Plum · 17 Oct
Imagine you're an avid traveler, who is no stranger to luxury perks. With a passport that boasts stamps from destinations around the world, you've found yourself making a temporary home at countless hotels, each with their own unique appeal. On a leisure trip to the Palms Resorts Casino, you check into the Empathy Suite; a room which, by any measure, marks the very epitome of luxury. The villa is recently redesigned, featuring sharks suspended in formaldehyde, a salt relaxation room, butler service and even a cantilevered outdoor pool, set across 9,000 square feet of prime resort real estate. The biggest perk of all? You've been granted a $10,000 credit to spend at the hotel just for being a VIP guest. If this paints a rather far-fetched picture, it's likely because the luxury described here comes at a cost. A steep one, at that. While the suite is surely a worthy backdrop to the ultimate Las Vegas dream vacation, it is currently the most expensive hotel suite in the world. $100,000 per night, to be exact. Of course, extreme luxury offerings aren't a new concept to hotels around the globe. From fragrance or soap butlers to personalized firework displays, private helicopter rides, or even access to a Rolls-Royce Ghost for a day, luxury perks are meant to truly 'wow' guests. However, in many cases, these luxuries are more of a costly add-on than a built-in amenity and, therefore, represent an experience that, although exceptional, may be largely inaccessible for many. With this in mind, modern luxury has become a redefined concept, especially as of late. After all, shouldn't 'luxury' or rather, 'share-worthy' experiences be more accessible to all guests? So, how can hoteliers redefine luxury experiences for the modern traveler? What high-touch services or amenities are accessible and easy to implement, but are still representative of exceptional, stand out service? Unique and Personalized Service Over the past few years, the demand for luxury has steadily shifted away from goods to favor experiences, instead. This, coupled with the subsequent rise in demand for personalization, has created a hospitality landscape in which those properties are offering inherently unique services and enhanced personalization. At the beginning of this year, an op-ed was published to Business Insider titled, "Luxury travelers want more than ever before, and hotels are borrowing a tactic used by Netflix and Amazon to keep up." The article spoke to how rather simple personalization tactics commonly utilized by services such as Netflix and Amazon, can be replicated at hotels to delight guests. Much like Netflix takes note of what we watched last and crafts suggestions according to that information, hotels should make a note of guest preferences and act on them accordingly with personalized amenities or offers. This can be achieved in many ways, ranging from in-room settings (including pre-set temperature, lighting, entertainment and more) or complimentary services, to a chilled glass of a guest's favorite wine, ready upon check-in, via Plum. The Alfond Inn at Rollins, which was recently singled out as a top hotel in the Condé Nast Traveler 2018 Readers' Choice Awards, has made a name for itself through the delivery of unique, memorable, guest-centric service. With the addition of in-room, on-demand wine for their guests, they can provide a unique, hyper-convenient luxury amenity with ease. The St. Regis hotel in Washington, DC has seen similar success, with their Director of Operations sharing that "The positive feedback we've received from guests since we first introduced Plum has been amazing." Not only does this aim to delight new travelers, but it is also a service which can be leveraged to recognize and celebrate loyal, VIP guests. In many cases, it's the simple but meaningful gestures and amenities such as in-room wine and personalized touches, which help to bring special attention to each guest amongst a sea of travelers. This, in itself, is modern, tangible luxury. Ultimately, a hotel doesn't have to go to extremes to differentiate their service. Instead, it's about going the extra mile to get to know guests, recognize their preferences and provide them with a home away from home. Tapping Into Authentic, Local Experiences Guests today have a noted penchant for local experiences, often seeking out opportunities, amenities, and services which allow them to get closer to the culture of the area which they are visiting. Guests want to experience the world through a local perspective, in ways that aren't to be defined as the status quo. To answer this demand, many hotels around the globe offer their guests in-depth destination guides or host their own locally-led tours and experiences. London-based hotel, Leman Locke, does this especially well, offering guests a 5K running club every Wednesday that involves a scenic jog through the city led by the hotel's running coach. Not only that, but guests can join a Saturday morning yoga club hosted by local yoga coaches Sabi and Danielle, and an atmospheric dawn tour of East London with London-based photographer Anthony Epes. Many hotels are also relying on their F&B program to achieve this effect, with the help of locally-inspired dining and beverage menus. Even going beyond on-property restaurants and bars, The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills now offers guests in-room wine from the award-winning, local winery, J. Lohr and Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay. This allows guests to get a taste of premium, California wine culture without having to buy a whole bottle, and within the comfort of their hotel room. 'Wow' Them with Wellness Initiatives Wellness enclaves are becoming relatively common across luxury hotels, as travelers express a growing desire for health-conscious programs and services. Hotels around the world are now finding creative ways to integrate wellness into their service model, from property design and amenities to daily operations. The Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., took note of the rise in wellness travel and decided to cater to their prospective health-conscious guests with the creation of 13 new 'Wellness Rooms.' Each room is focused on one of the three elements of wellness: comfort, relaxation, and fitness, including amenities such as aromatherapy bath salts, showerheads delivering water infused with Vitamin C, desk wellness balls, yoga mats, sound + sleep machines, air purifiers, and more. These rooms are also conveniently located near the hotel's recently renovated fitness center which features state of the art equipment and a full-service spa. While this may seem like a rather lofty investment into the wellness segment, consider this: The Global Wellness Institute calculated the global spend on wellness tourism at $639.4 billion in 2017 alone. Of course, not every wellness program will require extensive renovations. Many hotels are tapping into this new kind of luxury by offering their guests health-focused dining options, saline swimming pools, fitness centers or incentives for local fitness offerings, in-room exercise or meditation guides via a Smart TV, bike-share programs, and so much more. While certain extravagance and grandeur will always have its place in hospitality, many travelers are interested in a different kind of luxury today. For them, high-end service is not necessarily found in the Penthouse Suite, but can instead be accomplished through unique and personalized service, local experiences and wellness-focused amenities. Fortunately for hoteliers, luxury service doesn't always need to be a far-fetched or costly concept. It can be achieved with something as simple as a personal gesture or touch in a hotel room, a fully stocked fitness center or, perhaps, a chilled glass of in-room wine.
Plum · 13 Aug
What makes a guest feel most valued? How can hotels show guests that they value them with unique perks and amenities to make them feel like VIPs and keep them coming back? The hospitality landscape is, arguably, more competitive than ever before. The stakes — and the revenue potential — are high, as are guest expectations. In this sense, the guest holds all the power. After all, modern guest loyalty isn't so easy to come by. In fact, studies show that loyalty is in decline as consumers are switching brands more frequently than ever before. A McKinsey & Company study also suggests that having a basic rewards program isn't a surefire way of building loyalty and driving sales. Yet, while working to adapt to (and find success within) this 'Age of the Customer,' hoteliers aptly realize that — while a seemingly fickle concept — guest loyalty is incredibly valuable to their bottom line. However, they also see that loyalty programs of the past simply don't work that well anymore. Thos Kozik, Vice President of Loyalty at Marriott Hotels, explains, "Points are not the point anymore. We weren't keeping track of how consumers were changing their behavior." It's Really About Recognition If the loyalty programs of the past are seemingly on the same decline as legacy technology, how do the loyalty programs of the future look? The emergence of new technology to replace antiquated platforms is rather apparent, but in the case of loyalty programs, how can hoteliers determine what truly strikes a chord with their most valuable guests? How can they encourage loyalty in an age where guest loyalty is increasingly evasive? The answer doesn't lie in the abandonment of the loyalty program altogether — instead, it's about taking a re-imagined approach while taking cues from current guest demands and trends. Let's look to the dominant service trends that have emerged thus far this year: personalization, the experience economy, and guest-centric technology. The modern guest isn't simply seeking a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in while traveling; they crave a unique, share-worthy experience. They selectively book with those hotels which take the time to get to know their needs and expectations, and can, therefore, offer a more personalized experience. Ultimately, they desire a hospitality experience that is entirely guest-centric, and this should come as no surprise. Delighting the guest is what hospitality is all about, is it not? Now, let's apply those same understandings to the cultivation of a new and improved approach to guest rewards and VIP programs. If guests desire unique experiences and personalized service, shouldn't the programs offered by hotels tap into those elements? Perhaps loyalty isn't just about racking up points to accumulate a free night's stay, but rather, should incentivize guests with more custom-made perks rooted in gratitude for their business. In fact, studies show that in addition to the majority of people who want experiences created just for loyalty members, 70% want content about travel amenities and destination to round out a more personalized experience. With this in mind, countless travel brands and hotels around the globe are reinventing their rewards program with perks including tickets to local shows, complimentary services or upgrades, exclusive experiences, guaranteed reservation 48 hours before arriving, access to an on-site health club, F&B incentives, and more. In some cases, hotels are taking it a step further to imagine a more creative loyalty experience, which provides guests with the option to trade points for merchandise, packages or in-room luxury amenities such as on-demand by-the-glass wine. Give Guests What They Really Want
Plum · 23 Jul
In this digital age, few human experiences have resisted the influence of emerging technology. With each passing year, we witness the progressive evolution of capabilities and enhancements that, in many respects, change how we interact with the world. In the hospitality industry, hoteliers know they need to keep a pulse on emerging trends to avoid disappointing guests and falling behind competitors. Across all aspects of the guest journey, hoteliers are enhancing the modern experience by shifting away from legacy technology and antiquated models to embrace a new, tech-savvy, and guest-centric approach. While some traditional elements of the hotel stay will always remain, industry leaders around the globe are pro-actively reimagining hospitality classics to drive revenue, reduce costs, and enhance service. A Front-Desk Experience For Every Type of Traveler Travelers today crave personalization and convenience across every touch-point of their stay. Of course, each traveler is unique, and what represents a positive, personalized experience to one guest, may look entirely different for another guest. With this in mind, it's never been more imperative for hotels to implement an operational infrastructure that caters to both a high-touch and a low-touch service model, allowing guests to choose their preferred experience model. If a property skews too far into a tech-dominated model, they risk losing out on those guests who crave a more traditional experience. On the other hand, if they resist the implementation of new-age technology that drives convenience, they risk deterring those modern travelers who expect enhanced, seamless convenience. According to recent surveys, more than 85% of consumers have used a self-service kiosk and, given a choice, consumers are more likely to tap self-service technology versus employee-led options. As such, hoteliers are leveraging the latest advanced platforms which enable them to offer streamlined, mobile check-in/out, as well as self-service kiosks. By providing a self-service option, those guests who value a fast, convenient check-in/out process will have complete autonomy over their experience. On the contrary, those guests who prefer the in-person, high-touch experience will be rewarded with more attentive service at the front desk, without the deterrent of long lines. Further, hotel staff is then able to move around freely, empowered by a mobile, flexible platform, interacting more genuinely with guests, and offering a more responsive experience. Keyless Entry, Virtual Concierges and Smart Rooms of the Future Hotel rooms of today — and those which we can expect to see in the future — are far more than just a place to lay one's head. Modern hotels are tasked with the responsibility of providing all the comforts of a guests' home, enhanced by luxury and added conveniences. Convenience represents the primary theme, as guests expect an experience uninterrupted by setbacks or pain points. As countless hotels around the globe invest in the creation of native apps for their property, it comes as no surprise that keyless entry is a trend currently sweeping the industry. In the past, guests frequently had their on-property experience interrupted due to misplaced or malfunctioning keys, and the initial wait for key programming at the front desk. Today, this ceases to be a concern, as guests can gain access to their room via their handheld device. Of course, the evolution of the classic hotel room doesn't begin and end with keyless entry. Rather, it's only the beginning. As voice-powered assistants and smart devices become increasingly popular and mainstream, hoteliers are implementing similar devices and capabilities as in-room features or upgrades. Rather than a handful of cable channels, guests can expect complimentary Netflix of Crave TV. Room preferences such as temperature, lighting, and more can be pre-set and adjusted from mobile devices or in-room iPads, and wake-up calls can be set via an in-room Google Mini. Rather than sifting through an over-priced assortment of goods in a mini-bar, guests can even pour themselves a glass of red or white wine, by the glass and on-demand. Many hotels are also investing in AI-powered guest service in the form of mobile virtual concierges and chatbots. As it relates to the smart room and smart hotel of the future, this is only the beginning — but it's an exciting direction. Visualizing Amenities for In-Room, On-Demand Beverage Service and More As we've alluded to before, hotel mini-bars (at least as we've always known them) seem to be on their way out. While guests still crave the instant gratification which mini-bars, in theory, provide, their antiquated structure is ultimately too problematic and costly to resist evolution. Moving away from that legacy model, hoteliers are seeking out ways to virtualize amenities for an in-room experience that is still convenient and immediate, but is less labor-intensive and provides an enhanced sense of luxury for each guest. This is where in-room, on-demand wine comes in, a sleek new appliance that offers guests the ability to pour a glass of featured red or white wine, whenever they please. Considering over 60% of hotel executives believe the quality of a guest's experience will significantly improve through enhanced in-room service and 70% of guests want to use technology to elevate their overall experience, this shift comes as no surprise. Rather than limiting revenue potential and consuming resources with laborious features such as mini-bars and room service, hotels are adopting in-room wine, app-based food delivery, on-property grab-and-go dining, and more. Not only are these modern formats more cost-effective, but they also drive more revenue and cater to a more personalized, modern, and guest-centric experience that leaves a positive impression on guests. For example, Four Seasons developed a 'fast delivery' program. Soon the program amounted to about 20% of the brand's room service business and went beyond the business traveler to cater to all discerning guests. Further, Plum in-room wine boasts capture rates as high as 20%, a far cry from the 1% capture rate of wine offered in traditional mini-bars. The predominant theme of 2019 and beyond is quite simple: out with the old, in with the new. As the examples above show, technology is a powerful tool in responding to guest needs. As new technologies emerge, hotels of all sizes can't afford to sit on the sidelines. Those that put guest needs first are in a position to win.
Plum · 19 Jun
Hoteliers, now more than ever, must demonstrate their ability to spend money the right way while building out multiple revenue-generating, guest-centric segments across their operational model. Food and beverage programs are often one of the most under-valued hospitality segments which can deliver a great deal of revenue potential — that is, if it's done correctly. According to speakers on an F&B panel at The 2017 Lodging Conference, hoteliers who are doing F&B best know how to combine trends with experiences to yield high-margin operations. Over the last few years, industry experts have predicted that traditional hotel food and beverage is on its way out. While most hotels still offer room service, food and beverage programs are now expected to evolve in tandem with modern guest expectations. Costly room service and mini-bars are — in the eyes of many — now an antiquated format, destined to be replaced by new, more progressive F&B concepts and personalized, guest-driven options. U.S. hotel food-and-beverage revenue per occupied room (F&B RevPOR) increased by 2.7% in 2018, according to total-year data from STR. However, within that increase, we saw a 4.2% decrease in In-Room Dining RevPOR. Room service, after all, represents a costly expenditure for hotels (often without the expected return) and mini-bars are notorious for lackluster performance and massive operational burden.
Plum · 5 Jun
When you hear the term 'upscale' or 'luxury travel' what comes to mind? At the Skift Global Forum in September, hospitality leaders from around the globe found themselves asking the question: How can upscale hotels redefine luxury and rise to the expectations of elite guests? After all, as the industry becomes increasingly more saturated and competitive, hoteliers will have to find new ways to interject 'luxury' touches, both big and small, across guest touch-points. In many cases, the focus might not be on grand gestures and amenities, but rather, thoughtful upgrades and exclusive perks for discerning travelers.
Plum · 22 May
Any hospitality professional knows that the modern traveler wants it all - but they also want it delivered in a faster, more efficient, and more attentive manner. As our world continues to change and adapt under the influence of increasingly automated, smart technology, consumer expectations, and trends are shifting in tandem. What was once the industry standard has, in many cases, been replaced by tech-enabled enhancements that provide instant gratification, simplified touch-points, and personalization. Consumers are used to ATMs at the bank instead of tellers, checking in for airplane flights online, and they are now looking for that same efficiency when they arrive at a hotel. No one wants to wait in line for the front desk anymore. Travelers especially are increasingly in favor of self-service platforms, and technology which taps into (and leverages) their data for a more refined, meaningful experience. This is further exemplified by studies revealing that when it comes to hotel guests, 63% prefer tech-enabled lobbies, and 84% prefer mobile check-in and check-out. However, in the case of hospitality, this brings hoteliers to a conundrum, of sorts. Sure, the modern guest craves an experience that is primarily defined by efficiency and instant gratification - but what about those traditional markers of great hospitality? If hotels empower guests to bypass the front desk and classic touch-points entirely, are they then missing out on the opportunity to engage with those guests? How can hotels find the balance between service that is as efficient and streamlined as it is attentive and memorable? Traditionally, the front desk marks an opportunity for hotel staff to make a lasting first impression; welcoming the guest by name to make them feel appreciated and at home. This was also a prime opportunity for staff to offer certain 'wow' moments, raging from personalized upgrades to complimentary glass of wine or champagne for loyal guests. Of course, these meaningful moments could be easily thwarted in the case of lines and frustrating delays or missed opportunities for personalization. If this is the dilemma which gave life to the self-service movement, allowing hotel staff to better focus their service efforts and guests to bypass notoriously time-consuming touch-points, how can hotels still go the extra mile for incoming guests? And to take this a step further - and by a step further we mean, what if we could extend this into each guest's room? As a matter of fact, we think there is - with the transformation of in-room beverage service by way of single-serve red or white wine by the glass via Plum. As hotels continue to evolve their in-room F&B strategy from traditional mini-bars with next-generation in-room appliances such as by the glass wine, we realize the unique opportunity to virtualize an amenity. That memorable gesture of a complimentary glass of wine offered at the front desk, whether to welcome a guest, reward loyalty or recover guest service, can still be fulfilled even without that physical touch-point at check-in. Considering that 80% of luxury hotel guests drink wine regularly, this represents an especially appealing service offering for leisure and business travelers alike. Now, let's tie this back to the initial discussion of the self-service model. The increasing guest demand for self-service technology is largely rooted in the desire for an efficient, seamless experience that offers enhanced autonomy. Ultimately, guests like to be in control - to be provided a service, yes, but in control. With the help of an in-room wine appliance, hoteliers can go the extra mile for guests with a special offer that is (a complimentary pour for example) completely self-service. Using the in-room device, guests can easily serve themselves a glass of red or white wine, chilled and on demand.
Plum · 30 Apr
Our world, and how we interact with it, is primarily defined by the digital transformation that constantly unfolds across industries and consumer touch-points. The 'hot' new product of two years ago, might no longer be available today. The traditional cassette tape player and Walkman were replaced by the once revolutionary iPod shuffle, which has since been replaced with iPhones brimming with complex capabilities. Blockbusters - once the highlight of Friday nights across many households - are now a distant, nostalgic memory. We accept food from 'strangers' in the form of Uber Eats drivers, and we ride with those same strangers when we hop in an Uber to get across a bustling city. We can shop at stores using mobile, hands-free checkout, and we can place an order without even lifting a finger by speaking to our voice-activated home assistant. From a consumer standpoint, a hyper-personalized experience has become the anticipated norm across industries. Consumers don't simply make purchases. They expect to engage and connect with brands in a way that wasn't previously possible. Times are constantly changing in this modern era. And yet, there exist a select few industries, platforms and processes that seem overtly resistant to the progressive trends that continuously transform everything else around us. This becomes especially apparent as we look to the hospitality realm, an industry which has commonly shied away from much-needed reform. For years, the guest experience was needlessly limited by legacy technology and traditional processes that merely failed to keep pace with evolving guest expectations. Fortunately, those days of drastically outdated platforms and processes seem to be (mostly) behind us, as hoteliers finally embrace a future of hospitality. A future which promises a more personalized, guest-centric, and ultimately frictionless experience. However, there still exists one exception to this rule - the arguably archaic (but seemingly unshakeable), the hotel mini-bar. You know - that cumbersome hunk of technology that often hums and purrs loudly from the corner of your hotel room, offering up a selection of $6 water bottles, $10 chocolate bars, and grossly overpriced beer, wine and liquor. It's become something of a sad hospitality staple, one which may only tempt indulgence at 2 am after a long night out that exceeded the operational hours of corner stores and local food establishments. Since it's global emergence in the mid-70s, hotel rooms ranging from luxury to family-friendly have included a stocked mini-bar as part of their offering. Amidst the many updates that have taken the hospitality industry and, respectively, the guest experience by storm, you might wonder - what is the mini-bar still doing here? Is it truly a revenue-generating proposition for hotels, and one which generates guest approval and satisfaction? Or is there a better way to appeal to guests' desire for instant gratification and 24/7 access? Basically, if the hotel mini-bar is the iPod shuffle of the hospitality industry, how does the new iPhone look? Identifying the Problem The hotel mini-bar wasn't always viewed with the modern apprehension it receives today. In 1974, the Hong Kong Hilton became the first hotel to include a "liquor-stocked" mini-bar in each of its 840 rooms, and it proved to be lucrative. In-room drink sales skyrocketed 500%, and the company's overall revenue rose by 5%. By 1980, mini-bars had been solidified as an industry norm across 4 and 5-star properties, seemingly peaking in their perceived popularity across guests and hoteliers alike. So, where did things take a turn for the worse? Not long after their initial adoption and surge in popularity, it became apparent to hoteliers that mini-bars invite several problems into a hotel's operational model. These problems include, but aren't limited to: - High labor demand/costs - Overstocking of goods which results in spoilage - Guest disputes or wrongful charges - High installation/removal costs - On-going maintenance of both automated and non-automated units Now, hoteliers are faced with the reality that mini-bars offer exceedingly low capture rates, making it hard to justify the cost to maintain them. In fact, in a 2012 survey, nearly 500 hotel owners unanimously agreed that re-stocking mini-bars was a "nightmare," and 84% reported they'd had guests dodge bills by stealing items and replacing them with inferior goods. Further, in a 2013 consumer study that surveyed some 20,000 travelers, the mini-bar was ranked as the "least important" amenity in a hotel room, with only 21% of respondents desiring one. This brings us to our current dilemma - If mini-bars have become such a tiny fraction of hotel revenue, commanding so much up-keep and trouble, are they worth the bother?
Plum · 17 Apr
No one ever said that running a hotel would be easy. With so many moving parts; attending to ever-evolving guest needs, creating a share-worthy property aesthetic, piecing together an all-star staff and creating a memorable travel experience can be a lofty (albeit rewarding) task. And yet, modern hospitality leaders are taking recent technological changes in stride to consistently create new-age travel experiences both on and off-property, while placing enhanced emphasis on guest personalization and creating a frictionless experience. It's this momentum that is propelling hoteliers towards an exciting hospitality future, one that boasts high expectations and equally high profit margins. However, how do we get there? What are the primary pillars to ensuring a property is on-trend and tapping into its true revenue potential? Let's break it down. Hoteliers - regardless of the size, type or scale of their property - have at least a few common goals:
Plum · 3 Apr
What does a memorable customer experience mean to you? This question inspires some of the most critical aspects of any business' customer-facing strategy, as brands constantly seek out new and improved ways to connect with modern consumers and create a lasting impression. When looking to sell a product or service, businesses should strive to not only inspire consumers to make the purchase but to ensure that the process of making that purchase caters to a larger (and ultimately memorable) customer experience that instills long-term loyalty. This proves especially true when we look at the hospitality realm. Travel is, in itself, an experience — one which begins long before a prospective traveler even clicks 'book now'. From the planning phase to post-trip, travelers are consumed with the potential (or the memory) of a certain experience. As travelers scroll through sprawling social feeds showcasing luxurious travel destinations, modern hotels and local experiences, hotels, and travel brands are implored to curate a trip that goes beyond perceived expectations. In fact, modern customers seem far less inclined to base their loyalty off a price or product — and instead, demonstrate loyalty to companies based on the end-to-end experience they receive. Not entirely convinced? Consider the following:
Plum · 19 Mar
How do you define luxury travel? It's a well-worn phrase, one which translates across industries and generations; but how can we truly understand such a subjective concept? With the increase in demand for unique and exotic holiday experiences, the luxury travel market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 6.83% globally. So the question becomes — Is luxury travel about the appearance of a hotel, or more about the service? Can it be attributed to the destination or the amenities? What about emerging technology, or local experiences? How can hoteliers ensure they are tapping into the potential of luxury travel and appealing to modern guests? Depending on who you ask, the key indicators and differentiators of a luxury travel experience may be different. But, at its core, luxury travel calls for a truly exceptional, memorable and otherwise unique experience. Modern travelers especially crave an accessible, new-age luxury experience that spans across the marriage of high-touch and high-tech service, local experiences, high-tech amenities and so much more. Modern luxury, if anything, is rapidly evolving within the hospitality realm, and hoteliers are heeding the demand to keep up with the trends. After all, in an industry that is constantly reinventing itself, it becomes paramount for hoteliers to keep their finger on the pulse of emerging guest demands. So, what are the key luxury travel trends hotels should watch in 2019? We're here to tell you.
Plum · 6 Mar
How exciting is it, to live in a time during which industries and brands are continually re-inventing themselves in tandem with the rapid evolution of technology and innovation(s)? Exciting — absolutely, but these frequent consumer-driven shifts also create a unique challenge for industries hoping to keep their finger firmly on the pulse of modern expectations. And with the influx of millennial consumers, it's not merely a matter of remaining technologically savvy — brands also need to demonstrate an understanding of generation-specific desires and preferred service models. In the case of hospitality, we arrive at the ultimate question; what does the modern guest look like? Is marketing to the millennial masses vastly different from previous generations? What trends are forecasted for 2019, and how will those affect travel and hotel brands in their pursuit of long-term guest loyalty? Luckily, we can shed some light on this topic. Millennials Millennials are inherently value-driven consumers. I don't mean value regarding the best perceived monetary value, though. Rather, I'm alluding to their desire to interact with brands who demonstrate an intimate understanding of their core values. In fact, millennial purchase behavior(s) are rooted in a different set of values than previous generations. These include: - Quality and variety
Plum · 21 Feb
When it comes to curating an exceptional guest experience from top to bottom, pre-stay to post-stay, hoteliers must pay mind to a number of factors and touch-points. What matters most to guests? Is it the property itself? Is it the local experience? Is it the room? Do they crave a more high-tech experience, or traditional high-touch service? What inspires guest loyalty in 2019?
Plum · 24 Jan
There's no denying it — the modern consumer wants what they want when they want it, and how they want it. We've long since entered the 'Age of the Customer' and, in that same breath, the 'Age of Personalization.' Regardless the product or service, success in 2019 (and we would surmise, beyond) will be largely dependent on a brand's ability to continuously forge personal connections with customers while offering a consistently frictionless and convenient experience. To remain competitive in today's real-time world, brands need to effectively anticipate and deliver personalized, on-demand, timely and inspiring experiences.
Plum · 3 Jan
At its core, great hospitality is centered around the provision of excellent guest service and the consistent curation of an experience that meets or, better yet, exceeds guest expectations. While the defining elements of that desired experience may differ depending upon the guest, hospitality in the modern age is largely centered around guest personalization.
Plum · 18 Dec
When we speak to modern guest expectations, a number of considerations come to mind. The mobile experience, the self-service model, advanced guest-facing technology, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and hyper-personalization are just a few of the trends currently redefining the future of travel and hospitality. But as we continue to shift into this age of personalization and rising guest expectations, we arrive at the question — Is there an ROI to exceeding guest expectations?
Plum · 4 Dec
Let's take a moment and consider these scenarios: In the first scenario, you're in town on a business trip and having just landed from a long flight — coupled with a layover delay — you're ready to settle in for the night and finish off some work. After checking-in and collecting your things, you make your way to your room and do a quick scan of the amenities. There's a mini-fridge situated in the far corner of the room, and a room service menu left on a small coffee table. You roll your suitcase to its respective spot beside the bed, kick off your shoes and grab the menu to look through its offerings. It's been a long day, and a glass of wine sounds like a pretty tempting nightcap to pair with emails. But as you look through the menu, you consider the delivery charge, and the time it will take for that wine glass, wrapped in cling wrap, to actually end up at the door. 'Is it really worth it, for one glass of wine?' You ask yourself… In the second scenario, you roll your suitcase to its respective spot beside the bed, kick off your shoes and grab the menu to look through its offerings. However, something else catches your eye, first. You notice that your room features an automatic wine by the glass device, serving up a chilled and preserved bottles of red and white wine by the glass, on-demand. The decision is easy, you help yourself to a glass (tracked by a cloud service) and get going on those emails, wine in hand. We like the sound of the second scenario best, don't you? Over the years, the landscape of the in-room food and beverage experience has changed to meet the evolving needs and expectations of guests. We've witnessed the transition from the days of room service to mini-bars (with people to staff them), online ordering and now, in-room devices to cater to an on-demand experience. This comes as no surprise, as the travel and hospitality industry have, at large, adopted a more personalized approach as we continue to transition into the 'Age of the Guest'. With prospective travelers demanding more from the hotels they frequent, the ability to provide a seamless travel experience and responsive, on-demand service are more critical than ever before. In fact, according to studies, 54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago. Curating a seamless, service-driven food and beverage strategy becomes especially important to hoteliers when we consider the primary revenue streams hotels rely on. First, hotels generate revenue from initial bookings and, second, they generate additional revenue from each guest while on the property. This represents a wealth of opportunity for hotels to connect with the "new hotel guest" as we look to those travelers who not only expect an enriched food and beverage experience on the property, but also within the comfort of their room. So what does this have to do with wine, you might wonder? Well, a lot, actually. Online sales of beer, liquor and wine for delivery grew 32.7% in 2017, according to reports. By far the most popular kind of adult beverage bought on the web is wine, which represented more than 65% of online alcohol sales during the 25-month period. Again, this comes as no surprise, as we observe a consumer shift in favor of self-service technology and instant gratification. The installation of in-room appliances enable hotels to increase sales while offering unparalleled convenience and unique amenities. This keeps modern guests happy, while also helping to lessen the burden of cost associated with traditional food and beverage programs and upkeep. In today's world of instant gratification, there are new and innovative ways of delivering services and products that readily meet and exceed the expectations of guests. This is where Plum and the new wave of beverage service comes into play. Much like the rising popularity of Nespresso's in-room coffee service, Plum offers on-demand, chilled red or white wine, with cloud-based tracking of consumption to enhance in-room profit. Considering 80% of luxury hotel guests drink wine regularly, this represents an exciting opportunity to improve guest engagement, increase direct bookings and reduce labor costs. Moreover, for anyone thinking, 'Well, if there are restaurants and room service available on-property, why would guests be interested in an in-room wine appliance?" consider this: Hotels have been pushed to adapt their offerings based on modern consumers and their everyday habits. Once an admirable profit center, hotel revenue from traditional services such as phone calls, in-room pay per view movie rentals, and mini-bars are becoming a thing of the past. Today's guests are accustomed to sophisticated technology at home, and they expect it in their hotel room too. So, what do you say — are you ready to exceed guest expectations by offering the Plum experience? Click here to learn more.