As we head towards the end of the year, hotel teams are surely preparing for the influx of guests they will see as a result of this busy travel period. And “busy” may be an understatement.
In fact, a record 107.3 million people traveled between December 23rd and January 1st in 2017. So what does this mean for hotels this year?
We decided to take a look at data from the Zingle platform to see exactly what hotels can expect when it comes to servicing guests during the most wonderful time of the year. To do so, we analyzed the over 140,000 text messages that guests sent to hotel staff through the Zingle platform during December 2017 and looked at how they compared to the rest of the year.
For background, the Zingle real-time engagement platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to categorize text messages between hotels and its guests into ‘intents’.
Think of it this way – ‘intents’ represent classifications of specific information requests (i.e. hours at the pool, WiFi password) or requests for service (i.e. broken item in the room, valet car request). Trained against millions of text message conversations, Zingle has identified nearly 150 intents common to the hotel business.
The system is smart enough to recognize the many ways a guest can articulate the information or service request, and distinguish between messages that have a common keyword, but different meaning – for example, “please send more towels to the room” and “are towels available at the pool?”.
This advanced understanding and analysis of the conversations between hotel staff and their guests make it easier for businesses to spot trends and extract insights from message threads that can be used to improve the guest experience and fine-tune business processes.
Here are some of the highlights from the data we looked at:
Tis the Season to… Party?
When looking at the messages that were sent over the holiday season, there’s a bunch of evidence to suggest that your guests will certainly be feeling jolly during the holiday season — for better or worse.
Throughout the holiday season (October through November) requests for late checkouts were the 7th most popular message from guests. Could it be that they had too much eggnog the night before? Well, given the fact that December had the highest volume of messages related to guests complaining about other guests, maybe we can blame it on the eggnog.
It’s critical for hotels to be able to identify trends like these that occur during specific times of the year and take advantage of them. With hotels like Talbott driving $5K in additional weekly revenue from late checkout and extended stay via text message, teams should make sure it’s easy for their guests to request late checkouts. And with the increase of guests complaints, hotels may want to be extra vigilant this month to ensure that those late-night carolers don’t disturb the other guests.
Waiting for the New Year to Take on Health Goals
With all the wonderfully festive food that comes with the holidays, it can be daunting to try to maintain those pesky health regimens. That’s why many of us relent and resolve to do better in the new year. A look at the Zingle platform reinforces this. December 2017 had the second least amount of requests for gym hours. What was the month with the most, you,ask? That’s right — it was January.
While this may not be so surprising it does highlight areas of opportunity for hotels. For one, hotels should take full advantage of their culinary offerings and make sure to have plenty of holiday treats for guests who are more likely to indulge. Consider coupons or special offerings that prompt them to take advantage.
When the new year rolls around and folks are back in workout mode, take advantage of that as well. Perhaps you can offer exercise classes as a potential upsell. Or place an emphasis on healthy dining options that will help your guests get back on track towards their health goals.
Some More Stocking Stuffers
December also had the highest number of guest requests for airport shuttles. Whether this is due to folks not wanting to deal with the costs associated with cabs or Ubers, fight the holiday traffic, or those late rising partiers scrambling to get to the airport on time, hotels should be hyper-focused on helping their guests get to where they need to go in the most efficient ways possible.
Another interesting anomaly during December is the fact that guest were least likely to send messages inquiring about the ability to watch Netflix. This may signal that your guests are looking for more meaningful ways to spend their time during the holidays. That means there’s an opportunity to provide them with things to do in and out of the hotel with some personalized upselling like a romantic couples massage or activities for the entire family.
Guests also love the convenience of checking out via text. So much so that throughout 2017 it was consistently amongst the top 3 most request things on the Zingle platform and ranked third during the month of December. Make the checkout process more convenient by making it easy like sending a text, through the hotel TV, or voice. This will alleviates staff time needed and reduce lines at front-desk.
While your teams will be busy servicing the needs of your guests over the next few weeks, it’s only right to mention that, in the true spirit of the holidays, “thank you” was the second most popular message guests sent to hotel staff during their stays. The holidays can be stressful enough – people really appreciate the hassle-free convenience of communication with hotel staff through a text messaging service.
So get to work and take advantage of the unique opportunities you have in front of you. By helping ensure your guests have a smooth and memorable holiday season, you’ll be preserving your spot on their “nice” lists for years to come.