IHG: High-quality service top priority for 78% of global travelers

With more than three-quarters (78%) of global travelers placing high-quality service above all else when booking a hotel, voco hotels has launched “turn up” service to cater to guests’ needs and expectations.

To understand the new travel normal and reevaluate traveler’s desires, IHG Hotels & Resorts’ voco hotels conducted a global survey to uncover what consumers returning to travel really want from their hotel experience, which found that nine in 10 respondents rank great service as most important to them when staying at a hotel. The study shows that cleanliness and other basic needs rank highly, but people also care a great deal about how they are approached during their stay and want to ensure they feel comfortable. Travelers are also ready to reconnect post-pandemic, with six out of 10 craving connection, interaction and/or conversation more during their travels, compared to pre-pandemic.

Now more than ever, personable service is top priority. As the travel landscape evolves, service is key to meeting guest expectations. A total of 65% of travelers think hotel staff should act in a friendly manner towards guests, and half say they want to be able to talk to staff and vice versa in a friendly, conversational manner, rather than one that’s overly formal or personal. Furthermore, nearly half (48%) of travelers agree that a friendly, approachable and personalized experience is more important than ever following the pandemic. This is why guests won’t just find front desk staff or sales managers at voco hotels; all staff members are voco hosts dedicated to anticipating guest needs throughout their stay. From offering a local welcome treat upon arrival to curating tailored itineraries based on the guests’ interests, this hosted service style brings a truly personalized approach to service and makes each visitor’s stay uniquely their own, according to IHG.

Travelers crave unexpected service offerings. While they expect their basic hotel needs to be covered, guests also want unexpected offerings that go above and beyond. One in three (33%) wish more hotels offered late night comfort food, 29% wish for enhanced bathroom amenities and another 29% would like in-room afternoon tea or happy hour delivered directly to their room. Additionally, roughly a quarter (26%) would enjoy a personalized welcome package or the option to have breakfast in bed. Travelers’ desires also vary per location. For instance, late-night comfort food topped the list of desired service offerings in the UAE, while travelers in the U.S. wished they could request their favorite cocktail or dessert in advance so hosts can offer it without them asking.

Informed by the global survey data, voco hotels will roll out turn-up service across select markets to offer guests a series of new, localized initiatives and offerings to give travelers more of what they really want from a hotel experience. The new concept is a twist on the typical turn-down service designed to “turn-up” voco’s hosted service style at select hotels around the world. The enhanced service offerings will deliver unexpected, bookable offerings to guests, such as turn-up service rooms in the U.K., high tea all day in Dubai and brunch after dark soirees in the U.S.

“Just like travel has changed, consumers’ expectations have too,” said Will Yell, VP luxury and upscale conversion and affiliate brands, IHG Hotels & Resorts. “With nearly half of travelers stating they want to be valued as an individual, a one-size-fits-all approach to hotel service no longer resonates with travelers. And while service is one of the most important elements that makes voco hotels so unique, we’re also known for doing things a little bit differently. So rather than turning down beds, we’re turning up our hosted service to enhance our guest’s stays and deliver unexpected, localized offerings that meet the needs of today’s travelers.”

The voco brand’s international footprint spans countries such as Australia, the UAE, the U.K. and the U.S. with more than 23 locations open worldwide, and 33 in the pipeline to open in the next few years.