What is it that we really want from hotels nowadays? For me, luxury travel is all about service and attention to detail and, when it comes to rooms, hotels aren’t always getting it quite right. Free WiFi is thankfully becoming more commonplace (despite some notable exceptions) but in some cases, the provision of in-room facilities still isn’t quite ticking all the boxes.
Research carried out by energy supplier E.ON has unveiled some interesting findings when it comes to what guests really want from their hotels. The company surveyed 2,000 leisure and business travellers in a bid to ascertain people’s true hotel needs, and were able to identify how these have changed, in some cases even in just the last few years. I’d suggest the conclusions are largely consistent with my own wishes when it comes to hotels – traditional breaks where all a guest wanted to do is get away from it all is fast being replaced by trips where travellers would rather stay as connected as possible. For me and presumably others, this is something of a necessity due to work. Here are some of their key findings:
Gadgets and technology
Travellers now take 40% more gadgets away with them when they go on a trip, compared with just five years ago. Tablets used to accompany just 6% of travellers in 2011, but now that figure has soared to 44%. In the same period, Kindles and e-readers have seen an almost three-fold increase (from 10% to 29%) and smart watches have more than double (from 4% to 9%). Whilst I don’t travel with an e-reader and only sometimes with a tablet, I always travel with my iPhone, a laptop, a camera (sometimes two cameras), a FitBit, battery back-ups (primarily for my iPhone which can be a little thirsty depending on what I’m using it for) and even sometimes a drone. Of course, such an array of devices also brings with it various cables and chargers.
Hotel guests have high expectations from their rooms when it comes to technology. Sockets being too far away from the bed are a top frustration and as many as 40% would happily forgo having a landline telephone in their room. Half of consumers – myself included – would like to see universal chargers, 40% expect in-room USB charging sockets and 22% are demanding wireless charging points. Whilst I’m not too worried about wireless charging, I do like to see ample sockets rather than just one or two in order to be easily able to charge everything. A second keycard for the room is also handy so that devices can still charge when I’m not there!
Unsurprisingly, WiFi is right up there on travellers’ wishlists – over three quarters of hotel guests (76%) want their hotels to provide free Wi-Fi, and one in five go so far as to say that this is more important than a complimentary breakfast.
Energy use and sustainability
Despite our reliance on gadgets and technology, sustainability remains a key consideration with one third of hotel guests believing that hotels should be judged on their sustainability. More than a third of people surveyed admitted to using more energy than at home when they travel, but as many as half responded by saying that the sustainability and energy use of a hotel is important to them. For 13% of travellers, unsustainable practices from hotels was identified as a top frustration.
Guests are wanting smart technology nowadays, with 33% expecting smart televisions and 18% smart appliances such as automatic coffee makers for when they wake up. Half of respondents said they would be willing to be an ‘eco-customer’ if given an economic incentive for adopting environmentally friendly behaviours during their stay, whether that be leaving lights and electricity on stand-by, controlling their hot water usage or limiting the number of towels. Hotels could gain a lot from this as they could monitor their guests’ energy use using tools such as the E.ON Energy Toolkit.
Demands went further still with almost a quarter of those surveyed (24%) declaring that they would like to be able to control things like air conditioning or an in-room entertainment system remotely and 5% going as far as wanting a robot butler at their beck and call. My stay in a suite at the Burj Al Arab was a good example of a technologically-advanced room, and one in ten claimed that a hotel’s provision of smart technology was a determining factor in choosing where to stay.
Of course, smart technology can also benefit travellers when they return home. One third of survey respondents said that one of the worst things about returning home after their holiday was waiting for the house to warm up, and one in five cited waiting for hot water as a similar frustration. With E.ON Touch, such post-holiday irritations can be overcome, with both heating and hot water being remotely controlled at any time and place through an easy-to-use app.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by E.ON.
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