondering: why is the customer experience important? Especially since it comes from the subjective perception of the hotel guest?
Well, the explanation is simple. In today’s digital landscape, hotels rely on their online reputation. Which often comes from third-party online booking engines like Booking.com and Expedia to sell their rooms. These booking engines, in turn, allow hotel guests to post an online review of their stay.
These reviews stand as a representation of the hotel’s quality in the view of a potential customer. And not only that, they can even become a viral sensation. Like this Twitter post that gained over 48K likes and was retweeted nearly 25k times!
Maya Angelique👑 (@moneyymaya) / Twitter
This same logic goes along with TripAdvisor and other online review sites. In fact, academical research proved the link between positive online reviews and purchase intentions.
TripAdvisor’s reviews and scores influenced $546 billion of travel spending's (TripAdvisor, 2018)
Now in case that did not convince you, have a look at these statistics from TripAdvisor:
86% of their users said that TripAdvisor increases their confidence in purchasing decisions.
81% frequently read reviews before purchasing a hotel booking.
78% of users focuses on the most recent reviews when they check TripAdvisor.
As such, if your property has a low review rate, you may need to set yourself apart from the other hotels in your area. And you could do that by lowering your price or advertising more on these channels.
But that's not sustainable, is it?
How Has the Guest's Needs Evolved?
A lot has happened since the oldest hotel in the world opened in Yamanashi, Japan. In the past, hotels were simply safe accommodations for travelers on the road. They were offering food, lodging, and stabling for travelers' horses.
The travelers still make up most of the hotels' customer base. But their expectations of what an accommodation is have changed over time.
The hotel industry has been a high human-touch operation for a long time. Wherein hotel guests interacted with employees at nearly every stage of the guest journey.
A guest experience manager is responsible for looking after the needs of guests in a professional manner. (BestAccrediatedColleages)
But one of the groundbreaking advancements was when Forbes created a star rating in 1958. This has ever since been adopted in the hospitality industry.
Suddenly, hotels became categorized into star ratings depending on numerous criteria. These criteria include their services, amenities, and facilities, and more. It became easier for hotels to meet guests' expectations and guests to benchmark hotels.
Since then, it is safe to say that the guest service experience has evolved. Particularly the competition and emerging trends make it difficult for hotels to meet guests' expectations.
Trends Influencing the Hotel Experience
The hospitality industry is changing, with many recent trends shaping it.
Below we have listed the three most prevalent trends: demographics, competition, and technology.
1. Demographical Factors
Demographic changes are shaping the future of hospitality. The types of guest in hotel can come from different generations such as The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Generation Z. All are grown up at different times. They have their distinctive needs - and expectations of what a hotel should be.
Just have a look at the chart below yourself!
2. Competitive Market
Hotels are price-sensitive products. Many travelers favor hotels that give them the most value for their money. Naturally, the property's competition within its star category is a benchmark for the guest's expectations.
For example, it was once a unique selling point for hotels when "Free Wi-Fi" was a product feature. However, as more competitors adopted the idea, it quickly became "the norm." It is not one of many base factors hotel guests are looking for when they choose to stay at a hotel.
3. The Advancement of Technology
Technology is shaping every industry, and the hospitality industry is no exception. It is changing how hotels operate, how they market their services, where guests buy their rooms, and how they interact with the hotel.
The technological advancements have affected a series of touchpoints within the hotel stay, from communicating with guests via chatbots to offering contactless check-in.
Ideas to Enhance Hotel Guest Experience Journey in 2022
Are you suffering from dissatisfied guests and low review scores? Luckily, there are a series of strategies that you can take to improve the customer experience. We'll go through some ideas to enhance the hotel guest experience in your property below.
1. Collect Feedback
As the hotel experience depends on several criteria, it is impossible to know how your hotel performs unless you research. As such, the best way is to collect external feedback about your hotel. This doesn't take much more complicated than:
Ask your employees - Your employees are deeply engaged with your guests and know the hotel operations. Let your employees give their thoughts on where the customer service or tangible products fails (or succeeds) via, for example, an anonymous survey.
Read your online reviews - You can use reviews from other travelers that have stayed at your hotel to measure hotel experience and improve your service/customer services. It may be challenging to address all complaints. It is always good to track them and categorize recent reviews into quantitative data, as you can see below.
Extra tip: While it is good practice to analyze past reviews, collecting reviews before they reach the public proactively is better. Implement a customer survey hotel system in your hotel, or ensure your receptionists always ask the guests for their feedback before checking out.
Now that you have analyzed both internal and external data, you'll be able to compile a list of focus areas where your hotel needs to improve. But before addressing these areas, it's essential to look into your hotel's internal obstacles.
2. Look Inwards for Internal Obstacles
Internal obstacles that can stand as a barrier to improving the hotel stay includes: your property management system, employee morale, and budget constraints.
Legacy property management system (PMS) - Legacy systems have been used in hotels for a long time, and they have hit their time. These systems are often slow, on-premise, unstable, and difficult to change. Integrating technology to a PMS via the interface is often costly and time-consuming.
Employee morale - It depends on the morale of your hotel staff whether they are willing to accept change. But, if your employees are reluctant to accept change, you should address the reluctance before you put in place the changes.
Budget constraints - Hotel technology can be expensive, and big players tend to charge high fees. Sadly, investing in hotel technology might not be feasible for all hotels. Sometimes it is better to approach niche players in the market, like us at Metasphere, for affordable technology solutions.
3. Map out Your Guest Journey
The last step is to re-evaluate the whole guest journey, from booking to on-property and the check-out procedures. Start by outlining all the touchpoints via a journey map. And then evaluate how you perform within each touchpoint.
This helps you better understand how the guest will experience your hotel and what they may be experiencing at each point.
What are the Common Issues the Hotel Guest Experience Journey?
The hotel guest experience journey is evolving and is shaped by external trends. One example is the pandemic, which accelerated the customer demand for hotel technologies.
While some of the implications are short-term, others will have a long-lasting effect on hotels. So how can you improve customer satisfaction in hotel? Here are guest experience ideas and tricks of common issues in the guest journey post-Covid era broken down phase by phase.
Common Issues in the Hotel Pre-Arrival Stage
The pre-arrival stage starts from the moment the guest engages with your hotel, namely through contact or reservations. It includes all the touchpoints before checking in and arriving at the property.
1. Lack of Engagement in the Pre-arrival Phase
The hotel journey starts from the moment they contact your brand. Many hotels are using a reactive approach to communication. Meaning they wait to engage with the guest until they arrive on the property. Remember, in most situations; your guests are looking at a flexible rate. Meaning they can cancel their reservation without any costs.
Here’s how you solve it: It is tough to engage with every customer if you are a larger property. The solution is simple - automate the communication with guests using email automation in a hotel CRM.
2. Fragmented Pre-Check-In Experience
The airline industry, traditionally a highly-touch human industry, is an excellent example of how hotels can use technology to streamline operations.
Nowadays, it is common for airlines to ask their passengers to pre-check in. It includes anything from uploading passports to selecting preferred seats before arriving at the airport. Your customers are used to this, and many of them like doing it because it saves them time when they arrive on property.
Here's how you solve it: The hospitality best practice is to implement a pre-check-in process in the pre-arrival stage. There are many affordable solutions out there. From a simple digital registration form to more advanced solutions that are integrated into self check-in kiosks.
3. Missing Easy Revenue Opportunities
Increasing the incremental revenue on hotel rooms is one way to improve your profit margins and the customer experience. For example, recent data have shown that hotels can reach up to €38.39 in upsell revenue - per room and month using up-selling software.
No matter the case. It's great to allow guests to upgrade their tiny standard room to a suite at a discounted rate for their special occasion!
Here's how you solve it: The hospitality best practices is really to use an up-selling software or go with a vendor that offers up-selling embedded in the hotel pre-check-in experience.
Common Issues During Hotel Stay
The guest's stay generally starts when they arrive at your property. It includes touchpoints such as check-in and check-out. As well as their experience in the room, facilities, and staff.
1. Avoid Embracing Contactless Technology in Hotels
All generations have their own distinctive needs and habits, as we mentioned earlier. Gen Z and Millennials have grown up with technology. They are accustomed to using self-service technology because it saves them time and is more convenient.
On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for, and you know it - contactless technology.
86% of surveyed people by Metova said that they’ll prefer to stay at a hotel over another if they have a contactless check-in, concierge and check-out.
47% of respondents were more likely to order room service if the hotel offer it via mobile devices.
Here's how you solve it: Focus first on the traditional high-touch interactions, such as check-in and check-out using a mobile check-in or hotel kiosk solution. From there, try to incorporate technology into other aspects, whether that is for requesting on-demand housekeeping or digitalizing the room service.
2. Slow Hotel Communication with Guests
Let's face it. Today's guests are demanding. They are used to getting immediate answers to their inquiries. Hence, it is no longer enough to let your guests wait for an e-mail reply for days or stand in the queue for minutes to ask a simple question.
Here's how you fix it: A high proportion of your visitors will be asking for the same thing. You can answer their questions by programming a chatbot to hold a conversation, such as explaining the checkout time or nearby restaurants.
3. Failing to Meet Guest Requirements
It's all about how well the hotel met the guest's expectations. They are becoming more and more demanding with their needs and want nowadays. They may demand a particular room or amenity preference or require personalized and attentive service. Research has shown that more than 68% of guests will not return to the hotel if they feel unappreciated.
Here's how to fix it: The secret of world-renowned hotel groups, like Mandarin Oriental, often lies in their ability to collect and track guest preferences. Now tracking guest data can be as simple as using a spreadsheet, but the best way is to associate each preference to a guest profile in a Hotel CRM.
Common Issues After Hotel Stay
The after-stay experience includes the moment the guest leaves your property until they return.
1. Lose the Contact with The Hotel Guest
Many believe that the guest experience ends when they return their key. As a result, they often overlook ways to engage with them after their experience. It is important to contact your guests after their stay, as it can cost 5 times more to attract new customers than to keep your current ones.
Here’s how to fix it: The secret is to keep that person's personalized touch alive even after they are finally out the door. You can do so by scheduling an automated thank you letter after they check out. Or a happy birthday e-mail when it's their birthday. Even by sending them personalized promotional e-mails to incite repeat purchases!
2. Forget to Ask for Guest Feedback / Low Guest Satisfaction
Another common issue is that hotels don't ask their guest for feedback about their stay. They often wait until they post a review online. But what happens if the guest feedback was bad? You'll end up spending a lot of time recovering from it.
Here’s how to fix it: The best way to monitor the guest satisfaction is to implement an automated hotel guest survey, and send it to everyone who check out. But if your budget is limited, why not send out a simple hotel guest survey using free survey software like google forms, SurveyMonkey, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Meet Guest Experience?
The guest experience is based on 8 measurable criteria (quality of service, cleanliness, facilities and amenities, maintenance, hotel´s standard, price/value ratio, location, and their overall experience from their stay).
And these criteria are constantly evaluated throughout the entire guest journey.
You can use a customer journey map to identify all touchpoints throughout the whole guest journey. It will allow you to analyze each touchpoint in greater detail and come up with ideas to remedy these touchpoints.
What Is a Seamless Guest Experience?
The guest experience is seamless when he/she can be moved from point A to point B without any friction or interruption. This is achieved through a well-thought-out process that starts with the reservation stage and ends with the goodbye process
Often hoteliers would incorporate technologies to facilitate the transition between each phase (pre, during, and post-stay customer experience).
When Does the Hotel Guest Experience Truly Begin?
The hotel guest experience used to start first when the guest sets foot in the hotel and ended when they left your property. But times have changed. Today, the journey starts from the moment they make their hotel reservation.
Conclusion: Guest Experience in Hotels - 2022 Edition
We've gone through all of the key information that you need to know about what guest experience is in 2022.
Today, many hoteliers overlook improving the guest service experience. It's a shame, as there is a clear link between positive online reviews and purchase intentions.
We've uncovered three factors that greatly influence the evolution of guest experience: demographics, competition, and technology.
So how to improve guest experience in hotel in 2022? Luckily, there are some simple steps your hotel can take to enhance the hotel experience in 2022, including:
Collecting feedback from your employees and customers.
Try to overcome - and accept- internal barriers such as your legacy property management system, employee morale, budget constraints.
Map out touchpoints in the guest's journey through a journey map.
We also gave some great tips and tricks for managing the guest experience. Some of these were:
Hotel Pre Arrival
Improve the lack of engagement by using automating e-mail communication via a CRM.
Create a seamless hotel check-in through self-service technology.
Improve profitability and experience by up-selling.
During the Hotel Stay
Improve the check-in experience through contactless technology.
Become more responsive by implementing a hotel chatbot.
Meet your guests' needs by collecting and storing their guest preference.
Hotel After Stay
Keep a personalized contact after the guests stay through automated e-mail marketing.
Value your customers' opinions. Collect guest satisfaction scores by surveying them.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if your hotel needs help with improving the guest experience.