Nurturing guest relationships: a guide for hoteliers in 2024

Dec 14, 2023 | Blog

As guest expectations evolve, we look at how hoteliers can foster a meaningful relationship with their guests

In the fast-moving world of hospitality, guest expectations evolve with each passing year. The key to nurturing a long-term guest relationship lies in understanding and catering to the unique needs of your guests. Hoteliers who can foster deeper connections with their guests, understanding the nuances in expectations of different generations of travellers, are the ones who will succeed in 2024 and beyond.


Getting to know your guests

A fundamental pillar of exceptional hospitality is getting to know your guests on a personal level. Gone are the days of generic interactions; today’s travellers – whether on business or leisure – crave personalised experiences. To achieve this, hotels must leverage a wealth of data available to them. From booking preferences to on-site behaviour, every interaction provides valuable insights into what a guest likes and dislikes, and gives hoteliers the chance to craft a personalised stay and meaningful, memorable interactions. 

Investing in a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can be a game changer for hoteliers. This technology allows hotels to collect, analyse, and utilise guest data in an effective and efficient way. By tracking guest preferences, such as room type, dining choices, and preferred amenities, hotels can tailor offerings to suit individual preferences. 

Fostering direct communication channels, such as email surveys and post-stay feedback, can provide invaluable insights into the guest experience. Actively listening to your guests – and, importantly, acting upon their feedback – not only enhances guest satisfaction but also increases the chances of building long-term loyalty. 


Understanding different generations of travellers

Grouping your hotel guests into simple categories such as business, leisure or event delegates is too general in today’s individualised world. Modern hotels cater to a diverse range of guests, each with unique expectations based on their reason for travel and shaped by their generational background.

According to Hilton’s 2024 Trends Report, different generations have distinct preferences:

  • Generation Z (born 1997-2012): 
    they are tech-savvy and socially conscious. This generation seeks immersive experiences and values sustainability. Offering genuine eco-friendly initiatives (be wary of ‘greenwashing’!) and incorporating cutting-edge technology into the guest experience can resonate with this group of travellers. 
  • Millennials (born 1981-1996):
    authenticity and local experiences are paramount for millennials. Hotels can create partnerships with local businesses, curate unique experiences, and highlight the cultural richness of their destination to appeal to this demographic, who are just as likely to be solo travellers or couples as they are to have young children with them
  • Gen X (born 1965-1980):
    known for their preference for comfort and convenience, Gen X travellers appreciate efficiency. Streamlining check-in processes, providing seamless technology integration which is easy to use, and offering family-friendly amenities can enhance their stay.
  • Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964):
    with an appreciation of the finer things in life, many Baby Boomers seek relaxation and luxury as they enjoy their retirement years. Tailored spa packages, exclusive club lounges, and attentive staff who make them feel valued contribute to memorable experiences for this demographic.


Meeting guest expectations

The key to meeting guest expectations lies in staying ahead of industry trends. Two significant trends identified in Hilton’s 2024 Trends Report involve the importance of wellness, and the rise of ‘bleisure’ travel (combination of business and leisure). 

Hotels do not need to rush out and build a spa facility to capitalise on wellness trends: you can capitalise by offering enhanced amenities, such as fitness programmes, healthy dining options, in-room aromatherapy bath oils, downloadable sleep tracks, or yoga mats. Small touches that reflect a commitment to helping guests relax, recentre and recharge are just as important to the guest experience as having a large spa facility. 

For bleisure travels – where business travellers may add an extra day to their itinerary for leisure, or just seek out more leisure activities whilst on business – creating versatile spaces which can seamlessly shift to accommodate a traveller’s work and leisure needs is key. From in-room desks and high speed reliable internet access, to co-working spaces that become networking and social event spaces as the sun sets, hotels can repurpose existing facilities and services to cater for this market.

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The role of technology in building deeper relationships

Technology plays a pivotal role in creating and nurturing guest relationships. Integrated systems – from mobile apps and digital or self-guided check-in to smart room controls – streamlines the guest experience. Implementing contactless check-in and check-out processes can enhance convenience and safety, especially in a post-pandemic world. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can also be harnessed to predict guest preferences and customise hotel offerings to each guest. By analysing past behaviours and choices, hotels can proactively anticipate and meet guest needs, creating a seamless and enjoyable stay experience. 

As hoteliers navigate the ever-evolving landscape of guest expectations, a commitment to personalised experiences, an understanding of generational nuances, and the strategic use of technology are crucial. By staying attuned to the latest trends and leveraging innovative solutions, hotels will not only meet but exceed guest expectations, fostering loyalty and ultimately driving profitability.  

Discover more about our solutions for hotels, including SIHOT.CRM and SIHOT.KIOSK, the self guided check-in terminal for guests, or contact us to find out more