News & Press / June 21, 2022
Australians ‘Demand More’ From Hotels Today, According to New Research into Post-Pandemic Consumer Expectations
Consumers now expect contactless technology when making restaurant reservations, while flexible bookings and complimentary drinks/offers will boost consumer hotel loyalty
SYNDEY (21 June 2022) — More than half (56%) of Australians hold hotels to a higher standard post-pandemic, according to new research, Green Shoots of Optimism, released today by SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry.
Few industries were hit harder by the pandemic than travel, tourism and hospitality. Despite restrictions being all but over and borders reopening, Australian hoteliers cannot simply return to ‘normal’. In fact, consumer expectations have evolved when it comes to visiting and staying at hotels, with SevenRooms research revealing that Australian consumers expect more than ever from hotel operators.
According to the research, which set out to determine what guests expect from post-pandemic hotels, half of Australians (50%) expect to be able to make bookings, reservations and purchases via online or contactless technology, rather than via a phone call or in-person. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds (68%) expect flexible cancellation and a refund should their trip be impacted by COVID.
“Few industries have been harder hit by the pandemic than hospitality, but none have demonstrated more resilience, adaptability and dynamism,” said Paul Hadida, General Manager, APAC at SevenRooms. “As Australia’s travel and hospitality industries return to a new-norm post-pandemic, it’s imperative that hotel operators remain agile to meet changing customer demands in a new era of travel. Consumers demand more today, and the venues that meet those demands will lead by example post-pandemic.
“Change should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat. Offering online or contactless technology to guests for making reservations, for example, is the biggest consumer demand today. However, doing so also drives operational efficiencies for venues and helps them provide exceptional guest experiences that incentivise loyalty, boost revenue and help them tackle whatever the future holds.”
Changing consumer demands
As life returns to a new-norm post-pandemic, hotel operators need to adapt to changing consumer behaviours to ensure they can attract, engage and retain guests. According to the report, Australian consumers today expect hoteliers to:
- Offer flexible cancellation and a refund should their trip be impacted by COVID (68%)
- Offer complimentary deals or experiences at the hotel food & beverage venue (34%)
- Demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices (33%)
- Limit their capacity to maintain health and safety (31%)
- Work with local partners and producers (30%)
Katie Malone, Group Director, Marketing of Crystalbrook Collection, which uses SevenRooms across its portfolio of 11 restaurants and bars, commented: “As a five-star hotel group, we’ve always held ourselves to high standards, but guests’ needs and wants have changed post-pandemic, and we must adapt. One of the biggest trends today is personalisation and a focus on creating memorable moments. For us, data is the foundation for providing the remarkable experiences they desire in every one of our venues. Through our digital transformation, we’re aiming to build 360-degree pictures of every customer, so we can understand their likes, dislikes, how often they dine, how much they spend and more.
“With those insights, we’re able to provide the personalisation they demand and reward their loyalty. For example, local residents can sign up to our Crystalbrook Local program in each destination. We also recognise our high-spenders and regulars with their favourite seat or a complimentary glass of bubbles. The last two years have been incredibly challenging, but with technology powering our mission, we’re extremely positive about the future of hospitality and eager to go above and beyond for our customers post-pandemic.”
Loyalty is a hotel’s best friend
Cultivating guest loyalty is essential for hoteliers now more than ever. According to the research, one in four (25%) Australian consumers want to be recognised for their loyalty status – e.g., silver, gold – and receive exclusive perks for that loyalty tier. In addition, Australian consumers say they will remain loyal to a hotel if:
- The hotel was flexible with bookings affected by events like a pandemic or floods (50%)
- They received a complimentary drink or could pre-select an in-room food & beverage amenity upon arrival (48%)
- They received personalised offers based on their food and beverage choices during a previous stay/visit – e.g., a discount at the restaurant or bar, complimentary dish/cocktail (39%)
- They received additional loyalty points for enjoying on-property restaurants and bars (35%)
Green shoots of optimism for Australia’s hotel sector
One-third (33%) of Australians still have not stayed in a hotel since the start of the pandemic, but there are shoots of optimism. With restrictions easing and borders reopened, almost half (46%) have stayed in a hotel in the last six months, while a further third (37%) have plans to return to hotels in the next three months. This changed consumer is looking for an experience outside the ordinary, and a free glass of champagne or additional loyalty points can go a long way in fostering their loyalty for years to come.
However, 22% have no plans to return to a hotel at all. For those that haven’t stayed in a hotel since before March 2020, or have no plans to return, it is critical for operators to cultivate this audience’s loyalty with perks and promotions closer to home. This could include a ‘locals-only discount’ at the restaurant or bar, special offers to enjoy amenities like pool cabanas during a weekend, or live music on Friday to make a date night or night out with friends extra special. Going the extra mile to cultivate a local audience can make a significant impact on revenue, especially with many Australians still hesitant to return to travel.
The venues that identify what consumers demand as standard and value for their loyalty, will likely be those who can make the most of post-pandemic hospitality once again.
Further data, broken down by age, gender and state is available on request.
To learn more about SevenRooms visit http://sevenrooms.com/
SevenRooms is a guest experience and retention platform that helps hospitality operators create exceptional experiences that drive revenue and repeat business. Trusted by thousands of hospitality operators around the world, SevenRooms powers tens of millions of guest experiences each month across both on- and off-premise. From neighbourhood restaurants and bars to international, multi-concept hospitality groups, SevenRooms is transforming the industry by empowering operators to take back control of their businesses to build direct guest relationships, deliver exceptional experiences and drive more visits and orders, more often. The full suite of products includes reservation, waitlist and table management, online ordering, review aggregation and marketing automation. Founded in 2011 and venture-backed by Amazon, Comcast Ventures, Highgate Ventures and PSG, SevenRooms has dining, hotel F&B, nightlife and entertainment clients globally, including: MGM Resorts International, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Jumeirah Group, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Bloomin’ Brands, sbe, LDV Hospitality, Zuma, Australian Venue Company, Altamarea Group, AELTC, D&D London, Corbin & King, Live Nation and Topgolf.
About the data
The results are taken from a nationally representative survey of 1,007 Australians in April 2022. The sample is weighted by age and gender to the 2016 ABS Census to ensure representativity.
Bianca Esmond | Director, Brand Marketing
The PR Group