Comment: What Expo 2020 visitors will expect from their hotels

Research paints UAE hotel customers as among the happiest in the world, but what will Expo 2020 visitors expect from their stays?

Frederick Sabty
Frederick Sabty

Expo 2020 Dubai invariably will be an international event. With that in mind, writing for sister publication Arabian Business, Avaya International VP for hospitality, healthcare & devices, Frederick Sabty weighs in on what each source market expects from its hotel experience.

Dubai’s Expo 2020 is expected to attract over 11 million foreign visitors over the six months that it runs. The boost that this will provide the emirate’s tourism sector cannot be overstated, so it will come as little surprise that local hoteliers are already gearing up for the mega-event.

The good news is that UAE hotel groups are starting from a position of strength. According to the Global CX Happiness Index, the latest research commissioned by Avaya, UAE hotel customers are among the happiest in the world with an index score of 54.4 (out of 100), against the global average of 49.8.

But how will Dubai hotels push that score up during Expo 2020, and satisfy the needs of visitors flooding in from 192 countries?

The Global CX Happiness Index can provide some insight here. It saw us interview 16,200 consumers in 16 countries to gauge happiness across seven industry verticals – including hospitality. We tested the importance of 19 factors contributing to happiness, and mathematically modelled the data to give us insight into the happiest customers in the world, and what drove their happiness.

If you’re interested, the UAE was at the gold standard (top five) of overall CX happiness, alongside Bahrain, India, Kuwait and USA. And the UAE’s happiest customers were from the Utilities segment, with hotel guests following closely behind.

But for the purposes of this piece, we’re interested in the data behind what drives happiness at hotels in other countries – after all, its guests from other countries that’ll need to be impressed during Expo 2020. Here’s what hoteliers need to know:   

USA
We can probably assume that a large contingent of USA citizens will attend Expo 2020 Dubai, so hoteliers looking to host them should be mindful of what drives their happiness. According to the Global CX Happiness Index, US hotel guests rate the quality of products and services highest, followed by data security and having knowledgeable, well-informed staff. Providing a consistent level of service every time and having happy staff who enjoy their jobs round off the top five drivers of happiness.

India
By the same token Indian guests are much more likely to cite a lack of a service as a driver of unhappiness. What’s more, they place a similar importance on a lot of different factors. Being able to connect to the right person within the organization is the number-one driver of happiness, but not far behind are quality of service, being able to consume services quickly, and the eco-credentials of the hotels they stay in. Data security is also an important factor, but it comes behind trustworthiness around honouring offers, working hard for customer loyalty, and providing a range of communication options.

UK
In the UK, data security is joint most important factor driving guest happiness, along with quality of service. UK guests are also more price-sensitive than those from other countries, and they aren’t all that bothered by using biometrics to identify themselves.

Australia
Meanwhile, guests in Australia rank being able to more easily identify themselves via biometrics as their top driver of happiness. Working hard for customer loyalty and making it easy to find what you want are also near the top. Uniquely among the global sample, Aussie hotel guests rank being able to speak to a senior manager when required as a top priority – along with data security and consistency of service.

Canada
Over on the other side of the world, data security ranks highest, followed by knowledgeable staff, a consistent level of service, and implementing time-saving measures. Interestingly, though, Canadian guests generally don’t mind the absence of these services when it comes to what drives an unhappy experience. Indeed, interest in biometrics is much lower on average than in other countries, and it’s the same story for eco-credentials and price attractiveness.

France
Over in France, hotel guests tend to be a little more demanding, with only easy recognition via biometrics being a factor that doesn’t contribute hugely to happiness. Otherwise, French visitors will be looking for a high quality of service, knowledgeable staff, and the ability to remove barriers for contact – across any channel.

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