Hotels 2.0: How a focus on user experience can make hotels better
Hotels 2.0 How a focus on users canimprove the hotel experience Joseph Dickerson
Introduction• As a UX professional who travels a lot I stay at a lot of hotels • Some good, some bad• In my travels I have seen many things that could be g much better if we applied some UX principles and focus
Core principle• A key principle I would bring to this design is personalization• If you stay at a hotel thats part of a chain, or one you have been at before, they should know your preferences
Examples of Personalization• Ordered smoked salmon the last two times you stayed? • The hotel should provide a complimentary serving your next stay• Requested a high ﬂoor near the elevator? • The hotel should ALWAYS put you in a room like that unless you request otherwise• Asked for a king size bed and feather pillows? Ditto...
Be smart, not just helpful• Hotel staff should be trained in providing intelligent services proactively, not just responding to complaints and requests • Look to how personal stewards are trained on cruise ships
Be smart, not just helpful• Just traveled in on an international trip? • Staff should provide you with a humidiﬁer, fresh fruit and juices to help you acclimate, as well as a hints and tips sheet on jet-lag• Traveling with young children? • Staff should provide complimentary pool toys along with a note giving the hours the pool is open
Be smart, not just helpful• Those signs that say "We can offer you toiletries if you forgot them" require the hotel guest to up the phone and ask... • Just keep a full set of toiletries in every room all the time• Have extra toilet paper and towels in the room, based on the number of guests staying there • Again, guests shouldnt have to ask for things like that, it should just "be there"
"Grace notes"• "But, all these freebies will cut into the hotels proﬁt margin!" • Yes, but lets look at it from the customers perspective.• Every one of these extra touches are "grace notes" that will make the customers experience better... • ...And will make them far more likely to stay at the hotel (or a hotel in the chain) again• Its a lot cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one
Other ideas• Take out all the little signs in the room that say "If you steal X we will charge you for it." • Treat guests like guests, not potential criminals• Dont put catalogs in rooms that try and sell the rooms bedding and furnishings to guests via mail order • Does anyone ever go, "Wow, I love that comforter in our room, lets buy one just like it!" • Its tacky and a waste of time
Other ideas• Provide a REAL coffee maker with FRESHLY GROUND coffee, thank you very much• Provide a universal set of chargers in the room for the most common devices (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.)• Give Internet access away for free, for everyone • In the 21st Century Internet access should be like plumbing and electricity... It should be included in the cost of the room
Other ideas• Provide suggested workout sheets in the exercise room, with simple instructions organized around goals.• If the hotel has a concierge ﬂoor, then offer REAL concierge service, not just lip service • Free drinks, free snacks, advice on local attractions, restaurant bookings... Everything• Optimize the checking and checkout process, and staff the front desk with extra staff to handle peak times based on historic analytical data.
Closing• You probably notice that I have described only minimal changes to the actual "structure" of the hotel room proper, and focused on the experience that the hotel should provide.• Thats because theres not much you need to change in a hotel room - its utilitarian and appropriately so.• The key to a better hotel experience is exactly that: the experience that is provided to the guest.