With so many similar hotels to choose from its always a difficult decision to choose where to rest your head at the end of a long day. We wanted to know what things our panel considered when choosing a hotel and what their expectations of a hotel stay are. Which elements did our panel see as essentials and what would be needed from a hotel in order to exceed expectations? Essential expectations mentioned by the panel included cleanliness, friendly staff, good customer service and price.
The most mentioned expectation and the most essential for our panel was cleanliness. Our panel members all expected the hotel to be clean and tidy. “Basically you just want it to be comfortable and clean.” (Angela, Northampton, 49) Our panel agreed that no matter the price paid for a hotel stay, “cleanliness is vital.”
“The most important consideration for me is the fact that the room is clean” (Momotaz, Walsall, 33)
Friendly staff was another aspect of a hotel stay that was valued highly by our panel as they helped to create a welcoming atmosphere for guests. Staff that went out of their way to be helpful and welcoming were seen as an asset and something that would help exceed customers expectations.
“The customer service has to be fantastic for me to feel that I’ve had a very good stay.” (Mo, London, 38)
“My expectation is for staff to treat me courteously and to offer to help when necessary” (Ben, Dronfield, 31)
Price directly affected expectations with the panel agreeing that both depended on each other. An expensive hotel creates higher expectations with customers expecting to have access to better facilities. If the hotel was very reasonably priced the panel suggested that they would then lower their expectations. However they agreed that even in a budget hotel they would still expect cleanliness and good customer service.
“My expectations of a hotel are very much dependant on how much I am paying per night. I know that if I am paying £30 a night I should be expecting less than if I am paying £60 a night or more.” (Claire, Loughborough,19)
“It’s all relative to the cost you’re paying…people expect different things from different values.” (Tom, Peterborough, 22)
Other important expectations mentioned by the panel included comfort, safety, and quietness. With a comfy bed coming high up on the list.
“I think the biggest thing is comfort. I think for most people it’s got to be. You want to relax and feel like you are at home.” (David, 26, Motherwell)
Wifi access and tea and coffee making facilities in the rooms were expected in hotel rooms from a number of our panel. “I would expect the hotel to be spotlessly clean, have all the facilities that it advertised, good customer service and friendly and helpful staff.” (Erica, Hornchurch, 47)
In order to exceed expectations the panel felt that personal touches were needed. We generated NPS scores for popular hotel chains Hilton, Holiday Inn, Premier Inn and Travelodge. Hilton came out on top due to exceeding customer expectations.
Being pampered and made to feel relaxed and taken care of were also sighted as ways to make a hotel stay exceptional. A well decorated and presented room as also seen as a bonus and something that would help to make a hotel stay more comfortable. A few of the panel members mentioned loyalty schemes with room upgrades or free meals being offered to frequently returning customers would exceed their expectations and make them feel more valued as a customer.