Hospitality guests crave convenience and value more than ever. That means an unprecedented demand for innovative tools that allow customers to drive their own travel, lodging, and dining experiences, including self-service, contactless transactions, messaging apps, food delivery, mobile ordering
& payments, and more.
By Daniel J. Connolly, Ph.D., Professor of Management, College of Business and Public Administration, Drake University; Jungsun Kim, Ph.D., Associate Professor, William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and Robert Firpo-Cappiello, Editor-in-Chief, Hospitality Technology
Who We Surveyed
Since the inception of the Customer Engagement Technology Study, we have advocated for the use of technology to deliver exceptional customer service and where possible, to exceed guest expectations to create a memorable “wow” experience. Service, after all, is a key differentiator that can lead to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
But while we continue to be strong proponents of creating exceptional guest service, especially in today’s highly competitive and increasingly commoditized marketplace, we note that customers are less focused on being delighted. They seek convenience, friction-free service, and time savings. Our data echoes a Harvard Business Review study of over 75,000 consumers that found that customer loyalty is determined more by how well companies deliver on the basics.
Customers have become accustomed to having access to almost everything at the touch of a button on their smartphones. Companies that win will be those that customers consider the easiest with which to do business (i.e., they expend the least amount of effort) to get their needs met.
Our data from customers who regularly frequent hotels and restaurants suggests that digital transformation — especially the use of mobile devices to book, order, pay, and communicate — is in high demand. This year, we dug deeper into customers’ willingness to pay a modest premium for technology features they value. The good news? They are willing to pay a little more for the convenience that digital transformation offers.
Our survey participants represent a broad demographic of regular hospitality customers:
• Respondents were 52 percent female, 47 percent male, and 1 percent preferred not to identify.
• Respondents represent a range of age groups, with 13 percent ages 18 to 23, 27 percent ages 24 to 39, 24 percent ages 40 to 55, and 36 percent ages 56 and older.
• Respondents have traveled and stayed at hotels over the past 18 months, with 75 percent of them traveling for leisure, 6 percent for business, and 19 percent traveling for both.
• Over the past 18 months, 54 percent of respondents had stayed at a hotel two to four times; 18 percent had stayed five to six times; 17 percent had stayed once, and 11 percent had stayed seven or more times.
• Hotel guests’ preferences represent a range of property types over the past 18 months, with 19 percent reporting staying at economy, 63 percent at midscale, 51 percent at upscale, and 9 percent at luxury; 12 percent report staying in alternative lodgings such as vacation rentals,
• Over the past 18 months, 34 percent of respondents have ordered restaurant food (either dine-in or takeout) up to three times per month; 34 percent have ordered four to seven times per month; 14 percent have ordered eight to 11 times per month; and 18 percent have ordered a dozen or more times per month.
• Restaurant guests’ preferences also reflect a range of tastes and price points, with 70 percent frequenting QSR, 59 percent frequenting fast casual, 72 percent frequenting full-service family/casual, 37 percent frequenting fine dining, and 1 percent reporting “other.”
Who We Surveyed
Comcast Business Q&A
INSIGHTS powered BY
Executive Insight Q&A:
of travelers embrace the use of mobile devices to make reservations and interact with a hotel.
of off-prem restaurant guests are willing to pay
a modest premium for technology features they consider important—such as the ability to order
and pay via mobile device.