Hotels need to up their game to keep up with Generation Novel.

What defines world-class guest service? Is it personalized offers or a value-based loyalty program? Is it a timely response sent back to a dissatisfied customer review? Is it a flexible stay option or policy? Is it an interesting social media platform? Hospitality can be all that… and with the pressing demands of the pandemic, it has become so much more.

The problem with any way we define guest service is that we often think of it as a department or a response rather than an ever-evolving set of values that should be at the heart of the business. We see guest service, like other areas of the company, as a simple 9-5 initiative supported by an employee or team according to different guest-centric practices and values. 

However, we understand that great guest service today isn’t really about serving guests—it’s about taking care of guests. This is not a policy or procedure; instead, it’s an ongoing hands-on practice and culture that comes to life with every guest touchpoint, online and offline. In this way, guest service is not just a department or a controllable cost, but the whole company. Nothing less will satisfy the guest demands that define the landscape in which we operate now and in the future.

Today we are at a turning point. The future of guest engagement is based primarily on word-of-mouth marketing and brand image shared through digital media. The world has gone online, and as brands strive to meet guests where they are, public scrutiny of online services is reaching a fever pitch. No more than 9-5; it’s just the guest, their 24/7 needs and the hotel’s 247/ commitment to meet and exceed those needs 365 days a year.


The following insights from the Global World Index (GWI) and several other visiting research leaders explore the new era of hospitality and what it means for businesses across industries.

Emergence of a New Generation

We are now entering a new economy and witnessing the rise of a new generation of customers and employees, Generation Roman, or Gen-N, inspired by the new coronavirus. Coined by digital anthropologist Brian Solis, “Generation N” describes an intergenerational subset of people who have begun to thrive on digital first experiences, valuing personalization, customization, and transparency. Above all, they understand, use, and demand technology more than most—whether at home or at work.
However, the digital revolution began long before the COVID-19 pandemic, but digital media has become the way we communicate with loved ones, the way we work, and the way we interact with brands.



 While screen time has risen during the pandemic, it’s important to read the space. The need for digital communication and engagement is an opportunity for brands, but  should be approached more carefully. The pandemic has left guests around the world in a notoriously vulnerable position, and of course, we’re witnessing a continued shift toward wellness-focused, compassionate communication and engagement. Over the past year, Gen Z guests were willing to buy from brands and services that helped people during the pandemic, while only 20% of respondents strongly praised brands running “normal” advertising campaigns during this time. 

For all generations, using social networks is more about purpose than networking and sharing personal information. Guests log in for a specific purpose (such as entertainment, brand discovery, or shopping). However, in the traditional sense, they do not want to be sold. Rather, they want to engage with brands more authentically and holistically on their beloved social platforms before making a purchase decision.

Guests crave uplifting, inspiring, and entertaining content combined with quality guest care that demonstrates the brand’s values and understanding of our social climate. People are making more online purchases driven by social media, and the enthusiasm for it shows no signs of abating, even as more countries enter the recovery phase of the pandemic. 

In fact, 46% plan to shop online post-pandemic, and time spent on social media continues to grow. Of course, there is a fundamental difference between real estate and online live streaming. The internet never sleeps, and customer service expectations are now stretching to more and more unusual hours. While guests can connect to the brand’s online platforms, they expect a quick and attentive response to guest service requests.
The age of “always on” guest service is here to stay, and guest response times on social media are getting shorter. Responding to a guest request within 48 hours is simply not enough in today’s world. Social media guest services statistics show that 68% of the time a guest leaves because they think the company doesn’t care (KPMG). Today, not responding quickly to a current or potential guest on social media sends a very clear message: you don’t care, but your competition does.

Guest service has historically been a pain point for brands in various industries. While excellent guest service has helped boost the global success of many brands, guest service shortcomings have tarnished the reputations of countless other brands. Terrible guest service is all too common in all businesses, large and small. Too many companies that have moved online have failed to properly scale their guest service.

The pressure on every guest touch point is increasing and has reached a fever pitch with the growth of online bookings and social media. Research shows that poor guest service is the top concern when deciding whether to buy from a brand, followed by poor media coverage and reputation.

To date, nearly 40% of people say that receiving excellent guest service is the most motivating factor for promoting their favorite brand online. Online reviews are spread in open forums and are easily available to all potential guests considering the brand’s offerings. The ubiquity of social media has given every stranger a megaphone to share theirs.



In this regard, customer loyalty speaks volumes. A positive online reputation and a flood of peer referrals are far more effective than any other marketing initiative. 

Guests either trust you or they don’t, and if they don’t, they probably won’t do business with you.
Fortunately, building a loyal guest ecosystem starts with taking care of guests; in many ways, the feedback loop leads to positive social weight and long-term success. 

This part of your business goes beyond social media management and puts your brand directly in front of your guests. It’s a call that never goes unanswered, a message that never goes unanswered, and a prayer that never goes unanswered—and it inspires legions of loyal guests who are happy to promote your brand online to a global audience. The more consistent you are with your guests, the more enthusiastic they will be about your brand.

Social Trends
Social media hospitality benchmarks show that attracting a new guest is almost seven times more expensive. In response to these trends, research shows that most businesses expect the use of social media to increase across all business areas, particularly in relation to brand awareness, guest engagement, and guest service. Consider the following results:

  • 64% of people would rather text than call a company.(Facebook) 
  • Increased Interaction with Digital Guest Services 40% in 2023. (Forrester)
  • Companies that rank highly on social media respond to service requests within an hour. (Gartner) 
  • 40% of consumers said they expect brands to respond within the first hour of contacting them via social media, while 79% expect a response within the first 24hours. (SproutSocial) 
  • 63% of consumers expect brands to use social media as a primary communication channel to reach guests (SproutSocial).
  • Half of consumers say they will switch to a competitor after just one bad experience. More than one bad experience will snow 80%. (Zendesk) 
  • 80% of consumers expect brands and businesses on social media to meaningfully engage with their guests. (Hubspot) 
  • Responding to a complaint on social media can increase customer engagement by 25%. (Convert and Persuade)

What makes more sense than caring about your guests on all the platforms they discover, interact with, and buy from your brand?
The writing is on the wall: Because brand awareness and reputation are consistently correlated with a hotel’s online presence, negative word of mouth and a lack of customer loyalty can completely derail a brand’s trajectory. If your business is social media-based, you should also consider your guests’ questions, needs, and comments. Social media is a direct means of communication for today’s guest and should not—and cannot—be ignored from a guest management perspective.

Guest service with care

What is the right channel for guest care? This question should be a top priority for all hotels today as we collectively transition from a reactive to a proactive service model. Guest care, as we understand it today, encompasses all guest touch points. There is no single environment where it should be, as it should inform every interaction with a current or future guest. Of course, environments that attract guests are increasingly important, making social media platforms a critical channel for guest care and 24/7 response. 

In the following years, hospitality will manifest itself as the basis of everything that exists; internet landscapes are moving away from the organic dimension, and digital marketing efforts are divided between paid social strategies and increasingly robust hospitality initiatives. Unlike paid advertising and visibility, the platforms you do business with cannot own or monetize customer feedback and loyalty, but your brand can and must be earned. When we look at the future of social selling in this way, we realize that social hospitality is not an administrative expense like IT was in the 1990s. Instead, it is the main engine of growth.

The first step in understanding this shift to a guest-centric business model is to redefine social media from a liability to an opportunity. Look beyond the content calendar and release schedule and realize that you’re not just publishing content. You start the conversation and often make the first impression.

In this way, social media gives brands more reach and engagement opportunities than ever before and on a human level. Guests are comfortable interacting on social media platforms because social media is their domain, and this comfort speaks to engagement and trust.
When we look at hospitality project management, you might ask, is it a one-person job? 

No. It really isn’t. The key to exceptional, scalable digital media hospitality is to bring the human elements of traditional service online. Chatbots and auto-replies are not enough to replace hands-on service. 

The success of this formula lies not in the act itself (providing a generic response), but in how companies commit to harnessing the power of human service (the hospitality team) instead of relying solely on hospitality software. Today’s guests crave convenience and personalization but still prefer service delivery primarily through people.
However, some companies considering their current social hospitality strategy may insist that they offer the same coverage and service as their competitors. But we ask: why do you want to be the same as your competitor? When a brand offers great guest service, it can expect a great ROI. Isn’t that the ultimate goal? Doesn’t great hospitality sell itself?

Overcoming the Privacy Paradox

The constant need to improve comfort and personalization through technological innovation has given rise to something of a privacy paradox. The expectations of guests have increased, and in most cases, they can only be met with modern new technologies. However, data innovation should not come at the expense of privacy, as customers are increasingly concerned about how brands collect and use their data.
With that in mind, the future of strangers become more privacy conscious

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