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27
May
2024
7
min

Key figures on the role of technology in the hotel guest experience

The hotel industry is constantly changing, driven by the rapid advancement of technology which inevitably influences guests' expectationsof their travel experience, and more specifically, of their stay. Mass investment in digital transformation, growing automation, and the emergence of self-service are redefining the guest experience in hotels worldwide.

In this article, we will take a look at the key figures that illustrate the crucial role of technology in the hotel guest experience, to highlight the major trends and opportunities that hotels should consider when devising strategies.

Are hotels investing in technology?

Tourism is particularly concerned by investment in technology, notably with a view to optimise and facilitate guest service.

66% of travel executives are investing in digital technology and software in order to improve customer service - Source: Skift + AWS 2023 study, The 2023 Digital Transformation Report

Compared to the tourism industry, the hotel sector is lagging far behind in digital transition, due to the complexity of its operations and the variety of services it offers. Necessary investments, resistance to change, and data security concerns all contribute to slowing down the adoption of new technologies.

57% of hotels have invested in at least 3 new types of technology (versus 70% of airports).

The biggest expectations for hotel technology over the next five years relate to: cloud computing, particularly for processing guests (29%), reservation management (26%), and providing personalised recommendations and services (23%). 

- Source: Deloitte 2023 study, Toward Travel's Frictionless Frontline: Integrating Technology and Workforce

Automated operations

Automation in the hotel industry offers operational advantages to teams, while preserving the human aspect of the guest relationship. It makes it possible to optimise procedures such as check-in and check-out, booking services, sending information to guests, etc., thus freeing up time for operational staff to concentrate on more qualitative, guest-oriented tasks. Automation therefore improves the efficiency of internal operations. The aim is to use technology to reduce the burden of repetitive tasks, granting employees the time to devote themselves fully to quality human interactions and personalised services, thereby boosting guest satisfaction.

Some 60% of hotel respondents expect automation to have a major positive impact on the guest experience.

Some 56% of hotel managing directors expect automation to boost profits due to an enhanced guest experience.

- Source: Deloitte 2023 study, Toward Travel's Frictionless Frontline: Integrating Technology and Workforce

Self-service for guests

Self-service in the hotel industry is convenient for guests, but its implementation has been slow due to concerns about losing the human aspect of service. However, more and more establishments are integrating self-service solutions for check-in, check-out, or ordering services, which offers guests greater autonomy while allowing staff to focus on more personalised interactions.

Only 36% of hotels offer self-service for guests (compared with 90% of airports). - Source: Deloitte 2023 study, Toward Travel's Frictionless Frontline: Integrating Technology and Workforce

Personalising the guest experience

Personalisation in the hotel industry has become essential to meeting guest expectations. Technology enables hotels to offer tailor-made experiences, from additional services to tourist recommendations, to create memorable stays and cultivate guest loyalty.

69% of business leaders are increasing their investment in personalisation despite challenging economic headwinds.

62% of business leaders cite improved customer retention as a benefit of their personalisation efforts.

92% of companies use AI-based personalisation to drive growth.

- Source: Segment 2023 study, The State of Personalization Report

Are chains more advanced in digitisation than independent hotels?

The financial capacity of hotel chains and large groups to mass invest in innovative solutions can give them an advantage. Smaller, independent structures, however, can compete thanks to specific, more agile technologies, with the advantage of a greater adaption rate.

66% of hotel chains have at least 3 new types of technology, compared to 42% of independent hotels. 

What's more, 27% of chains use 4 or more technologies, compared with 6% of independent hotels.

More than half of hotel chains have implemented personalisation features on their website, booking engine, and app (55%), or are planning to do so in the near future (39%).

Direct messaging systems (SMS, WeChat, WhatsApp, Chatbots...) concern 52% of chains, and 36% of them intend to use these technologies.

45% of hotel chains use automated/digitised check-in for VIP guests.

34% of hotel chains offer a mobile key/smart lock (keyless door) for access to rooms, and another 34% are planning to implement it. Automatic guest recognition is used by 25% of chains, with 36% planning to adopt this type of technology.

Promotion of hotel chains' additional services is concentrated mainly at the time of booking (78%), pre-stay e-mail (67%), and arrival (65%).

On the other hand, only 27% of additional services are offered in an automated way during the stay (app, mobile, digitalised ordering), which represents the greatest room for improvement for hotel chains.

- Source: h2c study, 2023 Digital Hotel Operations Study

What is stopping hoteliers from equipping themselves with technology?

45% of hoteliers say that the fragmented nature of technology and data prevents them from having a single, comprehensive view of guests and operations.

The hotel IT ecosystem is made up of a multitude of software applications that can sometimes be difficult to interconnect. Integration with their exisiting technology is a complex issue for most hotels.

45% of respondents say that a lack of leadership buy-in is a barrier to adopting technology within the hotel.  

Overall, company directors would like to see a stronger strategic commitment to innovation at all levels of management.‍

- Source: Deloitte 2023 study, Toward Travel's Frictionless Frontline: Integrating Technology and Workforce

All this goes to show the importance of choosing the right technological equipment based on existing (or planned) connectivity, in order to make life easier for operational staff, and to avoid hampering sales and marketing strategies in their retention and upsell actions.

What expectations do travellers have of technology during their travel experience?

In view of the various studies carried out on how travellers feel about their digital experiences, their expectations are not yet being met. And yet, the more technology improves, the more guest expectations are heightened.

The guest experience as a whole

For 84% of guests, the experience a brand provides is as important as its products and services.

65% of customers want companies to tailor experience to their needs.

The majority of customers consider that the experience offered by a brand is as crucial as its products or services, and a large proportion seek personalisation tailored to their needs.

81% of customers expect faster service as technology advances.

And yet, 61% of customers say that most companies treat them as a number.

- Source: Salesforce 2023 Report, Focus on the connected guest

A significant proportion are disappointed by the lack of personalisation on the part of companies, despite technological advances. The hotel industry has many cards to play in this area.

What do guests really want?

Today's travellers are looking for solutions that simplify every stage of their journey, from trip planning to the post-stay period. 

65% of guests want hotels to offer technologies that minimise contact with staff and other guests - Source: Oracle Hospitality & Skift 2022 study, Hotels in 2025: automated, intelligent... and more personalised

Covid-19 definitely marked a willingness of guests to go digital in order to access as many hotel services as possible. It's hard to imagine a return to the past, but rather an amplification of this trend is the right idea. 

74% of guests expect to be able to do anything online that they can already do in-person or by phone - Source: Salesforce 2023 Report, Focus on the connected guest

Indeed, easy access to information, wherever and whenever guest needs it, is an important feature of online services.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of French travellers want to use a mobile device to manage their hotel experience

This figure is even higher for international guests (73%). Priority functions include check-in/check-out, room selection, payment, ordering room service, metaview of reservation, etc.

- Source: Oracle Hospitality & Skift 2022 study, Hospitality in 2025: automated, intelligent... and more personalised

What are the most important aspects of the guest experience?

Across all industries, the most important aspects of the guest experience are all linked to fluid internal organisation: fast response time (75%), consistency across communication channels (55%), knowledgeable staff (52%), clear consistent messaging (46%), and a person to talk with (37%).

- Source: SuperOffice 2024, Customer Experience Statistics

Self-service

60% of French travellers believe they are more likely to stay in an establishment that offers self-service technology (73% internationally). - Source: Oracle Hospitality & Skift 2022 study, Hotels in 2025: automated, intelligent... and more personalised

Self-service promotes autonomy for the guest, who is thus able to carry out tasks on their own, when it suits them, without the need for direct intervention by hotel staff. The aim of self-service is often to provide guests with a smoother experience, but also for the hotel to reduce operating costs and optimise resources.

Contactless

96% of international hotels are investing in contactless technology

62% note that a "complete contactless experience" is likely to be the most widely adopted innovation in the sector over the next 3 years.

- Source: Oracle Hospitality & Skift 2022 study, Hospitality in 2025: automated, intelligent... and more personalised

Check-in

If we take the findings of recent studies, guest expectations are leaning towards efficiency and speed at check-in and check-out. 

56% of French travellers prefer in-person check-in, while the other half prefer to check-in indepently. 

However, for guests who prefer to check-in independently, they opt for a personal device such as their smartphone rather than a kiosk. 

In contrast, only 14% of French guests would accept checking in at a hotel kiosk.

- Source: Planet 2023 study, Global Sentiment Report

Check-out

Departure is no exception to the guest's need for efficiency, especially when it comes to transport.

45% of French guests want to check out quickly and without queuing - Source: Planet 2023 study, Global Sentiment Report

And understandably so, as departure is one of the most stressful moments of a trip. Just like dematerialised check-in, helping guests to formalise administrative steps before their departure (checking the sum, payment, invoicing...) makes life easier and takes the pressure off.

Payment

More than 1 in 5 European guests find that their preferred method of payment is not available when booking online.

70% of customers use credit cards as their primary means of booking a hotel online, followed by PayPal (40%), Google/Apple Pay (11%), and prepaid cards such as Revolut (12%). For in-person purchases, e-wallets account for 44% of consumers.

- Source: Planet 2023 study, Global Sentiment Report

43% of French travellers want contactless payment (49% internationally) - Source: Oracle Hospitality & Skift 2022 study, Hotels in 2025: automated, intelligent... and more personalised

Hotel services

For 56% of guests, Wi-Fi is one of the most important services, particularly for 63% of American travellers.

For 50% of guests on average, the complementary TV or cinema package is important, which is the case for 40% of European guests, but 68% of guests in Latin America and 58% in the Middle East.

- Source: Planet 2023 study, Global Sentiment Report

Local experiences

Guests plan to spend more on experiences in 2024. Another growing trend sees guests seeking authentic experiences that offer a glimpse of local life.

9 out of 10 people intend to spend as much or more money on experiences in 2024

Experiences are the activities offered during a stay. They include hotel facilities (spa, restaurant, gym...) or outsourced activities (excursions, events...). The aim of such experiences is to create memorable moments that will leave a lasting impression. 

45% of French people say they are willing to spend more on experiences in 2024

Among the French's favourite experiences: travel (58%), outdoor activities (36%), and going to the cinema (36%). But what do they expect from these? 50% want to be able to relive these moments through photos, 37% want anecdotes to share, and 23% prioritise enrichment and learning new things.

- Source: Mastercard 2024 study, The summer of experiences in Europe

79% of Gen-Z and millennial travellers indicated that they would want to take part in the daily life of locals in the destination they are visiting.

And it goes even further than simply getting a taste of local life: these travellers want to actively participate by supporting local businesses.

86% agree they want to support local businesses during their travels.

- Source: American Express Report, 2023 Global Travel Trends Report

75% of Booking‧com users seek "authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture" - Source: Booking Reportcom, Sustainable Travel Report 2023

"Neighborhood tourism" is a significant trend, with travellers wanting to "live like a local" and hoteliers thus rethinking their spaces and services to bring locals into their establishments.

Loyalty

Guests don't want to return to a hotel without financial advantages. European guests expect economic considerations: discounts (42%), loyalty point tracking (32%), a consideration of their preferences (29%), and automatic upgrades (23%).

- Source: Planet 2023 study, Global Sentiment Report

56% of hotel guests say they will become regulars after a personalised experience.

An increase of 7% compared to 2022. Personalisation is increasingly decisive for customers, and a guarantee of loyalty.

- Source: Segment 2023 study, The State of Personalization Report

Personalisation and guest loyalty therefore seem to be closely linked, which is bound to intensify with improved technologies that will increasingly enable capitalising on data.

The future of the hotel industry is undeniably linked to technology and its thoughtful integration into every stage of the guest experience. As hotels strive to reconcile operational efficiency with personalisation and guest service, investment in innovative solutions becomes essential to remain competitive in an ever-changing industry. By understanding the evolving needs of travellers and adopting appropriate technologies, hotels can not only improve profitability, but also build guest loyalty and guarantee long-term success in this highly competitive sector.

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