Travellers desire for personalised services growing: IHG survey

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SummaryPrimary research of 7,000 international globetrotters worldwide reveals the latest needs and desires of today’s traveller

The expectations of 21st century travellers are evolving – and the standards expected of global hotel brands are high, according to new research published by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). In the past, the hospitality industry has traditionally focused on how to be 2D – global and local. This research shows that given the rapid rise of technology-enabled personalisation travellers now want hotel brands that are 3D – global, local and personal.

Last year, IHG published: ‘The New Kinship Economy’, highlighting a transition from brand experiences to brand relationships in the hospitality sector. This year’s, Creating ‘Moments of Trust’: The key to building successful brand relationships in the Kinship Economy”, builds on this work to help IHG gain a deeper understanding of what it is that travellers around the world are likely to want from their relationships with hotel brands. It shows that travellers are reshaping their expectations of global hotel brands and are now looking for hotels to not only deliver consistently good service and to reflect local trends and customs, but to also tailor their stays to meet their personal preferences.

According to the research, travellers’ expectations of tailored experiences at every touch-point are increasing; Nearly three in five (59 per cent) travellers say their hotel stay is significantly more comfortable if services are personalised and more than half (54 per cent) admit it makes them feel more valued.

Factors such as age and geography mean travellers view personalisation differently; Millennials (people age 18-34) are particularly interested in access to personal content, such as movies or music while travellers over 65 are most interested in healthy food and beverage choices.

Three in four of these Millennial travellers believe that global hotel brands do a better job at being innovative in comparison to local hotel brands.

“New Global Explorers” (travellers originating from emerging economies) have higher expectations for personalisation than travellers from developed markets. For example, 64 per cent of Chinese and 62 per cent of Brazilian travellers expect a hotel to tailor the experience they have to their personal needs, compared to 43 per cent of US and 42 per cent of UK travellers. These 'New Global Explorers' also prize personalisation more highly than developed market counterparts, seeing it as a sign of respect. 62 per cent of Chinese, 54 per cent of Brazilians, and 46 per cent of travellers from the UAE feel more respected if their experience is personalised.

Richard Solomons,

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