Hotels must get personal, says new IHG report

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Intercontinental hotels group, Us

Hotels must get better at 'remembering' guests personal preferences, said IHG
Hotels must get better at 'remembering' guests personal preferences, said IHG
Hotels must focus on offering a personalised service to guests if they want to secure loyal customers in the future, according to a new report from the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

Based on a survey of just under 7,000 international business and leisure travellers, and interviews with travel experts, the report said personalisation was vital to meet the demands of the post-recession consumer.

“The rise of personalisation over the last few years across all industries has been one of the biggest developments in the modern marketplace. It has increased consumer expectations everywhere, especially in the hospitality sector,” it said.

National preferences

The report stressed that personalisation is especially important for travellers from emerging markets. According to the survey, 78 per cent of Russian and 63 per cent of Chinese expect a hotel to tailor the experience they have to personal needs, compared to 43 per cent of US and 42 per cent of UK travellers.

The type of personalisation valued also varies according to nationality. For example, UK travellers valued little personal touches in their rooms more than other nationalities, while US consumers placed a higher value on choosing their exact check-in and check-out time, and Russian travellers valued provision of local travel guides in different languages as and when they needed them.

Tailored consumption

With the rise of personal technologies such as mobile phones, iPods and e-book readers, guests are able to carry more of home with them than ever before, creating a need among travellers to enjoy the things they love best during their hotel stay, said the report.

“This is giving rise to a growing expectation that in-hotel consumption (the products and services that guests ‘consume’ during their stay) will be tailored to their cultural and personal preferences,” it added.

For Millennials, this could mean accessing personal content such as movies or music when they are in the hotel, while for older travellers, things like diet and access to healthy food and drink are more important.

By giving guests the opportunity to share their personal preferences prior to their stay, hotels have a better chance of pleasing their guests, the report said.

Hotels must also get better at  important for ‘remembering’ guests preferences and storing that information so it is accessible by staff.

Over personal

One aspect of personalisation has been the ‘growing trend’ of using personal data to create ‘surprise and delight’ moments for guests, said the report.

However, it warned against mining guests' personal data on social networking sites, recommending that hotels instead focus on collecting information on guests preferences by noting what they like to eat, drink and buy at the hotel.

“It is critical that hotels tread carefully when delivering the surprise and delight moments that make guests love a hotel, and never overstep the line of becoming too personal and ‘creepy’,” it said.

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