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High-tech, low-touch accommodation stays order of the day

Positive news for managers looking to tech to manage through current staffing shortage

A new study by Oracle Hospitality and Skift shows that 97 percent of people in Australia plan to travel in the next six months with 29 percent taking what the company describes as an ‘epic ‘revenge travel trip.’

However, the research also reveals many want to eliminate the ‘touch’ factor from the high touch industry they once knew with 75 percent of Australians wanting to use their mobile device to manage their hotel experience, including checking in and out, paying, ordering food, and more.

This is seen as positive news for hoteliers looking to tech to manage through the current staffing shortage without hurting guest engagement and service. 

The study results also showed Australian travellers will over the next few years be looking to personalise their journey even more by picking their exact room and floor and paying for only the amenities they want – and even wanting to pre-screening properties in the metaverse (62 percent).

Moreover, 67 percent are interested in hotels using AI to better tailor services and offers, such as room pricing or food suggestions and discounts. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of Australian hotel executives see this ‘unbundled’ model as the future of hotel revenue management. 

Oracle Hospitality Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Alex Alt, said the pandemic has established technology’s role in the guest and associate journey, and the industry is never going back.

“Whether a hotel organisation has two properties or 2,000, guests are looking for the highly digital, self-service experience they have come to expect in other parts of their lives, from banking to ordering food.

“For hoteliers to meet these demands and emerging ones like unbundled services, they need systems that will enable them to quickly adapt, ‘plug in’ new services, and better understand and serve a diverse group of travellers.”

Conducted earlier this year, the “Hospitality in 2025: Automated, Intelligent… and More Personal” study surveyed 5,266 consumers and 633 hotel executives across the world including 516 travellers and 54 hotel executives in Australia with a view to better understanding how guest expectations have changed and how hotels are adapting.

Consumers and executives were surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, and Mexico.

Key finds from the report included:

Aussies want people to ‘get away’ while on their getaway

  •     81 percent of Australians don’t miss being around other people while staying on a hotel property.
  •     75 percent agree that they’re more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service technology to minimise contact with the staff and other guests.
  •     34 percent want a fully self-service model, with staff only available upon request. 
  •     45 percent want to order room service from their phone or a chatbot.
  •     49 percent are also looking for contactless payments (only 5 percent want to pay in crypto) and 36 percent of travellers said they want a fully contactless experience

Aussies are looking for the comfort of home, even when away from home

  •     52 percent said on-demand entertainment access that seamlessly connects to their personal streaming or gaming accounts is their number 1 must-have during their stay. Similarly, 57 percent of hotel executives said this in-room entertainment set-up is what they’re most likely to implement by 2025.
  •     75 percent of travellers are interested in using automated messaging or chatbots for customer service requests at hotels.
  •     34 percent want voice-activated controls for all amenities in their rooms (lights, curtains, door locks, etc.).
  •     21 percent want room controls that auto-adjust temperature, lighting, and even digital art based on pre-shared preferences.      

 A la carte-based hotel pricing 

Consumers are interested in a hotel model that lets them pay for just what they use. Hoteliers, in tandem, are looking at new service models that upsell everything from amenities to adventures:  

  •     69 percent of hoteliers expect a big service model shift between now and 2025.
  •     76 percent agreed that “special amenities and upgrades” are critical to their revenue strategy. 
  •     76 percent predict that the future of hotel revenue management will be underpinned by unbundling room        rates, like a “basic economy” vs. “economy plus” model on airlines.

 For Australian travellers: 

  •     87 percent said they would be likely to book a hotel that allowed them to pay only for amenities that they        use.
  •     60 percent are willing to pay more to choose their view; 55 percent to check in early/check out late; 39    b       percent to choose their room; 36 percent to use the spa, wellness, or fitness services; 36 percent to choose       their room floor; and more.

Into the metaverse 

Interest in virtual reality and metaverse-related hotel amenities are high, but are not currently on the “must-have” list:

  •     62 percent of Australian travellers are very or somewhat interested in using metaverse/VR to explore a             hotel virtually before they book.
  •    77 percent said they would be interested in metaverse experiences like sightseeing, art exhibits, and fitness       classes if hotels provided VR headsets. 
  •    25 percent of hotel executives are already developing VR maps of their hotels or are planning to do so             within the next year. 

The full report can be viewed at www.oracle.com/industries/hospitality/hospitality-in-2025-report

 

Mike Parker-Brown

Mike Parker-Brown is a UK-trained and qualified journalist and an award-winning travel communicator with more than 30 years experience. Since 2002, Mike has worked as a freelance writer and PR consultant providing his services to major organisations in Australia and internationally in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, recruitment and export marketing sectors.

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