A new report published today by InterContinental Hotels Group, 'Creating Moments of Trust – the key to building successful brand relationships in the Kinship Economy', suggests that to win guest loyalty in the future, hotels need to deliver a global, local and personalised experience.
The research also shows that personalised brand experiences which resonate with the local culture are particularly important for the fast-growing number of international travellers from emerging markets.
The collision of these three dimensions, accelerated by the rapid rise of technology-enabled personalisation in recent years, is changing the experience guests expect when they travel. Hotel brands that are able to become truly "3D" – by delivering localised and personalised experiences through trusted global brands - will build the trust that is needed to sustain lasting relationships with guests and outperform in the future.
Last year, IHG published: 'The New Kinship Economy', which highlighted a transition from brand experiences to brand relationships in the hospitality sector. This year's report builds on this work to help IHG gain a deeper understanding of what it is that travellers around the world want from their relationships with hotel brands.
Commenting on the report, Richard Solomons, IHG Chief Executive said:
"This report marks a step-change in the thinking that has dominated the travel and hospitality industry over the last two decades. Hotel brands have traditionally concentrated on being 2D – how to be both global and local. But our research shows that the rise of personalisation means brands must be 3D in order to build both trust and lasting relationships with guests and to win in a highly competitive global market.
"We know that our guests trust IHG's global brands to deliver on a promise of quality and consistency time and time again. But they increasingly expect these same brands to deliver localised and personalised experiences, whether they are travelling for business or pleasure. That is why we have developed our ground-breaking HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts and EVEN Hotels concepts, and why we are focused on supporting technology-enabled personalisation across our brand family."
The report, surveying more than 7,000 international travellers, shows that over the last 12 months, emerging market travellers have been travelling more frequently than their developed market counterparts. Whilst they are more likely to look to a global brand for an assurance of quality, emerging market travellers are also more likely to make choices based on differences between hotel chains. This group prize personalisation and fit with local culture most highly of those surveyed. These trends point to the importance of trusted global brands being able to deliver the combination of localised, personalised experiences. The report also shows that initiatives that allow guests to create their own experiences through technology are equally important, particularly to the Millennial 'Laptop and Latte' business traveller group – which has the most trust in global brands to be innovative.
IHG is already addressing the growing consumer demand for 3D brands in a number of ways. Two examples include the development of our two newest hotel brands: HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts, the first international hotel brand designed specifically for Chinese travellers; and EVEN Hotels, the first mainstream holistic wellness hotel brand. These new brand launches build on IHG's existing focus on delivering a higher degree of localisation and personalisation across our portfolio of trusted global brands.
Findings in the report include:
Global: Travellers think that global hotel brands do a better job than local hotel brands on several dimensions, including safety and consistency. Travellers also expect global brands to do a better job at offering the most innovative features and services. This is especially true for the younger generation of business travellers - 75% of the Millennial 'Laptop and Latte' business travellers (a new traveller group IHG identified in last year's Kinship Economy Report) think that global hotel brands do a better job of being innovative compared to 66% of all travellers.
Local: Travellers now expect global brands to be relevant in terms of local tastes, customs and cultures. Travellers from emerging markets hold this view most strongly – 68% of travellers from Brazil, 60% from UAE and 58% from China disagree with the statement "a global brand can never be a good fit with local culture."
Personal: For the majority of travellers the biggest benefit that personalisation delivers is increased comfort during their hotel stay – 59% of travellers say that their hotel stay will be significantly more comfortable.
- Increased comfort is followed by the benefit of feeling more valued by the hotel brand – 54% - and in emerging markets personalisation makes travellers feel more respected by the brand. 62% of Chinese travellers agree that personalisation makes them feel respected compared to 39% of travellers from all countries surveyed.
- The principle of respect underpins IHG's HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts brand, which takes the best aspects of renowned Chinese hospitality and applies IHG's international scale, powerful systems and insight into the Chinese market to consistently deliver the hotel experience expected by Chinese consumers.
- 62% of Millennials said that being able to access personal content – such as movies or music – would motivate them to return to a hotel compared to 55% of travellers of all ages. 72% of travellers over 65 said a hotel that made it easy to make healthy food and beverage choices would motivate them to return, compared to 61% of Millennials.
Emerging market travellers: The "new global explorers" – a new group of travellers originating from emerging markets identified in last year's Kinship Economy report – have higher expectations for personalisation than travellers from developed markets. 64% of Chinese and 62% of Brazilian travellers expect a hotel to tailor the experience they have to their personal needs, compared to 43% of US and 42% of UK travellers.
- Travellers from emerging markets are also more likely to look to a global brand for an assurance of quality - 60% of Russian and 54% of Chinese travellers versus approximately 40% of US and UK travellers. They are also the most discerning hotel guests – being more likely to report variance across brands when they travel.
- These travellers prize personalisation more highly than developed market counterparts as well as trusting global brands more than local with their personal data. 82% of Chinese and 69% of Russian consumers believe that a global hotel brand won't misuse personal data.
Based on the research being published, IHG has identified six 'trust-building' actions that will help its hotel brands around the world deliver the 3D experience that guests increasingly expect. These actions are detailed in the report and are:
- Be consistent
- Deliver authentic local customisation
- Create tailored consumption
- Support technology enhanced service
- Personal relevance
- Use service to surprise and delight
Download the the IHG 2014 Trends Report at InterContinental Hotels Group
- See more at: HOTELMARKETING.COM