New research from Loughborough University reveals that understanding emotions can help hotels improve guest experiences.
The university’s research has been expanded into examining how hotels can develop their design and service strategies to evoke different emotions. The research identified four conflicting concerns that cause contradicting emotions during hotel stays:
- Luxury vs eco-friendliness. When extra amenities and service in hotels are offered beyond what are considered necessary by the hotel guest, this can evoke mixed emotions of happiness and guilt.
- Exploration vs familiarity. Hotel guests like to take the opportunities of hotel stays to try something different, yet like to feel that familiar comfort of home.
- Enjoyment vs cost. Whilst free gifts can prompt delight they can also often trigger guilt when guests consider the cost.
- Novelty vs practicality. New experiences often evoke pleasant emotions but if the feature or service does not fulfil its practical purpose, the reverse can arise.
According to the Loughborough team, customisation is the key to overcoming these conflicting emotions; giving hotel guests greater control of their hotel stay experiences based on their individual needs and wants. Typically there are three customisation strategies through which hotels can evoke different emotions from their guests.
- Un-bundled or Subtractive strategy – hotels offer a no – frills product by removing amenities and non-essential services. Guests may request subtracted features or service depending on their needs, but at an additional cost. The guest feels happy for saving money, contentment for getting value for money and satisfaction from selecting hotel features to spend on.
- Bundled or additive strategy – hotels offer a full range of amenities and services within the rate but guests can also access special features or enhanced experience. The guest is amazed, excited and delighted.
- Tailor made strategy – hotels personalise amenities and service to fit each individual guests’ particular needs and preferences by hotel staff observing and recording guest needs and preferences. Because service delivery exceeds expectations, stay is more memorable.
Loughborough University’s Dr Lo comments: “The nature of service in hotels is shifting. More hotels are offering guest what they exactly need instead of excessive extras. Understanding the connections between customisation strategies and guest emotions is useful for hoteliers to design for better emotional impacts of hotel stay experiences.”