Guests’ expectations of a hotel stay – Hotel trends 2021

A bed, a bathroom and a roof over their heads – that alone is certainly no longer enough for guests during their stay in a hotel. As the guests’ expectations are rising, so are the demands on hosts. Some hoteliers already stand out from the competition with exceptional service and happy guests – but how do they do it? We summarize what hotel guests expect and how these affect the hotel trends 2021.

Personal and modern service

Guest care begins well before arrival! In the best case, guests arrive well-prepared with all the necessary information about check-in, the surroundings, the parking situation and the offers of their accommodation. But how does that work? Probably the easiest way is via the booking confirmation. Here, modern hoteliers include a reference to their Digital Guest Directory, which immediately answers all the important questions. This trend leads to many guests informing themselves before arrival and making first reservations and bookings of additional offers.

Time is valuable – not only for the hotel staff, but also for the guests. Hoteliers avoid unnecessary waiting time, for example, by having guests fill out the legally required registration form digitally already before their stay. Upon arrival, only the guests’ signature has to be added. This makes check-in even faster and easier for guests and hosts.

Guests feel particularly comfortable if they have a contact person on site at all times to answer their questions and requests. Almost three quarters of guests attach particular importance to this.[1] Sufficient staff, available around the clock either in person, by phone or digitally is therefore essential. Contact via chat or via a dedicated hotel app is a growing trend in the hotel industry in 2021. Of course, guests also expect a friendly and helpful attitude from their hosts – even in case of unpleasant concerns or complaints. And with the right reaction, hoteliers also appease disgruntled guests again and ward off negative online reviews.

Different selection criteria when choosing a hotel. Source: IMWF & Scandic Hotels [1]

Reliable technology and digital offers

Today, it is hard to imagine the hotel industry without the mega trend of digitalisation. It starts with an appealing website with direct booking function, followed by free WiFi throughout the hotel, all the way to digital services. These include, for example, a Digital Guest Directory, the online booking of services, a hotel’s own chat or the hotel TV.

WiFi in the hotel

As soon as they enter the hotel, guests log on to the hotel’s Wi-Fi. They chat with their friends and families or search for further information for their stay. Via the accommodation’s Wifi Landing Page they automatically access the Digital Guest Directory. There they find all important information, offers and excursion tips at a glance. No long research on various external sites is needed.

WiFi is a well established hotel trend: For more than half of the hotel guests, the availability of high-speed WiFi is a decisive factor when choosing a hotel.[1] After all, guests are used to constant internet access and don’t want to make any compromises, especially on their holidays.

Digital Services

Of course, guests expect certain services during their stay: information about the accommodation and the region, tips for excursions depending on the weather, the possibility to book offers and quick answers to their questions. The Digital Guest Directory combines all these services and information in a single solution – it is a real “all-rounder”. Guests use their own smartphones and tablets to access the guest A-Z, a travel guide for the region and all of the latest information. They book offers and activities via digital forms in the Guest Directory. And thanks to the chat function, personal contact with a hotel employee is easier and more convenient than ever before!

You can read more about the Digital Guest Directory here on our blog.

Hotel TV and Digital Signage

Another thing that is a must in the hotel room is a television. Guests want to relax with a movie or watch the news – just like they do at home. Increasingly, hoteliers also hear the wish for an internet-enabled TV in the room that allows streaming of series and movies on demand.

But also outside the room, for example at the reception or in the fitness area, the trend is moving towards digital technology. With the help of monitors showing the hotel’s info channel, they always stay up to date on the weather forecast, the dinner menu, breakfast times or the hygiene concept. Flyers and daily changing paper notices are a thing of the past!

Tip: Treat your guests to even more fun with interactive screens, such as tablets or Touchscreen Kiosks. On these devices, hoteliers also display the Digital Guest Directory to their guests stationarily at selected locations in the hotel. The interactive screens are an excellent complement to the app and web version of the Digital Guest Directory.

digital signage products by Guestfriend ©Gastfreund GmbH

Safety and hygiene

The safety of guests and employees should be a top priority in every business. This includes protection against crimes, such as theft or damage to property, as well as ensuring one’s own physical health. For example, the room safe is part of the basic equipment of a hotel, followed by security staff on site and locking the entrance doors for strangers at night.

A topic that has become even more important in times of the Corona pandemic is cleanliness and hygiene in the hotel. One third of holidaymakers attach great importance to safety during their trip – significantly more than before the pandemic.[4] For example, an unclean hotel room is the number one disruptive factor on a holiday.[3] However, guests want to feel well looked after not only in their rooms, but also in common areas, without the fear of an increased health risk. Nowadays, guests expect a consistently implemented hygiene concept from their hosts. And of course, these measures to protect guests and staff must also be communicated and enforced clearly. This is where the balancing act between safety and guest comfort begins. After all, guests should still feel comfortable and relaxed on their holidays despite all the safety precautions and hygiene regulations.

Even if “contactless” and “keeping your distance” sound counterproductive for the hotel industry, personal service does not have to suffer from social distancing and the obligation to wear a face mask. With the help of a Digital Guest Directory including chat and booking functions, guest service also works contactlessly. If they have questions, guests no longer have to come to the reception desk in person. Instead, they conveniently use their own smartphone to get in touch. And it gets even better: via digital forms, guests book a wellness appointment, order room service, fill out the guest registration or reserve a table in the restaurant at any time. It is faster, more hygienic and still personal.

Sustainability and regional products

Sustainability is an important issue for an increasing number of people. This makes it one of the biggest trends not only in everyday life, but also on holiday – and it will remain so in 2021. Nowadays, more than 60 % of travellers want a socially acceptable and resource-conserving holiday.[2] For example, many guests gladly avoid unnecessary paper consumption during their stay due to countless flyers and brochures. Or they cancel the daily room cleaning, if the hotel offers this option. This way, they not only keep a clear conscience, but also help to save costs for staff, flyer printing and cleaning agents and reduce the hotel’s water consumption.

Typically, holidaymakers are also interested in the hotel’s region and want to know about local specialties and traditions. By offering regional products, both on the digital menu and for purchase, hoteliers are sure to score points with these guests. With shorter transport distances, hoteliers reduce their own carbon footprint and boost the local economy at the same time.

Do you already meet the expectations of your guests?
We show you how to offer your guests what they want with digital tools!

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[1] IMWF & Scandic Hotels,  „Wachstumstrends im Deutschen Hotelmarkt“, https://www.scandichotels.de/press-room#/pressreleases/studie-jeder-dritte-deutsche-bevorzugt-nachhaltige-hotels-2832631

[2] FUR Reiseanalyse 2020, Erste ausgewählte Ergebnisse, https://reiseanalyse.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/RA2020_Erste-Ergebnisse_DE.pdf

[3] Allianz Partners (AWP P&C S.A.), Reisen 2019, https://www.allianz-partners.de/content/dam/onemarketing/awp/allianz-partners-de/pressetexte/studien/Ergebnisbericht_Allianz_Partners_Reisen_Dezember_2019.pdf

[4] Allianz Partners (AWP P&C S.A.), Reisen nach Corona, https://www.allianz-partners.de/content/dam/onemarketing/awp/allianz-partners-de/pressetexte/studien/20200723_Allianz_Partners_Ergebnisse_Studie_Covid19.pdf

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