The future of hospitality
Redesigning hospitality concepts from the perspective of guests’ wants and needs has led to substantial business innovations in recent years. As today’s consumers are more experienced, better informed and more demanding than ever, it is crucial to understand what exactly it is they are looking for, rather than relying on intuition or imitation of what the competitors do. How can you personalise your service, in what type of amenities do you invest and which additional features or services add value to your guests? Experience Design requires solid market intelligence, experimental testing of new ideas and creative thinking to design innovations that can successful take your organisation into the future.
We live in a hyper personalised world. Regardless of the product, it can be customised to personal needs and preferences. Research shows that customised products lead to higher consumer value perceptions and greater willingness to pay. Such customisation practices are now entering the service industry. Our research shows that in a hospitality setting, the same applies regardless of the customisation method. As such, our findings suggest a clever experience design providing consumers the possibility to co-create their experience (by choosing amongst different options) can lead to an incremental revenue increase.
Guest Satisfaction and Guest Delight
Research suggests that Customer Satisfaction is not sufficient to retain clients. Only the delighted customer will become loyal to your business and attract new customers through a positive word-of-mouth. Our Research Centre studies how ‘Delight’ differs from ‘Satisfaction’, what causes ‘Delight’ and how Experience Design can lead to delighted customers.
In a turbulent world changes coming from outside may determine the fate of your business. The Online Travel Agents are a relatively recent phenomenon, but they have profoundly changed the hospitality industry. Social unrest and insecurity may see the collapse of tourism in one destination, and at the same time cause an unexpected boom in visitor numbers somewhere else. Our researchers cannot predict the future, but they can help businesses and organisations in the development of strategies to cope with future uncertainties.
Anticipating Uncertainties and Opportunities
Scenario studies typically consider different alternative developments in the future, with the goal of developing resilient and future-proof strategies. What will automation mean for your industry? Where will we see workforce shortages in the future, and how will these affect the hospitality and tourism industries?What will be the impact of ageing populations? And how disruptive will business innovations as networked hospitality platforms —Airbnb and similar initiatives—become?
Environmental, social and cultural sustainability are key elements in future-proof business models. What steps should you take to reduce energy consumption and CO2 footprint? How can tourism development benefit local communities? How can city destinations absorb increasing visitor numbers?
In today’s continuously evolving business environment, we need research to thoroughly understand the effects of strategic decisions and the impact of external and internal drivers and constraints. Our research provides professional knowledge and insights that support both entities and professionals to make better informed management decisions to lead their organisations to a successful future.
- What are customers really looking for on a functional, emotional and social level?
- How will trends in other industries, in society or in technology affect your business?
- What are the best strategic options to address these issues?
- Which business model changes and/or innovation might be needed to create a sustainable competitive advantage?
Strategic Pricing and Revenue Management
It is our mission to make pricing and revenue management in the hospitality industry more customer-oriented, more creative and more value-driven. We seek to learn how consumers of hospitality services perceive and process price information, and how they utilise price cues to form price judgments and make choices between alternative service offerings. In addition, we aim to learn more about market demand, with a specific focus on estimating room price elasticity, forecasting room demand, and improving forecasting accuracy. Our research directly contributes to the bottom-line and is relevant to industry, education and academia.
While adapting prices to demand is common practice in air travel and hotels, other industries have just recently started to introduce Dynamic Pricing. Some theme parks now use off-peak prices, to reduce congestion and raise attendance at slower times. Our Research Centre can support you in developing your pricing strategy.
We specialise in price setting, pricing strategies, demand forecasting and hospitality revenue management training. We have advanced knowledge of consumer psychology, operations research, economics and pricing management, and the statistical techniques (e.g. discrete choice modelling, conjoint analysis) to determine user preferences and willingness-to-pay.
The tools developed by the Hospitality Research Centre have brought Revenue Management within reach of smaller and independent hotels. Our researchers have looked into questions such as:
- Improving Pricing Strategies: How to bundle and discount room night offerings?
- Setting Rates: How much is your hotel guest willing to pay for a room night?
- Room Forecasting: How can SME hotels forecast the demand for rooms using relatively simple tools and readily available data?
- Improving Forecasting Accuracy: How can humans and machines best work together?
- Channel Management: What is the added value of a high OTA ranking?