What SiteMinder's Changing Traveller Report Reveals About Those Planning to Stay with a Hotel Group or Chain – By … – Hotel News Resource

SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report 2023 shines a spotlight on the most critical challenges the accommodation industry is facing when it comes to satisfying guest expectations.

The product of 10,000 traveller interviews across 12 markets globally, it’s the largest consumer research on accommodation conducted anywhere in the world.

But what does the report specifically tell us about those planning to stay with a hotel group or chain on their next trip?

In this piece, I’ll take a deeper look at the data SiteMinder collected in its recent survey. Initially I’ll summarise the four major characteristics of the changing traveller we met at a global level, but will then take this a step further – reflecting on the findings purely through the lens of the approximately 2,000 travellers we spoke to that plan for their next check-in to be with a hotel group or chain.

Traveller 1: The enduring explorer

At a time when people everywhere are struggling with the basic cost of living, today's traveller remains stubbornly determined to explore. Are they impacted by macroeconomic issues? For sure. Do they care? Not really. Rather, they are relentlessly prioritising ‘the adventure’, and categorise travel less as a luxury and more as a fundamental aspect of being human.
How do those staying with a hotel group or chain compare to this global traveller?

They are 6% more likely to travel ‘internationally only’.
In 2022, just 20% planned to travel ‘internationally only’ in the next 12 months, compared to 42% this year, highlighting the current demand for big international trips.
For those planning to stay with a hotel group or chain, this ‘international-only’ trend is accentuated further. Forty-eight percent of these travellers plan to travel ‘internationally only’ in the next 12 months, 13% above the lowest segment, holiday park guests.

They are 5% more likely to book via a package deal.
Rising costs are creating tensions in every aspect of life, and to keep their holiday dreams alive, travellers are being forced to make concessions. Just 21% of those planning to stay with a hotel group or chain are completely unaffected by price increases, with the other 79% needing to adapt their accommodation choices in some way. The most common adjustment being made is to seek out a package deal. Twenty-five percent of those staying with a hotel group or chain will stay in whichever accommodation is included in a package deal, compared with 20% of all travellers.
Traveller 2: The digital dependent

Trying to limit their screen time, but bound to their devices, today’s traveller relies on a growing network of technology platforms before making any decision, including where to stay. The digital dependent is adjusting to chatbots and intrigued by AI, but also quickly burnt – meaning they are ultra-sensitive to online experiences that feel clunky or insecure.
How do those staying with a hotel group or chain compare to this global traveller?

They are more reliant on digital platforms and OTAs.
Discovery: In the accommodation discovery process, those starting their search for a hotel group or chain are considerably less likely to ask their friends for recommendations, compared to all travellers (10% [all] vs 6% [group/chain]). Rather, they prefer to start their search via a specific OTA, website or app (23% [all] vs 27% [group/chain]).
Booking: In the booking phase, they are less likely to book directly with a property (28% [all] vs 23% [group/chain]), and are again more likely to rely on an OTA for their booking (39% [all] vs 46% [group/chain]).
In total, 71% of those staying with a hotel group or chain say that their booking experience and stay on site would be better if accommodation businesses were more tech-savvy, compared to 66% globally.
They are more open to AI and automation.
When it comes to leveraging AI for accommodation recommendations, those staying with a hotel group or chain are more likely to do so than the global traveller, 55% to 52%. At check-in they are also more technically-enabled, with 60% preferring a fast, automated experience, compared with 56% of all travellers.

Half have decided not to proceed with an accommodation booking because of a bad online experience, and security is more important to them.
On par with the global traveller, roughly half of all travellers planning to stay with a group or chain have abandoned an accommodation booking, with website security, difficulty processing a payment and slow load time the top three factors, in that order.
As they lock in their travels, an easy, secure booking and payment process is 2% more important to them than the average traveller.

Traveller 3: The memory maker

While travel flows are normalising, today’s traveller is not. Their evolution is set on a different plain. The memory maker is fixated on the unique and the new, and is drawn to the road not yet travelled. This traveller has saved hard for their holiday and is happy to splash additional money, beyond the cost of their room.
How do those staying with a hotel group or chain compare to this global traveller?

– They are more likely to spend money on hotel extras and add-ons.
SiteMinder’s survey data highlights that 90% of those staying with a hotel group or chain are happy to spend beyond the cost of their room, compared to 87% globally. Among the biggest differences are a greater openness to spend on an early or late check-in (24% [all] vs 26% [group/chain]), spa treatments (23% [all] vs 27% [group/chain]), a view (31% [all] vs 36% [group/chain]) and an airport transfer (26% [all] vs 31% [group/chain]).

– They remain more driven by wellness options and experiences.
While travel has always been about being open to new places, people and experiences, today’s traveller has become even more intentional about investing in adventures that will allow them to connect, grow and create unique memories. This is particularly true for those staying with a hotel or chain. Globally, 26% see wellness options as more important now versus last year, compared with 30% of group or chain guests, while 43% globally see a great experience (e.g. food, music or something interactive) as more important this year, compared with 47% of group or chain guests.

Traveller 4: The conscious collaborator

An ally to the industry, today's traveller is driven to create meaningful connections via their accommodation stay. The conscious collaborator sees the upsides of communicating closely with their chosen property. They deeply value the industry’s people and want to have a positive impact on the communities they visit.
How do those staying with a hotel group or chain compare to this global traveller?
– They are more open to receiving communications and more likely to write a review
Ninety percent of those staying with a hotel group or chain are open to receiving communications from the property they are staying with, beyond a confirmation email. And crucially for boosting revenue, they are more comfortable with being delivered personalised offers (35% [all] vs 39% [group/chain]). Further displaying their openness for a two-way relationship, 75% say they would be either ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to write a review of their accommodation if asked, compared with 70% globally.

They are less tolerant of lowered standards due to staff shortages
Finally, those staying at a hotel group or chain are slightly less tolerant of the impacts of staff shortages, compared with all travellers globally. Twenty-four percent of all travellers say they are “much more” tolerant of lowered standards, due to staff shortages, compared to 21% of group or chain guests, while 31% globally say they expect the same level of service, compared with 33% of group or chain guests.
The takeaway:
SiteMinder’s data confirms that those planning to stay with a hotel group or chain are among the most savvy, experience-driven and tech-enabled travellers on earth. They are hunting package deals, openly looking for ways to make their stay a more special one and are comfortable to engage in a two-way relationship with their property, pre, during and post stay. Importantly, our data displays that these travellers deeply want the industry to become a more tech-enabled one.

For those that are able to create the streamlined journey that these travellers are craving, there is loyalty to be built and extra revenue to be made.

SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report 2023 is available here.
Jason Lugo
Jason Lugo is the Market Vice President – Americas at SiteMinder. Connect with Jason on LinkedIn.
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