The changing face of the global hotel guest

WORLDWIDE Hotel guests will increasingly come to expect the ability to completely customize every aspect of the hotel experience, a new study by Amadeus says, creating new challenges for leading-edge hoteliers of the future.

Published today, the “Hotel 2020” report looks forward to a time when augmented reality, responsive guest environments and robots may become commonplace as guests demand greater personalization, increased comfort and more innovative experiences. The report also highlights new hotel models that may emerge, including invitation-only hotels, hotels co-branded with luxury brands, white-label hotels and ‘catch-all’ hotel chains that will deliver 1-star budget hotels through to 6-star luxury properties.

The report was developed by Fast Future Research, an independent futures research and consultancy firm and commissioned by Amadeus, a major transactions processor for the global travel industry. The study contains both quantitative and qualitative data and draws on desk research, expert interviews and a global survey on future strategies and business models for the sector. The survey was conducted with 600 respondents from around the world, of whom 42% work in the travel industry.

“What we see is a shift from neatly-defined customer segments to a more fragmented set of service spectrums that will demand hotels act in a way that is guest-focused personal, connected and informed,” says Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future Research. “The right technology will be an increasingly important weapon in delivering on guest expectations and securing brand differentiation.”

In the future, guests will be able to tailor every aspect of their hotel experience, the report predicts. Traditional customer segmentation is likely to die and will be replaced by personalized service spectrums and a “total service model.” This means that guests will be able to tailor every aspect of their experience, including technology, hotel services, the bedroom, the journey, pricing and communications.

More than two-thirds of survey respondents agree that by 2020 traveler motivations will become increasingly fragmented and diverse and harder to segment into clearly definable customer groupings.

The hotel of the future will also be more personal, connected and responsive. With changing guest requirements, more hotels will cater to multiple needs and demands, and innovations such as intelligent furniture, personalized nutrition and responsive technologies that understand cognitive functions will emerge. More than nine out of 10 people questioned felt that by 2020 hotel guests will expect their stay to be personalized around a set of choices they make at the time of booking or prior to arrival.

Horizon scanning, anticipation and rapid implementation will become some of the hallmarks of successful hotel groups. Successful hotel chains of the future will have the ability to spot opportunities and threats, develop effective strategies and implement change programs quickly. The report highlights the central role of technology systems in helping hotel groups stay ahead and meet the needs of tomorrow’s guest.