The 2022 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study by J.D. Power revealed an eight-point reduction in the previous year. The issue is that labor concerns and other challenges have eroded traveler experience at hotels, putting the wave of high rates enjoyed by hoteliers in question. If hotels want to keep their high prices, they must make significant efforts to improve the visitor experience.
In a roundtable discussion organized by Hotel News Now at the Hotel Data Conference, hotel revenue managers highlighted the decline in client satisfaction scores and labor among revenue-management and on-property teams.
Many problems are caused by labor shortages, and Nicole Havens, vice president of revenue management, digital, and distribution at Peachtree Hospitality Management, says it’s difficult to sustain service and experience with staff who work seven days a week out of necessity. The difficulties of on-property staffing have an impact on the performance of all teams.
Prioritizing client experience at the expense of profitability is crucial to continue the kind of growth observed in recent years, according to Priya Chandnani, vice president of sales strategy at Benchmark, Pyramid Luxury & Lifestyle. If the service does not match its value, guests will soon quit paying exorbitant prices.
Toeing the line between the two will be the “biggest risk for next year” in the hotel industry. “That ability to say, ‘How do we focus on that customer experience whereas we’ve been riding this boat of pent-up demand all of this time?’ … How do we continue to maintain that rate?” she said.
The hotel business has created some efficiencies in service via the use of robotics and other technology, according to Chandnani. Combining that with creating a great guest experience will be critical in the future.
According to Isaac Collazo, vice president of analytics for STR, CoStar’s hospitality analytics firm, it will take more than simply innovation; hotel workers will need to band together, just like revenue-management teams did during the pandemic.
There are still ways to serve guests, but they are not the same as in the past, according to Collazo. As an example of some services not being available to guests, he referenced room service not being available at certain hours of the night.