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New clients, new behaviors, the keys to loyalty

Compared to previous decades, the global hotel industry is experiencing an unprecedented situation: the juxtaposition – and therefore the coexistence – of four generations of customers with different expectations. Satisfying them all is a major challenge, all the more so as understanding of customer satisfaction and recommendation have become common practice across all generations.

The progress of science translated into longer careers, while the further independence of younger generations also affected the analysis of hotel clienteles: consisting of several strata, they are proving more difficult to comprehend as far as hotel marketing is concerned. In the past, coexistence of several generations within a hotel were not unusual. However in the 21st century, each one of these is looking for a service tailored to its needs and behaviors, along with a remarkable power in terms of rating and recommendation through reviews and other customer satisfaction tools.

The analysis of this phenomenon brings significant information with regard to marketing, including the combination of two seemingly contradictory dynamics: on the one hand, the market segmentation proves to be more complex depending on the geographical source of the customer, main purpose of visit, and age bracket. On the other hand, the globalization of expectations enabled hoteliers to redefine those shared by the majority of customers, in the first place the desire to live a memorable experience, most likely to leave a mark. The complexity of the issue resides in the differentiated definition of this “experience” from one type of clientele to another. The second common characteristic is the quest for personalization, as individual recognition gives credibility to the value of hotel hospitality. Amateurism and approximation are less and less tolerated, leading to further rigor and precision in terms of quality - as offered to and perceived by the clientele. Moreover, sustainable development falls in line with a deeper tendency and the search for “smart” consumption – less wasteful, more meaningful. Common values are now shared across generations.

For hotel brands, marketing capabilities keep improving through digital tools, facilitating the exploitation of useful data. Groups increasingly call on customer satisfaction solutions, translating into potential for recommendation or Net Promoter Score (NPS). This tool aims to measure customers’ propensity to recommend a brand or product. It enables hoteliers to measure, on a variable scale, the number and percentage of customers ready to act as promoters for a brand or product. The higher the number, the stronger the chance of a stay to translate into future recommendations. Research suggests that high NPS scores result in more loyal customers, leading to higher revenues.

In the hotel industry, the analysis of NPS scores indicates that couples in vacation tend to prove the more “enthusiastic” in terms of recommendation, as long as the experience lives up to expectations. In descending order, families, groups of friends, and individual business travelers generate more moderate NPS scores.

The brand’s contribution and added value in terms of franchise development are among hotel groups’ natural preoccupations. Once again, analysis of information across ten major cities, consisting of both branded and unbranded hotels, indicate a distinct advantage for branded properties. This difference is less significant in midscale and upscale categories, however it is manifest in the economy segment, where standardization of concepts brought further homogeneity.

For the record, the same study was conducted with regard to different channels of data collection. Much as NPS curves appear consist with specialized tools (such as OlaKala), variations can be significant based on reviews stemming from distributors and Online travel agencies (Booking, Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc.)

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  • Must the new supply necessarily include new concepts or just refreshed concepts?
  • Is there a new segmentation for commercial accommodations’ clients? How to reach them through personalized one2one marketing?
  • Jean-Samuel Beuscart, Orange Labs, explains the sharing economy
  • Wrap-up Session: For a new controlled Hospitality Industry
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