Australian travellers want high-tech, low-touch hotel stays shows new Oracle survey.

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  • 74% of Australians want hotels to offer tech that minimises contact with the staff and other guests
  • 65% of Australians are interested in hotels using AI to deliver more relevant offers
  • Hoteliers look to tech to ease staffing woes and support unbundled, pay-for-use services

A new study by Oracle Hospitality and Skift shows that 97% of people in Australia plan to travel in the next six months – with 29% taking an epic ‘revenge travel’ trip – however, many want to eliminate the ‘touch’ from the high touch industry they once knew. A majority (75%) of Australians want to use their mobile device to manage their hotel experience, including checking in and out, paying, ordering food, and more. This is good news for hoteliers looking to tech to manage through the staffing shortage without hurting guest engagement and service.

Over the next few years, Australian travellers are also looking to personalise their journey even more by picking their exact room and floor and paying for only the amenities they want – and even wanting to pre-screening properties in the metaverse (62%). More than three-quarters (76%) of Australian hotel executives see this ‘unbundled’ model as the future of hotel revenue management. Moreover, 67% are interested in hotels using AI to better tailor services and offers, such as room pricing or food suggestions and discounts.

“The pandemic has established technology’s role in the guest and associate journey, and the industry is never going back,” said Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality. “Whether a hotel organisation has two properties or 2,000, guests are looking for the highly digital, self-service experience they have expected in other parts of their lives, from banking to ordering food. For hoteliers to meet these demands and emerging ones like unbundled services, they need systems that will enable them to quickly adapt, ‘plug in’ new services, and better understand and serve a diverse group of travellers.”

The “Hospitality in 2025: Automated, Intelligent… and More Personal” study surveyed 5,266 consumers and 633 hotel executives worldwide—including 516 travellers and 54 hotel executives in Australia—in the spring of 2022 to better understand how guest expectations have changed and how hotels are adapting. Consumers and executives were surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, and Mexico. Check out the report here.

Aussies want people to ‘get away’ while on their getaway

Two years of restrictions created a pent-up desire to travel, with 29% of Australians planning a larger, pricier “revenge travel” trip. But the pandemic has also left jetsetters feeling antisocial, with many desiring contactless and self-service technology:

  • 81% of Aussies don’t miss being around other people while staying on hotel property.
  • 75% agree that they’re more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service technology to minimise contact with the staff and other guests.
  • 34% want a fully self-service model, with staff only available upon request.
  • 45% want to order room service from their phone or a chatbot.
  • 49% are also looking for contactless payments (only 5% want to pay in crypto).

The staff remains slim, tech is helping

The labour shortage remains a top issue in the hotel industry, but Australian hoteliers are working hard to onboard new tech to ease the strain on guests and staff:

  • 69% of hoteliers said incorporating new technologies for staff best describes their strategy to weather labour shortages and attract new talent.
  • 60% are already investing in contactless technology, with 75% noting that “a fully contactless experience” is likely to be the most widely adopted tech in the industry in the next three years.
  • 50% added that their highest priority is to adopt tech that improves or eliminates the need for the front desk experience between now and 2025.

Travellers are mixed on how patient they are willing to be in this transition

  • 36% said they want a fully contactless experience for all basic hotel transactions (check-in/out, food & beverage, room keys, etc.).
  • 35% said a staff shortage and resulting slow service would be their #1 deterrent to rebooking a hotel. However, just 21% noted that a lack of daily room cleaning is an issue, showing consumers have accepted (and 16% welcomed!) that this pre-pandemic mainstay is never coming back.
  • Aussies looking for the comfort of home, even when away from home

Whether ordering room service or signing onto Netflix, Australian travellers want the ease and convenience of home while travelling

  • 52% said on-demand entertainment access that seamlessly connects to their personal streaming or gaming accounts is their #1 must-have during their stay. Similarly, 57% of hotel executives said this in-room entertainment set-up is what they’re most likely to implement by 2025.
  • 75% of travellers are interested in using automated messaging or chatbots for hotel customer service requests.
  • 34% want voice-activated controls for all amenities in their rooms (lights, curtains, door locks, etc.).
  • 21% want room controls that auto-adjust temperature, lighting, and even digital art based on pre-shared preferences.

A la carte-based hotel pricing

Consumers are interested in a hotel model that lets them pay for just what they use. Hoteliers, in tandem, are looking at new service models that upsell everything from amenities to adventures:

  • 69% of hoteliers expect a big service model shift between now and 2025.
  • 76% agreed that “special amenities and upgrades” are critical to their revenue strategy.
  • 76% predict that the future of hotel revenue management will be underpinned by unbundling room rates, like a “basic economy” vs. “economy plus” model on airlines.

For Australian travellers

  • 87% said they would be likely to book a hotel that allowed them to pay only for their amenities.
  • 60% are willing to pay more to choose their view; 55% to check in early/check-out late;
  • 39% choose their room; 36% use the spa, wellness, or fitness services; 36% prefer their room floor.

Into the metaverse

Interest in virtual reality and metaverse-related hotel amenities are high but are not currently on the “must-have” list:

  • 62% of Australian travellers are very or somewhat interested in using metaverse/VR to explore a hotel virtually before they book.
  • 77% said they would be interested in metaverse experiences like sightseeing, art exhibits, and fitness classes if hotels provided VR headsets.
  • 25% of hotel executives are already developing VR maps of their hotels or are planning to do so within the following year.