12 Top Guest Expectations in a Hotel: And How to Meet Them


2021-12-27 06:06:01




All guests have a certain level of expectation when they reach a hotel. It’s human nature to build up the event in one’s mind. So what can you do to meet guest expectations in a hotel?

We’ve compiled the top 12 guest expectations that should you meet them, you can anticipate your guests will enjoy a great stay in your venue.

Here’s the list, then we’ll get into some of the detail…

Top 12 guest expectations in a hotel

  • 1. Mobile check-ins and digital keys
  • 2. Cleanliness matters
  • 3. Reliable safety policies
  • 4. Easy and efficient communication
  • 5. Value for money
  • 6. Mobile information and ordering
  • 7. A suitable menu
  • 8. High-quality but authentic service
  • 9. Sustainable themes
  • 10. Personalized experiences
  • 11. Adequate, ambient lighting
  • 12. Pleasant aroma

Some sound simple, and others less so, but we can help. Let’s walk you through how to meet these expectations.

Mobile check-ins and digital keys


Mobile check-ins are now are now expected by hotel guests. When guests physically check-in ensure you mention that you got their details from their mobile checkin for their peace of mind

Technology has simplified many aspects of life, and gradually, when it comes to hospitality services, its influence is moving toward greater digital expectations.

These days even boarding passes, tickets and reservations can be loaded into your smartphone, so it’s fair for guests to expect mobile check-ins, check-outs, and digital keys for room access.

This extends right through to being able to request hotel services from just about anywhere within the hotel.

Convenience improves guest expectations and increases revenue

Guests now almost expect digital enhancements to be in place – if only for convenience purposes.

Guests like to take things at their own pace, without having to wait or rely on the more traditional process of check-in …and getting keys to access rooms. 

Usually, mobile check-ins and digital keys go hand in hand. So guests can simply check-in online, receive the room number through a confirmation email, or a text.

That way when guests arrive they don’t have to wait at the reception to get the keys for them. Digital keys allow guests to access their rooms using smartphones, and there’s far less risk of losing keys or the need to manage lots of sets of keys …and keep them safe.

That shouldn’t mean you exclude providing personalized service to every guest in the hotel, see our later point below on ways to cover this.

Cleanliness matters


The most important expectation has and always will be cleanliness.

Lack of cleanliness is among the top complaints about hotel stays. Good cleanliness often goes unnoticed, but poor hotel hygiene will always be something guests remember about their hotel stay.

Rigorous hygiene and cleaning services should always be a priority for every hotel. It helps to minimize complaints and limits the main dissatisfaction among guests. 

Expert, Tim Lockyer stated in the prominent science website that:-

“There have been a number of research projects which have investigated this question, with many finding that cleanliness is the most important of factors affecting selection of accommodation”


Reliable safety policies


Guest perceptions of the COVID threat varies greatly however it’s better to err on the side of the most risk averse guest. If guests perceive that safety measures are lax, there is a good chance they will let you know in their rating.

For guests, hotels almost need to function as a home away from home. This can bring a fairly sizeable expectation for even the most diligent and reliable of safety measures. The same applies to easy accessibility, for the elderly, infirm, or disabled. 

Aside from the usual standard safety measures, guests now expect more personalized safety, like measures focussed around certain guests, such as women, children, and the elderly.

Guests also expect safety measures to be efficient and convenient in times of urgency, so they are favoring advanced technology-based safety measures.

Easy and efficient communication


Whether a custom hotel app or Whatsapp, hotel chat is a must

It’s no surprise that a hotel’s communication needs to be streamlined before, during, and after a guest’s stay for them to be 100% satisfied with their stay and with the service. After all, a great service, where the guest’s needs are not only anticipated but catered for, is key to keeping them coming back.

So easy access to communication methods is one of the first and minimum expectations guests expect from a hotel. 

Be it from responding timely to a request, to getting hold of the right person to help solve a problem.

But it’s not enough just to get through to the right person. Being able to respond to a guest’s needs efficiently and satisfactorily is vital. So be sure to arm your staff – as well as your guests – with easy and quick methods to communicate throughout the hotel to handle matters and incidents efficiently.

Value for money


Perceived value for money may be more important than value for money

Hospitality has seen a rise in the number of accommodation options available, certainly with the advent of Airbnb as a low-priced, widespread service offering.

Hotels have needed to up their game in terms of attracting guests to what might seem the old methods of booking accommodation.

One way to do this is to exceed guest expectations in a hotel in terms of added value for money. this can be done using existing marketing methods.

One report indicated that:

“To a millennial, a trendy, $500-per-night hotel that’s been discounted to $250 is a better value than a $225 room at full price.”

Boston Consulting Group

Consider free-of-charge options that represent a low outlay for the hotel but large returns on customer satisfaction. Free laundry services or a free bottle of wine might be among those considerations.

Mobile information and ordering


Hotels are increasingly providing menus as well as compendium directory information accessible via a QR scan. Screenshot taken from Get.hotefy.com

Now, we largely rely on our smartphones for everything, mobile information plays a key role in our daily lives. This is no different when it comes to the top guest expectations in a hotel.

If a hotel provides their guest the option of finding an information point or member of staff, as opposed to simply using an app. Then clearly they are likely to prefer the app for convenience.

This is exactly why guests expect a mobile-friendly concierge option to find all the information they need about a hotel – what guests would not prefer the idea of a contactless ordering system to order their favorite drink while sitting beside the pool or in the lounge.

On that point, it’s been proven that providing guests with a web browser app to order food and beverage from a variety of areas in your hotel, can increase food and beverage sales by some 30%.

Be it inquiring about the check-out time, or requesting a drink …hotels are expected to provide an easy platform for guests to get all their questions answered easily.

Hotels can cover a lot of these areas, and increase revenue, by simply employing an app can facilitate this through a customizable browser app.

A suitable menu


Good food, from a modern menu, well presented, and delivered efficiently makes a 5-star stay

Food is a key part of a hotel experience. And one of the top guest expectations in a hotel is good food.

No matter how good a hotel’s customer service, ambiance, and amenities are, good food that suits guest preferences and activities, is a basic …and yet powerful offering that can make a guest’s experience unforgettable.

Apart from tasty food, food hygiene, mindful, healthy and vegan food options are becoming an increasingly popular common guest expectation in a hotel.

People have different preferences when it comes to food – depending on their lifestyle and diet patterns. It’s becoming a common expectation that hotels have food that both addresses dietary needs and meets the expectations of guests in their use of the hotel.

  • A hotel whose guests are mainly business clients could look at simple and quick menu options for those on the go. Perhaps a 5-minute lunch menu, or even lunch-to-go options.
  • Spa-centered hotels could consider more by way of light healthy snacks and wider health drink options.

Menus should not be a set-it-and-forget-it aspect of your restaurants. Menu analysis is important. Menu labeling is also important…

“If descriptive menu-item labels are used sparingly and appropriately, they may be able to improve sales and post-consumption attitudes of both the food and the restaurant”.


A high-quality but authentic service


Quality authentic service is hard to achieve but is what makes customers return

A standard entry on any list of guest expectations.

High-quality customer service is believed to be the minimum guests expect, and always will be.

Polite, approachable, helpful, and pleasant staff are a given standard for quality customer service and easily achievable through some basic training.

These days though, guests’ expectations in a hotel are through a higher level of clean and basic amenities, a level that goes way beyond just a comfortable bed, clean rooms, corridors, a reliable WIFI connection, and other complimentary toiletries. 

Guests expect millennial-friendly service that offers them a highly personal and warming experience. Provide that to each guest and they will be itching to return.

Yes, employing up-to-date technology has enhanced guest experiences over the years. But many still expect a degree of the human touch when it comes to service and taking care of their needs.

How can a hotel owner achieve this? Here are 10 simple examples that you can easily add to your staff training.

Level up your service quality

Often, it’s the little things that can make a difference to the quality of service. Here are some simple things that staff can do that make a difference.

  • 1. Meet with or engage guests before they arrive, and upon arrival
  • 2. When a guest is unhappy with the food, have a concierge, manager or even a chef briefly visit their table after the meal to ensure they were happy with the improvements.
  • 3. An authentic smile can make an enormous difference
  • 4. Always be ready to provide and impart local news to your guests where it might affect their stay
  • 5. If a guest drops an item in passing, pick it up for them – and ask if they need further help carrying their belongings
  • 6. Use local produce, advertise this fact proudly to your guests, they will see just how much thought you’ve put into providing a great experience
  • 7. Rejoice in guests that are celebrating a special occasion. Heard about a birthday? Offer a free cake or a drink.
  • 8. Should you pass a guest in the hallway who looks confused or lost, engage them, it’s an opportunity to exceed their expectations.
  • 9. See a guest struggling with some luggage, or a stroller? Offer immediate assistance.
  • 10. Be interested in your guests, without being nosey. Engage them if they seem to talk about the hotel, the service, the area, or their experiences.

Sustainable themes


Guests are increasingly writing reviews about excessive use of plastic. Consider options to appear more sustainable.

As we know in the 21st century, people are becoming more and more environmentally conscious. And this is also true of guest expectations in a hotel.

As people are making significant life changes around the world to counter the effects of climate change, many guests are willing to pay more for eco-friendly hotels over and above those that don’t.

Eco-friendly features are becoming a big expectation and an important consideration in hotels among guests.

Be it hotel designs and amenities reflecting eco-friendly concepts to paperless hotel policies or the use of solar energy, guests are expecting more environmentally appealing features which allow them to experience an environmentally responsible vacation or stay. 

Personalized experiences


Courteously using a guest’s name or surname in an interaction is way to build rapport

Nowadays guests expect to be made to feel special and not treated like just another guest. And this extends beyond the standard wake-up call.

A personalized experience is a key expectation among guests and is becoming a go-to- way to keep giving them a satisfactory hotel experience during their stay.

One best way hotels are now delivering this personalized experience is through a welcome note with the name of the guests.

Sending push notifications about breakfast hours, information about after-dinner events, or special discounts are a great way to personalize the hotel experience of guests.

Face to face communication is still important


Human interaction is still a very important element of a guest stay

Adding digital services to your hotel is becoming essential. But do not consider it a move to “staff free service” service. Guests do and will probably always appreciate the personal touch when it comes to meeting expectations.

One study found that 77% of guests still considered face-to-face communication with a manager or staff member to be an important factor.

data source

When it comes to the three main areas; propensity to complain, information inadequacy, and guest frustration, guests preferred “rich communication channels” to express their dissatisfaction.

Adequate, ambient lighting 


Avoid fluorescent lighting. Make guests feel comfortable with warm lighting.

Poor lighting is becoming a growing cause of disappointment among guests in hotels. Nothing screams lackluster for guests more than poor, bland, clinical, or boring lighting.

Although for many guests, this dissatisfaction may not be overtly arrived at, it can be a subconscious reaction.

One study on lighting sought to demonstrate that: “light may acutely influence emotion”. Often without conscious thought. The way we light a room matters.

Many hotels don’t provide adequate or appropriate lighting options to adjust to the requirements of their guests.

Be it bathroom lighting, bedside lamps, or dining hall ambiance. Guests expect improved lighting that can provide the right mood and ambiance, and that is adjustable to their preferences. Gone are the days of long ceiling-lined and regimental strip lights.

Improve your lighting

It really doesn’t cost a fortune to think about your lighting options in the areas of your hotel. If you cannot tackle rooms, at least ensure public areas have appropriate lighting and enough of it.

Standard lamps in a lounge area, mood lighting in the dining hall, give the options some considered thought.

Consider employing the services of a designer to help get your hotel lighting just right. In the long run, using LED lighting can actually save money on your lighting costs – which will eventually pay for the design and installation services.

Pleasant aroma


Mild pleasant aromas throughout your hotel can instil a feeling of calm to even the most agitated guest

Although least emphasized, when it comes to guest expectations in a hotel, in truth the aroma of a hotel is a major factor among guests that delivers them a pleasant hotel experience.

Studies have shown that fragrance, and aroma influences psychological behavior, influences mood, and enhances well-being.

Retail stores have for a long time employed aroma as a means to influence behavior in their stores. Aromatherapy has been used to influence people for thousands of years and is an industry in its own right.

The right aromas in your hotel can also positively impact your guest’s mood and behavior. 

When entering hotel premises or a guest room, smell has a direct impact on a guest’s first impression of the hotel.

Some guests are too sensitive to newly created hotel smells that come from carpets and bathrooms which can influence the guest perception of the quality and cleanliness of the hotel.

Some guests believe that the aroma of a hotel and the experience it gives to be a key factor that keeps them coming back.

How to meet guest expectations in a hotel

We hope this has provided you with at least a starting point, or some insightful ideas on how to what guests want in a hotel.

Improve your sales almost instantly with our hotefy app. See our demonstration hotel in action to get a better understanding of how this works.

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