Dependence on mobile phones when travelling is brought into sharp focus by a survey of more than 3,600 travellers which reveals a growing appreciation for bespoke travel apps.
Research commissioned by Edinburgh-based hospitality firm Criton, highlights that loyalty programmes, self-check-in/out and accessing your hotel room via a digital door key are primary requirements of today's guests.
The findings highlight crucial information for all hoteliers, with guests' smartphones now recognised as an essential tool for delivering and improving their travel experience. With 45% of respondents travelling for leisure more than four times a year, findings showed that 62% of respondents regularly use an accommodation app, with the figure increasing to 67% amongst business travellers.
If their favourite hotel was to have its own app, 74% of respondents overwhelmingly stated they would use this digital channel, with only 10% favouring an in-room device such as a hotel's smartphone or tablet. This reinforces Criton's core belief that the future of hotel technology is own device. Hoteliers no longer need to absorb 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 to check-in via an app and access their hotel room via a digital door key was warmly received with 58% likely or very likely to want this technology. With 68% finding it unacceptable to queue at reception for longer than five minutes, offering guests access to a service which global chains already offer is fast becoming a core priority for independent operators.
Respondents prioritised loyalty programmes as their favoured element of hotel technology with 53% recognising it as their top requirement. In a competitive landscape, the opportunity to drive direct and repeat bookings through a personalised loyalty programme will ensure hoteliers save on OTA commission while creating their own closed marketing group to upsell onsite services and facilities.
Underlining modern travellers' awareness of technology, the survey found an audience ready to talk about tech use and expectations while travelling. Reflecting on the results of the survey, Julie Grieve, founder and CEO of Criton, which developed the UK's first intuitive app builder for the hospitality sector, 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."
Criton lets independent operators compete with big chain technology through an easy to use platform. 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; Criton supports hospitality businesses with their digital transformation strategies and work with clients across the UK and overseas.
- 45% of travellers stated they travel for leisure 2-3 times a year
- 36% travel for business
- 39% use TripAdvisor as main source of research and inspiration before booking a hotel, followed by 29% of respondents relying on online search
- 40% of travellers said they regularly stay in a 4-star (boutique) hotel, with 6% in a 5-star (luxury) hotel. The majority (47%) stated they regularly stay in a 3-star (mid-range) hotel
- 53% have at least one hotel app on their phone
- 74% would use a hotel app if their favourite hotel had one
- 55% stated it is acceptable to wait at check-in 2-5 minutes
- 62% would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app
- 58% would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app and use digital key
- 62% use an accommodation app regularly (eg Airbnb)
- 57% use a transport app regularly
- 47% use an airline app regularly
- 36% uses a hotel app regularly
The hotel technology that respondents seek:
- 53% - loyalty programmes
- 35% - self check-in
- 10% - in-room mobile
- 18% - in-room tablet
An online survey ran from Tuesday 26th March until Monday 1st April and received a total of 3,654 responses, of whom 1,311 were classed as business travellers.