Hotels eye ‘high tech, high touch” move to firm up business

Changes in consumer expectations for fast Wi-Fi, helpful guest assistants and loyalty rewards have prompted the hospitality industry to invest in technology that enhances the guest experience and provides added convenience for smartphone check-in, location-based offers and services and digitally-enabled loyalty programs.

Results of the global Zebra Hospitality Vision Study show that 77% of hotels/resorts surveyed worldwide are expanding Wi-Fi coverage, to help move staff to mobile computers for more guest interaction, expand location services for guests and deliver reliable wireless access.

Nearly 1,200 hotel and resort workers in IT, operations, marketing or guest services and more than 1,680 consumers were surveyed in two separate global studies.

Two-thirds (66%) of guests report they have a better experience when associates use the latest technology and 68% of guests expressed a desire to use their smartphone to speed up check-in.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of guests surveyed appreciate hotels that customize messaging and offers and 75% are willing to share personal information, such as gender, age and email address, in exchange for tailored promotions, coupons, priority service or loyalty points.

To create highly customized offers and perks, 74% of surveyed hotels/resorts are planning to implement location-based technologies within the next year – prioritizing guest recognition and analytics, geo-targeted mobile offers and special promotions and upgrades.

The study shows guests are less comfortable sharing their location than their personal information, though attitudes differ among generations.  One-third (34%) of Millennials are comfortable sharing their current location compared to 13% of 50- to 64-year-olds.

In the Asia-Pacific region, offering special promotions and geo-targeting mobile users are the top drivers behind implementing location technologies where guests are influenced most by helpful guest assistants to stay at a hotel/resort.

“The hospitality industry is becoming an increasingly competitive market, especially with the proliferation of niche hotels and home rental websites,” said Jeff Schmitz, SVP and CMO at Zebra Technologies. “To continue to attract and delight guests, hotels and resorts are making significant technology investments to enhance hotel services.”