Any director of customer experience can tell you: customer service in the hospitality industry has no doubt changed recently.
With every year, guest expectations rise and the new norm is quickly becoming highly personal and professional hotel experience. Much of this is the result of customer service in other industries. As it gets better and better, the hospitality industry has to adapt to be on par with what customers have grown to expect.
According to a Deloitte article published in 2017, most hospitality industry customers only travel one or two times per year, meaning their engagement with travel brands is somewhat limited. But expectations in the industry are raising as online and service companies are ramping up the quality of their services.
Below we will outline some of the general expectations that changing technology is causing and how they relate to the travel sector:
What your Director of Customer Experience Should Know about Customer Expectations
Do It Yourself
Customers are growing accustomed to self-service, from the supermarket self-checkout line to online shopping. This includes a whole suite of technologies: mobile apps, forums for research, virtual chat bot agents, and artificial intelligence. In the hotel and travel sector, this has been reflected in airline and hotel self-check in queues and online virtual assistance during booking.
Quick and Reliable Service
As mobile and online technology grows in relevance, customers increasingly expect quick and reliable service. There is a new sense of urgency that permeates every aspect of customer service. After all, when online shopping, there are no queues or delays. This impacts how guests interact with hotels. They expect fast service, and hotels are being forced to deliver it.
“Smart” technology is taking the world by storm. This type of tech usually involves upgrading a normal piece of equipment and adding technological features so that it can streamline and automate certain processes. A good example in the travel industry is the rising popularity of MagicBands, a technology introduced by the Walt Disney resorts. These wristbands and cards are used to access the hotel room, theme park, pay for food with stored funds, and more. Intelligent services like this make your operation more efficient while making your guests’ experience easier.
Customers want you to serve them in a reliable and consistent way throughout the experience. People have come to expect a certain level of consistency and continuity. When they go into their favorite coffee shop or sandwich store, they expect to be delivered consistently good food and served in a reliable way. This is a great way to build brand loyalty.
Providing your customers with a more valuable customer experience is not just a necessity in today’s hospitality industry, it can be a great boon to your bottom line. When you build brand loyalty and secure a good reputation with travelers, you are sure to profit from your efforts. According to some recent research, even a small improvement in the customer service of a high end hotel can product over 6 dollars in additional revenue per customers.
Delivering greater value in customer experience is associated with greater profit. According to Forrester Research, a one-point improvement in the customer experience score for upscale hotels produces $6.52 per customer in additional revenue. That can add up to a lot of profit for hospitality companies that number their customers in millions or tens of millions per year.