Delivering Hotel Experiences for the New Travel Generation
Thanks to a new generation of travelers, those two words should be imprinted in your mind as the strategy of 2018. Your job as a hotelier is no longer as simple as “here’s your room key, enjoy your stay.” Guests, quite simply, want more. What lies behind the “more” is something called Experience Economy. In essence, the term describes those who prefer to spend money on experiences, rather than material goods. These are the guests who want to create memories, show off their surroundings, and share every detail of their vacation—typically on social media. Of course, it will come as no surprise that millennials (the nation’s biggest generation by the numbers) is at the forefront of this trend. And it’s through their vacation perspective, as well as the lens of their smart phones, that the landscape of hotel expectations is shifting.
Is your hotel primed for these experience-driven vacations? Here are a few ideas that can help you make it happen.
Make It Personal. The most direct path to creating an experience for your guests is through knowledge. Learn about them and then personalize their stay based on that information. Here are two ways to make that happen.
Use Booking Confirmation Emails as a Questionnaire Tool
After providing the requisite reservation details, direct guests to answer a few simple questions that will help you make their stay special. A sample question may be:
“What are your vacation goals?
A) Seeing the local sights
B) Relaxing poolside
C) Enjoying a romantic getaway
D) Making memories worth posting
Based on their answers, have items waiting in their room upon arrival. For pool lovers, provide sun visors and vouchers for two poolside cocktails. Or for the tourist set, leave guides for the best local attractions, along with a free shuttle into town.
Look into Concierge Apps
The Four Season’s “Lucy” app and the Marriott Hotels’ signature app are great examples of virtual concierge possibilities. These types of apps allow guests to customize their room experience before even checking in to your property. they can input requests, such as scheduling daily wake-up calls, ordering extra towels, stipulating room temperature and making requests for special dietary preferences on room service menus (i.e. plant-based meals, allergies, etc.). Depending on the app’s capabilities, guests could even schedule spa treatments or make dining reservations from wherever they are—right from their smart phone. Imagine the social media posts:
A poolside image, cocktail in hand—
“Next up…massage! #vacationbliss #poolparty @nameofyourhotel”
Make Local Connections
Having connections in your hotel’s city can produce some of the most amazing experiences for your guests. And your concierge staff should have those relationships established and always growing. If they don’t, help them build up those connections through training, socializing, constantly exploring and keeping their finger firmly on the pulse of the city. Through both purposeful introductions and natural relationships, connections will grow and be an invaluable asset to your hotel and guests. For example, establishing a relationship with the maître d at your city’s hottest restaurant could come in handy for guests looking for hard-to-get reservations—and they’ll remember it when reviews and social media come into play. It’s all about having the power to provide seemingly exclusive perks that create unforgettable memories.
Get Creative with Guest Room Experiences
Make the guest room itself an experience by incorporating unique features that will appeal to the new generation of travelers. For example,EVEN® Hotels feature wellness-themed rooms with cork flooring, cooling eucalyptus bedding, adjustable ambience lighting, and an in-room “fitness zone” area with yoga matts, resistance bands, on-demand video workouts and more.
Another nifty example is the in-room dog amenities at New York City’s Benjamin Hotel, where dogs enjoy their own mini bar, a plush dog bed, chic Mungo & Maud feeding bowls, and (thanks to a partnership with BarkBox), a BarkBox that’s sized just right for your dog (and filled with all-natural treats, toys and chews). Afterall, these days, great pet-guest experiences are just as social media-worthy as their human’s experiences.
Offer True Travel Experiences
What sort of unique local adventures are available around your area? If you don’t know, start investigating the options and either offer to arrange outings for guests, or incorporate them into packages. One hotel chain that is rocking this strategy incredibly well is Marriott. They invested in PlacePass (an online marketplace for tours and activities across the world), and travelers can now choose from an impressive array of experiences when they book their rooms through the hotel site. For example, guests in Arizona can enjoy a champagne picnic in the Grand Canyon or those in London can take in a private viewing of the Crown Jewels, hosted by the Tower of London’s chief exhibitor.
For the best deals and interesting ideas, look into partnerships with local touring companies, or online sites like TripAdvisor®’s Viator or Urban Adventures. Don’t simply concentrate on ordinary tours of the city either—think about attractions that spark guests’ posting cravings, such as Sloan’s Key West Ghost Hunt in Florida or a Flyboard experience in San Diego. #Lettheadventuresbegin!
Do you have a plan in play for experience-driven guests? Let us know how your hotel is making every stay a memorable one!