Written by: Cristina García
As hotel director, maybe this seems like a silly and quite obvious question, but the answer is not so simple. Times have changed and so did hotel market rules. Several factors can be identified as the cause: globalisation and the rising affluence of travellers as well as the evolution of technologies. If guests used to value luxury rooms and fancy hotels, now their expectations are different than they were few years ago. So, let us think about it and answer the question: what are my guests really looking for?
It may sound secondary, but now offering free wifi access is not extra anymore, it has become a necessity in this world where we are all dependent on the Internet. Business travellers, for example, will need to check their emails and so on and so forth. Besides, your “Millenials” guests as you probably know cannot live anymore without updating their friends on social networks. Free Wi-Fi is now a must-have!
Guests are also attached to more material things: for example, when surveying people we can see that great importance is given to breakfast. It plays a key role now in the decision process of a traveller for two reasons. First of all, because guests always love to enjoy a nice and tasty breakfast to start the day, without having to leave the hotel. So do not waste any more time and offer them breakfast! There is no such thing as a free lunch. But be careful with the quality. People now want to experience- and food is part of the experience. In the nutshell: people love the convenience of being able to have their breakfast in the hotel, and they love experience good food. You know what you have to do now!
Speaking of experience, you have to know that this is not only about food. You can experience things through emotions, or customization for example. Keep in mind that small things are the things that count. It goes from letting your clients the choice to have a pillow they like (soft, firm or in-between for example) because let us face it, when spending a night in an hotel you want to have the good night’s sleep and the comfort you paid for. For those who have a car, you can also offer them free parking. You can also make power adaptors available for your foreigner guests; it will make their stay much more convenient. All of these little things matter.
You can easily understand that the price of your hotel rooms is also something people care about. People are looking for the best quality-price ratio, obviously. In other words, your guests are looking for value. Alongside with value, people are looking for honesty. It means that they want to be sure they will receive services valued at the same worth of what they will pay.
And speaking of value. Maybe you thought that publishing content on your hotel’s website was only about having good images of your facilities and services with their descriptions. Obviously this is not enough. Your online users are looking for more information to compare and weigh their options. With branded content you can be much more creative, because it involves creating content related to your hotel’s brand, but not directly to your products or services. That is, this content must add value, convey emotions, satisfy needs. Definitely, new generated content has to be able to connect consumers with your brand. Create an engagement.
Last but not least, when looking for a hotel to stay in people will also pay attention the loyalty programs they might benefit from later if they decide to come back (or if it is already their second stay in the same hotel). Indeed, loyalty program is one of the most important factors that guide your guests in their decisions. So, think about it: do you offer loyalty perks? If you do, is it enough? Is it working? If you do not, you need to know the importance of your loyalty plan.