Recent HSMAI Region Europe webinar revealed membership research about new working processes and offered valuable insights on how to navigate the challenges and capitalise on opportunities

In order to overcome the challenges and capitalise on opportunities in the post-pandemic business recovery, the hospitality industry will need to re-think former working processes and be prepared to adapt to meet the changing customer requirements. This was the clear and inspiring message from the recent HSMAI Region Europe webinar entitled ‘The All New Customer Journey’ which took place last week.

Research findings

According to the latest research from HSMAI Europe unveiled at the webinar, more than three-quarters of the membership surveyed believe firmly that customer experience rather than profitability will be a core focus for the rest of 2020 and 2021.

Ingunn Hofseth, President & CEO of HSMAI Region Europe adds “The industry cannot remain fixed to the former way of working. Now is the time to pivot and to truly understand the customer mindset and needs, rather than the industry telling about their customer journey maps. This is a time for being creative about the experiences and, crucially, listening to both loyal and potential new guests. HSMAI members wanted to bring the customers to the heart of this advisory board. Not only do we focus on eliminating silos, but also by empowering everyone involved in the customer journey we enable a memorable experience at every touchpoint. By developing an environment where professionals can fail fast, we foster a culture of learning and sharing that enables personal development at the highest level.”

“While the desire to travel comes back, trust and customer experience are going to be the currencies of tomorrow. A key success factor will be to focus on customer-centricity. To the outside market, customer relationship management becomes more critical. Digital and personal interaction with the customer at all touch-points before, during, and after the journey is vital to drive direct business. To the inside, hoteliers review their org-charts to the benefit of a more agile and guest-centric working culture. The crisis can be a powerful catalyst for digital transformation. Now, after the lockdown, people have a strong desire to experience something outside their home. The hospitality industry needs to answer this new demand,” says Michael Hucho, member of HSMAI Region Europe Customer and Distribution Advisory Board.

Ingunn Hofseth

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Michael Hucho

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Other highlights of the research included:

o 43% of the respondents stated that guests will only stay again at hotels if there are strict corona guidelines. As part of the customer journey, establishing, implementing, communicating and executing protocols to ensure safe and hygienic experiences, should be guaranteed.

o 29% of respondents believe that customers will only book direct with their trusted brands. Expectation management has thus never been more critical. Setting the right expectations before arrival will not only make sure guests will be more likely to accept the measures taken by the property or brand, but also increase their overall satisfaction.

o 36% of HSMAI’s survey respondents stated that a contactless stay empowered by technology will be the new standard (e.g. during check-in, check-out, and for ordering food).