Benbria Corporation, the maker of the Loop mobile guest engagement solution for the hospitality industry, has released a summary paper on a major study conducted over the past few months with Cornell University’s Institute for Healthy Futures and the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA). Focused on the impact of mobile messaging and technology on service quality within the luxury segment, the highlights of this study were shared exclusively last month at the ILHA Pinnacle Summit in Washington, DC.
The summary report shares insights from workshops, round-tables, and a formal industry survey that has been underway since the beginning of 2016. As part of the research, insights were gathered from Cornell University students and leading hotel executives across the United States to identify the opportunities and challenges a mobile-centric guest experience has on the traditional delivery of quality service in the luxury hotel segment.
A key insight from the study is the role mobile technology and messaging plays in the guest experience at luxury hotels. Speed was perceived as a major benefit, with 95 percent of study participants in agreement that technology “should connect the guest to the things they need and help fulfill their requests more quickly.” The majority of participants also noted that the technology needs to be reliable and that if it doesn’t enhance the experience, especially regarding how the guest interacts with the hotel, it isn’t worth the investment.
“These insights send a clear message to the industry regarding the role of mobile technology in delivering a high-quality guest experience,” said James Geneau, Head of Marketing at Benbria Corporation. “Overwhelmingly, the response from the industry is that mobile devices and messaging are here to stay and that the industry needs to embrace it. However, study participants noted that it needs to be a reliable channel for the guest to quickly access hotel staff and not a replacement for the unique experience only a hospitality professional can deliver.”
Millennials, often viewed as the main drivers of mobile technology and messaging adoption, were a major theme in the study. However, not everyone in the industry feels they should be the sole benefactors of a hotel’s mobile strategy. Of those surveyed, 75 percent said technology should always be used as a vehicle to make the guest experience more positive for all guests, not just a subset, while only 16 percent said technology does not have to make the guest experience better in every single case.
“Many hotels have changed their technology strategy to accommodate the millennial guest in recent years,” said Dr. Rohit Verma, Dean for External Relations, Cornell College of Business, and Executive Director, Institute for Healthy Futures. “However, the findings from this study are interesting because of the fact that, while Millennials are the ones driving mobile technology and messaging, hoteliers feel a solution should cater to all guests, not simply a percentage of them.”