Hoteliers in Saudi Arabia need to embrace digital platforms and apps in order to cater to increasingly digitally-savvy Saudi travellers, according to a new survey from American tech giant Avaya.
According to the Avaya statistics, Saudi travellers use hotel mobile apps more than their counterparts in other parts of the GCC, with more than a third of respondents using mobile apps to book their hotel room.
Many respondents also noted that they value a simple-to-use app more than the use of hotel facilities such as pools, restaurants and gyms in evaluating their stay.
The November survey also found that the vast majority – 89 percent – of Saudi travellers also use apps to perform tasks such as tracking bill changes and exploring destinations outside their hotel, with 34 percent also using apps to book rooms.
While smooth and fast check-in procedures were cited as the more important factor in hotel guest experiences, 18 percent of Saudi respondents said an easy-to-use apps as a top factor in evaluating their stay.
Additionally, Saudis were also found to be more likely to e-mail their hotel to make a reservation, with 25 percent saying they prefer that method, compared with the GCC average of 20 percent.
Of the Saudi respondents, 35 percent said they would share bad experiences on social media channels, while almost a third (32 percent) said they would also write a negative review on a site such as TripAdvisor.
“Today’s tourism and hospitality sector is playing an important role in Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification plans, and technology is helping hoteliers in the kingdom to deliver more personal experiences at every customer touchpoint,” said Frederick Sabty, Vice President of Hospitality Solutions at Avaya.
“Delivering that superior customer experience really comes down to how simple it is to access services and information,” he added. . As travellers reveal a clear preference for smarter, connected devices and applications, hotels can establish a strong competitive advantage by embracing the digital trends that their customers value most.”
The report also found that in-room phones are considered crucial by a large majority of Saudi travellers, with 56 percent saying it was important to them, compared to only 4 percent who said they don’t use hotel room phones.
Another 40 percent of Saudi respondents said that they prefer the option of controlling in-room amenities such as entertainment, lighting and temperature using their mobile phones.