Study: U.S. guests seek limited interaction with hotel staff

A new study of a representative sample of U.S. travelers from Kasa Living Inc., a national tech-powered, flexible accommodations brand and operator, reveals that a vast majority (90%) prefer limited interaction with hotel staff.

The findings also indicate that frequent travelers, business travelers and younger generations are leading the charge for the self-directed experiences that tech-enabled accommodations allow, as well as the decreasing need for traditional accommodations amenities.

“This data supports what we have seen from Kasa guests for the past several years: flexibility comes first,” said Roman Pedan, CEO, Kasa. “Especially in a remote and hybrid world, travelers are taking control of how and where they work and play, and the industry must adapt to meet those needs.”

Other key takeaways from the study:

  • For today’s travelers, the best accommodations can meet a range of needs, from families on vacation to professionals working remotely, as 98% of respondents agreed with the above sentiment that travelers favor versatile locations and fewer customary processes, while 57% expressed strong agreement.
  • In-person check-in is taking a toll, leading younger travelers to devalue the process, as 73% recalled unfavorable experiences with in-person check-in, including overlong processes (44%), incorrect information (32%), and staff that was unfriendly (31%) or altogether absent (22%).
  • Nearly half (47%) of Millennials rated front-desk check-in and room service as low priority, compared to 34% of Gen X and 22% of baby boomers.
  • Travelers of all ages appreciate the convenience and flexibility of virtual travel planning, with younger travelers showing particular interest, with 97% of respondents preferring to handle at least a portion of trip planning through an app or website.
  • Gen Z and millennials are about two times more likely to prefer virtual check-in through an app or website than Gen X or boomers.
  • Those who travel most are keen on digital as 99% of travelers planning five-plus trips in the next 12 months said they preferred to substitute in-person interactions with digital experiences.
  • The majority of respondents said they preferred a flexible, hands-off approach to customer service over one that requires in-person interaction, including 62% of both Gen Z and millennials.
  • Travelers are outgrowing conventional offerings like room service, front-desk staff and bellhops, along with building amenities like pools and gyms, with 61% of upcoming business or “bleisure” travelers saying these services have limited appeal, and 34% of travelers overall agreed.
  • While guests ignore unwanted extras, basic concerns like privacy and quiet go unaddressed as 56% of respondents reported using only some of the available amenities, including 17% who typically used just a few or none at all.
  • Of the 81% of travelers who had encountered disruptive hotel guests, 70% took action. But younger guests indicated reluctance to complain: only 47% of Gen Z and 59% of millennials took action, compared to 70% of baby boomers.

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research from June 23-28 among 1,000 U.S. travelers, defined as those who intend to travel overnight for business or leisure in the next 12 months.