Speaking at the group’s Hotel Insights 2016 conference at the Amba Hotel in London’s Charing Cross, BDRC associate director Leonie Bulman explained that the ‘affordable luxury’ factor was now the second most-important priority among hotel guests, whether in the business sector or leisure.
The measure came in second place to ‘good value’, which was most important for both business and leisure guests.
Affordable luxury was defined as “something better than what you have at home”, especially in today’s technology-driven world, where having free Wi-Fi to stream your own movies in your hotel bedroom is still “only just getting” you up to the standard you normally expect in your own home.
Often, luxurious touches were seen as “something you’d be proud to share on social media”.
After that, business guests were more concerned about the hotel’s location, and free access to reliable Wi-Fi throughout. Leisure guests wanted consistent standards and a good location, but expected a warm welcome too, and were less worried about Wi-Fi access.
Delivering on guests’ expectations
Many hotels were still failing to deliver on guests’ top priorities, however, Bulman said.
According to the BDRC’s research, businesses surveyed were largely falling short of the affordable luxury standard, with the lowest-scoring hotel at just 12 per cent, and the highest score just 41 per cent for this factor.
Even on standard priorities for hotel guests (both business and leisure) such as value, location and consistent quality, the breadth of scores was considerable at between 6-72 per cent (value), 11-72 per cent (location) and just 12-65 per cent (consistent quality and standards).
Hotels still offered a significant variation in ability to deliver free access to reliable Wi-Fi for too, with the score on this measure ranging from 12 percent to just 55 per cent.
What Millennials want
Lastly, Bulman highlighted the key priorities for Generation Y or Millennial guests – the cohort aged from about 18 to 35 ‒ who continue to demand significantly different experiences than their older generation counterparts.
Affordable luxury was again the top priority for Gen Y business guests, who also wanted modern hotels, easy-to-use booking websites, and staff that would anticipate their ‘every need’. Value was seen as less important among this business group.
Conversely, among the Gen Y leisure market, value and a good welcome was paramount, but these guests were also especially concerned about an efficient check in and out process, superior quality of bedding, and excellent food and beverage.
The latter measure, Bulman noted, could be due to the popularity of sharing food on social media, with many Gen Y guests concerned about the visual potential of their food and drink on image-led sharing site Instagram.
Keep me safe
Bulman also highlighted that guests – both business and leisure ‒ were looking to hotel brands that they could trust, who they trusted would “keep them safe”, which it was suggested could be due to perceived growing levels of terrorism and political instability in the current political and social climate.