In “Influencing customer experience with mobile technology” Mr. Michael Simon, General Manager of Distribution EMEA and APAC, Marriott International, shared with us how new technologies are changing the traditional hotel industry and impacting consumer experiences. Undeniably, while mobile technology is changing our lives, it also created many possibilities and new opportunities.
Next generation travelers in China: born and raised with new technologies
In the past two decades, China has transformed from a Pre-PC era directly to the period of mobile technology. Thanks to the 400 million new generation users, the science and technology development has experienced the fastest and most premier growth in China. In the next 5 years, it is expected 75% of Marriott customers would become “Wifi Generation”, whom are mostly born after 1998, grew up with technologies and have strong ability to adapt to new information technology. Their extent of using new technologies is about three times higher than the previous generation and many of them prefer online reservations. With mobile technology, a hotel stay experience now starts simply from making a booking.
The new way: everything to be arranged by mobile phones
It is now common for new generation travelers to call for taxi on a mobile app for calling taxis. In the future, more travelers will use their smart phones to obtain boarding pass. Landing and hotel arrival information will be sent to their mobiles while they are still on the planes. Based on various researches, online activities stopped once travelers arrived at their hotels. There are a lot of human intensive interactions within a hotel, many do not have yet online services. While interpersonal communication is critical in the serviced-oriented hotel industry, we also need to stay prospective and adapt to change. Under the premise of maintaining good customer experience, it is necessary to apply new technologies to better serve their needs. For instance, research found that many consumers pay close attention to digital involvement of hotels, such as videos and website qualities, before they make reservations. At present, approximately one out of three reservations is made through Marriott official website and there is an increasing trend of customers willing to participate in Marriott’s reward program.
The experience that future travelers want: Digital involvement, fast access and quick interaction
Based on recent research, 70% customers agreed that technologies affect their stay decision and 74% of them are interested in digital involvements, where they could discover more hotel offerings such as rooms, spa facilities and restaurants. In addition, travelers hope that new technologies could be quickly accessible to enhance interaction, arrange services and improve experiences. These services include check-in check-out by smartphones, instant payment through mobile app (eg. Marriot’s launch of Alipay in China), room-ready alerts, service requests (eg. Request for a glass of champagne through mobile app), restaurant reservations, mobile guestroom keys, and mobile connection to in-room entertainment (eg. connecting smartphone or ipad to in-room TV with bluetooth).
This is the era where mobile technology dominates. Yet in the development, we must also pay close attention to the possible service interruption (eg. customer frustrations when mobile keys fail to open guestroom doors) and cost issues caused by new technology. Take Marriott’s mobile key development as an example, the group is fully aware of the concerns and has developed 76 kinds of different door locking methods. Other than guestroom doors, Marriott is also trying to apply it to other facilities such as guests’ access to executive lounge or meeting rooms. The ultimate goal is to ensure high level of security, enable multi-functionality as well as control operating costs.
Horwath HTL has created a new brand identity – CHAT, tilored for China’s hotel and tourism industry! CHAT, the abbreviation for China Hotels And Tourism, encourages industry people to gather, create dialogue and network through the platform, as well as exchange and share experience and knowledge. CHAT Beijing is an enhancement of the “China Hotel Development and Financing Conference”, which has been held for eleven years in Beijing. We further focus the conference specifically on hotel and tourism development and investment issues. There are 650 delegates attended 2015 CHAT Beijing with the largest segment being domestic hotel and tourism developers and owners. CHAT Shanghai is an upgrade of our annual “China Hotel Market Review and Outlook Seminar”, which has been held over the past six years. CHAT Shanghai focus on hotel asset management and operations. 510 delegates attended CHAT Shanghai in September 2015. CHAT Beijing and CHAT Shanghai held in Spring and Autumn respectively cover the full hotel and tourism business cycle from development and investment to asset management and operations. CHAT will enable you to achieve successful business development through its various powerful platforms!
About Horwath HTL
Horwath HTL is the management consulting of Crowe Horwath International that specializes in hotel, leisure and tourism industries. Established in Asia in 1987, Horwath HTL has consulted about 4,000 hotel and tourism related projects throughout the region (including over 1,200 projects in China) for clients ranging from individually held businesses to the world’s most prominent operators, developers, lenders, investors and industrial corporations. Horwath HTL now operates offices in several key cities throughout the Asia Pacific region, including Auckland, Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Our offices work closely together to ensure that our clients receive a multi-skilled international perspective for their projects. Horwath HTL is also supported by the Horwath database, the largest and most complete hotel and tourism related database in the world. No other firm is better positioned to meet today’s and tomorrow’s industry challenges than Horwath HTL – Experts in the hotel, tourism and leisure industries.