Criton research details hotel guests’ technology preferences

Paul Stevens By Paul Stevens
16 April 2019 | Updated 16 April 2019

Edinburgh: Research commissioned by hospitality firm Criton reveals hotel guests' core requirements, such as loyalty programmes, self check-in/out and digital door key access.

The survey of more than 3,600 travellers also revealed a growing dependence among guests on bespoke travel apps.

The findings outline pertinent information for all hoteliers, with guests' smartphones being highlighted as an essential tool for delivering and improving one's travel experience.  With 45 per cent of respondents travelling for leisure over four times a year, research showed that 62 per cent of respondents regularly use an accommodation app, with the figure rising to 67 per cent among business travellers.

Meanwhile, 74 per cent of respondents said they would use an official hotel app if there were one, whereas only ten per cent preferred an in-room device such as a hotel's smartphone or tablet. 

The findings reinforce Criton's core belief that the future of hotel technology is with guests' own personal devices. Hoteliers will no longer need to take on the cost of installing in-room devices when their guests travel with their own smartphone and are more comfortable with the apps and content within it.

The opportunity for guests to check-in via an app and access their hotel room via a digital door key was received favourably with 58 per cent likely or very likely to want this technology. With 68 per cent finding it unacceptable to queue at reception for longer than five minutes, offering guests access to a service which global chains already offer is rapidly becoming a vital priority for independent operators.

Those surveyed prioritised loyalty programmes as their favoured element of hotel technology with 53 per cent recognising it as their top requirement.  In a competitive landscape, the opportunity to drive direct and repeat bookings through a personalised loyalty programme would ensure hoteliers save on OTA commission while creating their own closed marketing group to upsell onsite services and facilities.

The survey found an audience ready to talk about technology use and expectations while travelling. 

Julie Grieve, founder and CEO of Criton, which developed the UK's first intuitive app builder for the hospitality sector, reflected on the results of the survey.

Grieve said: "Increasingly, today's travellers are downloading apps that help them get around and stay connected with their hotel. That level of tech awareness or even dependency also raises expectations for information, guest services, such as check-in, digital key and offers and incentives to reward their loyalty.

"Respondents to the survey were people who travel regularly, with the majority opting for a mid-range hotel or accommodation. It is increasingly clear that adopting technology has to be seen as an imperative for all hospitality providers; it is not something purely for the major franchises," she added.

Criton aims to provide independent operators with the means to compete with global chain technology through an easy-to-use platform. 

The firm supports hospitality businesses and clients across the UK and overseas in a number of ways, from digitising the traditional hotel room guest book to PMS, live chat, digital door key and in-room ordering integrations all contained within a fully-branded hotel app.

Research Methodology:

An online survey ran from Tuesday 26 March until Monday 1 April and received a total of 3,654 responses, of whom 1,311 were classed as business travellers.  

Key Findings:

•         45 per cent of travellers stated they travel for leisure two to three times a year

•         36 per cent travel for business

•         39 per cent use TripAdvisor as main source of research and inspiration before booking a hotel, followed by 29 per cent of respondents relying on online search

•         40 per cent of travellers said they regularly stay in a four-star boutique hotel, with six per cent in a five-star hotel. 47 per cent said they regularly stay in a three-star mid-range hotel

•         53 per cent have at least one hotel app on their phone

•         74 per cent would use a hotel app if their favourite hotel had one

•         55 per cent stated it is acceptable to wait at check-in for two to five minutes

•         62 per cent would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app

•         58 per cent would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app and use a digital key

App usage:

•         62 per cent use an accommodation app regularly, such as Airbnb

•         57 per cent use a transport app regularly

•         47 per cent use an airline app regularly

•         36 per cent use a hotel app regularly

The hotel technology that respondents seek:

•         53 per cent - loyalty programmes

•         35 per cent - self check-in

•         Ten per cent - in-room mobile

•         18 per cent - in-room tablet

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