The biggest trend would be personalisation – social media and the mobile generation has resulted in a new type of traveller and these new travellers are growing exponentially, not only throughout the world, but particularly here in South Africa. Regardless of star grading of the hotel, guests are coming to expect a certain increasing degree of personalisation from hotels, and this expectation is going to increase over time: from the time they book their accommodation directly, via mobile phones, tablets or social media platforms, until the time they depart.
When considering a hotel visit, or 2nd or 3rd visit, their decision to stay or not will eventually be based largely on how they are remembered and profiled, how their reservation is handled, how their special needs are addressed, and with regards the hotel itself – have their specific needs been met and exceeded. Guests (especially loyal ones) expect that they are remembered and treated accordingly to their preferences – have you remembered that they are vegetarian or what room they prefer -even down to the pillows in the rooms.
Whilst the burden on operations is increased, it will be, and is imperative that hotels concentrate on personalisation going forward, to acquire new visitors and retain repeat guests.
With the new social media resources we have at our disposal, combined with age-old guest profiling techniques that every hotelier should be using, there is simply no excuse to not provide a personalised guest experience.
Quite simply, you don’t need to be a small, boutique hotel to get this right!