A new report published by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), ‘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.
“This report marks a step-change in the thinking that has dominated the travel and hospitality industry over the last two decades,” said IHG’s CEO, Richard Solomons.
“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 and 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.
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.
For more information on the IHG 2014 Trends Report, visit www.ihgplc.com/Trends_Report.