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Today’s changing traveller wants more than a place to stay. They want to feel connected to their accommodation experience.
As conscious collaborators, they long to foster a reciprocal bond with accommodation staff and enjoy a stay designed just for them. They want to have a positive impact beyond the property’s walls. Their stay is not just about being surrounded by the local culture, but being plunged into it.
An invitation for ongoing dialogue
Today’s traveller has spoken and made it clear that they want to hear from their accommodation provider more. They want more than just a booking confirmation email, and want accommodation properties to use their data to target them effectively. This is particularly true for the Gen Z and millennial traveller, the international traveller on the road with colleagues, and the Asian traveller.
When it comes to personalised offers, the response was less emphatic than updates about the booking however. A little over 1-in-3 globally appreciate this type of communication, with the Chinese and Indian traveller the most open to being sold to.
The conscious collaborator understands the power of reviews. Community-minded, they value sharing their experience to both help the accommodation that they have stayed with, as well as fellow travellers. They do need to be asked, however. Seventy percent would be likely to review their stay if asked, but only a tenth of that number would do so unasked.
Interestingly, the Gen Z traveller is the least likely to provide a review, but values reviews on a property’s website the most.
Conscious collaborators value the industry’s people
Another trait of conscious collaborators is their appreciation for the industry’s people, who remain at the core of their accommodation experience.
Those surveyed acknowledge that accommodation staff are deeply bound to their desire to return to a property. They are compassionate to the additional pressures that staff shortages are placing them under, and overwhelmingly prefer staff to be present onsite as they check-in.
Direct bookings narrowly increase
Bookings made directly with an accommodation are one of the most prominent displays of traveller and accommodation connection in action, particularly when coming from a repeat guest.
Plans to book directly with an accommodation, either online via the website or by phone or email, increased marginally from 27% in 2022 to 28% this year. This happened alongside an increase in the volume of guests planning to book via a search and metasearch engine, which grew from 14% to 19%, and can result in a direct booking.
Generationally, the older domestic traveller (from France and the US) is the most likely to book directly via an accommodation provider’s website, with the Chinese and Indonesian traveller the least likely to do so.
The desire for a facilitated connection with the local community
Beyond an accommodation property’s walls, the conscious collaborator is seeking an authentic connection to local cultures, food, people and places. The events of recent years have created a quantum leap in awareness among this traveller, with meaningful and mindful travel the by-product.
Accommodation providers, often ingrained within their local community, have an important role to play as a conduit for their guests.
“Human connection is at the core of hospitality and travel. As technology helps remove frictions and reduces human touchpoints for the transactional, personalised experiences and human interactions becomes even more important.
I love the quote from Virtuoso’s CEO, Matthew Upchurch: “Automate the predictable so that you can humanise the exceptional.” At a time when much of the industry is leveraging automation to contend with labour headwinds, those that get human connection right, in person and digitally, and can create an emotional connection, will stand out in the market.”