Improving Digital Customer Experience is Key to Increasing Traveler Loyalty in Hotels

| March 06, 2014

Magnani Caruso Dutton (MCD) has announced results of a 1,000-consumer survey within three traveler segments – business, leisure and family – as well as travelers across these segments with the highest tendency to be loyal to a hotel brand. The report examines the needs and expectations of travelers, the types of digital offerings from hotels that are most compelling to them, and documents the importance of mobile features to make travelers’ stays more convenient and informed. Respondents indicated that, in return, the hotels might gain their loyalty.
 
In today’s world, consumers are always connected – even, and perhaps especially, when traveling. As such, a travel company’s digital offerings are more important than ever. In fact, 70 percent of travelers indicated that a hotel’s website, app and other digital tools impact their decision to book a stay, with those who feel most strongly about this also being twice as likely to consider customer service/experience as their top priority when booking. Moreover, once the guests have arrived, 74 percent of travelers want substantial digital involvement from the hotels, in order to make their visits better. And 80 percent of travelers find it important that a hotel allows them to set personal preferences that can be updated and saved for future use, happily exchanging personal information for a more customized and streamlined experience.
 
Desired Smartphone Capabilities
Travelers were asked which specific mobile capabilities they would be most likely to use if offered by a hotel. Indicative of a desire for timesaving and convenience, the top-five features were:

  • To easily see offered amenities and hours (80 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
  • To engage with maps of the areas they visit (78 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
  • For automated check-in to bypass the front desk (73 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
  • To request a late check-out (73 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
  • To see concierge tips about the places they visit (68 percent of travelers would be likely to use)
 
For Business Travelers, Experience Is a Top Priority
Business travelers present particularly powerful opportunities for hotels to earn their return visits and increase customer lifetime value by giving them the digital experiences they want. This segment tends to stay with the same hotel brand again and again, more so than family and leisure travelers. When asked how frequently they tend to stay at 30 major U.S. hotel Page 2 / Digital Customer Experience and Traveler Loyalty brands, business travelers selected "often" or "always" 2x more than family travelers and 3x more than leisure travelers. In addition, business travelers ranked past positive experience higher than participation in their preferred rewards program as an influencing factor when choosing a hotel. This, along with their ability to de-prioritize price, points to the opportunity to increase customer lifetime value.
 

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