STUDY: Travel/Hospitality Customers Demand a More Digital Experience


Earlier this month, MCD (Magnani Caruso Dutton) Partners published a white paper that should be of great interest to everyone with clients in the travel/hospitality industry.

The survey, conducted among 1,000 random consumers in the three major travel sectors (business, leisure and family), found that they overwhelmingly want a more digital experience in exchange for that elusive brand loyalty.

What does this mean? In the press release, MCD creative director John Caruso simplifies: “personalization and convenience.”

  • 70% of travelers say a hotel’s website, app and other digital tools strongly influence their spending decisions
  • More than half of those who felt strongly about this point said that customer service/experience was their top priority

Guests at high-end hotels are predictably picky:

  • 80% want the power to set personal preferences that help define the experience and allow the brand to cater to their tastes on future trips. These include “bed type, pillow type, newspaper delivery, dietary needs and billing preferences”
  • 74% want “substantial digital involvement” from the brand, which means everything you can think of that involves a smartphone

The specifics are instructional; these customers expect to be pleasantly surprised.

Things they really want, in order of importance:

  • A tool to check out amenities and hours before they arrive
  • Digital maps/guides to local businesses and attractions
  • A way to avoid all that front desk mess via automated digital check-in
  • …and to request a late check-out remotely
  • The ability to get concierge tips without actually speaking to a real-life person

Things business travelers want but others could potentially do without:

  • Digital room service options
  • A way to pay the bill by phone
  • A taxi-scheduling option to help them reach the airport without talking

MCD predicts that all of these features will soon become industry standards. The big question: how many do your clients offer? And how are they promoting these offerings to their target audiences?

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