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Hotel Guests Want... Food
By Jonathan Barsky

Travelers are looking for more innovation from the hotel brands they choose. As hotels across the service spectrum, from economy to luxury, meet basic comfort needs, guests are looking for more. Hotel operators should pay attention. Many of these requests are becoming effective drivers of choice and loyalty.

Using the latest results from the Market Metrix Hospitality Index (MMHI), we analyzed the most frequent product and service requests. This analysis revealed that in the Americas the most frequent new product and service requests related to “Food”. Requests relating to a property’s facilities ranked second, focusing primarily on the fitness center/gym, pool and spa.

In the Americas, nearly one in four new product and service requests had something to do with “Food”. These requests most often related to wanting more dining/meal options. Most of these comments came from Upper Midscale and Upscale guests and were slightly more common from females. Upper midscale and midscale guests also requested more food variety, which likely refers to expanding current menu options. Better food quality was also suggested by many upper midscale guests. Free breakfasts were also a big topic, coming from all price points, although most were from upscale hotels guests.

Guest suggestions for new products and services relating to “Facilities” represented 16% of all comments, with similar proportions in the Americas and Asia. Most came from guests staying at luxury properties, although facility requests were popular across all industry segments. Guest requests were quite creative and practical. Overall, requests relating to a property’s facilities focused primarily on the fitness center/gym, pool and spa. Many luxury guests made spa-related requests while more midscale guests had pool and hot tub issues on their minds.

Importance of New Products and Services
Creating great experiences for your guests is, by far, the best way to keep your best customers and attract others. Experience tops the list of things you can do to influence hotel selection. As the guest experience grows in importance, companies are focusing on new products and services as a way to stand out from the competition. For example, Embassy Suites’ free cooked-to-order breakfast and a nightly Manager’s Reception with complimentary appetizers and beverages, was a huge success and set the standard for the industry. While other brands can add products and services simply to match competitors, hotels that develop new products and services often lead their respective markets.

Dr. Jonathan Barsky is Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer of Market Metrix, as well as a professor of marketing at University of San Francisco’s School of Business and Management.

Dr. Barsky, co-founder of Market Metrix and Executive Committee member, is a professor of marketing at University of San Francisco's School of Business and Management and an internationally known consultant and lecturer in the area of customer satisfaction. In his role as Vice President of Research Dr. Barsky oversees research and development activities at Market Metrix. This includes the development and direction of research aimed at improving current products and generating ideas for new products and services. Dr. Barsky works closely with customers to review and use existing customer insights to aid in innovation.