Check-in desk and concierges say brochures are best for guiding visitors
Bentley University, Center for Marketing Technology, in collaboration with the IAPBD (now Visitor International), surveyed 1,560 hospitality professionals to understand the usage and effectiveness of visitor information. The survey was undertaken during October 2015 and January 2016 at locations in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and Greece.
Important Respondent Characteristics
The value of this data comes from the survey answers provided by the front office staff within the hospitality industry. These are the opinions of the professionals at the check-in and concierge desk who have a great understanding of guest needs and the greatest potential to impact guest satisfaction levels.
The Importance of Providing Hospitality Visitor Information Resource
The survey shows hospitality professionals overwhelmingly favor the use of printed media to assist guests in their properties. 94% of Hospitality Professionals said Providing Visitor Information to Guests was "Extremely Important" or "Very Important". A further 4% thought it to be moderately important.
Printed Visitor Information is Most Valued
98% of Hospitality Professionals said 'yes', they see value in having printed visitor information.
Printed Brochures and Maps Most Popular
Printed brochures and maps are almost equally the most popular choice for guests and concierge staff. Maps are easy to use, easy to share and easy to trace a route along (26%). Brochures of attractions and events are the slight favorite (27%), and place-based guides are third (22%).
Rather unsurprisingly, other visitor information services currently used at surveyed properties are led by personal interaction and knowledge of front desk staff. If this data is combined with the data that shows the favorability of printed media, it is a reasonable assumption to speculate how face-to-face interaction, combined with an easily viewable printed map or brochure, is an excellent method to service guest requests for city and sights information.
Information Brochures have High Frequency of Use
86% of Hospitality Professionals said Guests 'Always' or 'Often' utilize visitor information brochures. Brochures are frequently used among hotel guests. 40% Always, 46% Often, 13% Occasionally. Less than 1% of visitors completely disregard printed materials in their hotel. Also, only 1% of responders prefer web-based information provided by hotels and other properties, rather than printed materials.
In the age of mobile phones guests still look to the front desk for printed maps and attractions (55%) rather than kiosks (11%). The use of the Internet and kiosks at properties is much lower than hypothesized which suggests guests look to their own mobile Internet devices to conduct their own place-based research. However, this data suggests the importance of well-placed printed materials in displays to catch the attention of the guest and assist the front desk staff in their advice to guests on where to go and what to do while visiting.
Conclusion - Visitor Information Brochures
The data shows that hotel front desk staff in United States, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, and Greece overwhelmingly favor brochure displays in their properties today.
Hotel front desk staff much prefer to assist their guests with printed media. In particular, brochures and maps are almost equally popular to share with guests. Even hotels without displays often use printed media to help guests. Electronic kiosks are infrequently used and often supplemented by printed material within the hotel. Web-based information sources are seldom preferred by hotel front staff to assist their guests.
In the digital age, printed media is the most preferred and maps guides and brochures are a highly valuable support tool to supplement the local knowledge of the front desk and concierge team. The use of printed maps for direction finding is interesting in the age of mobile apps and suggests that there is a shared connection with the concierge and the guest using a printed map together to highlight locations.
This survey data highlights the importance of printed guides and maps to visitors. It suggests that all hotels should offer printed information brochures and maps and that any hotel considering the removal of printed material from their property should reflect on their guest's clear preferences and the ability of printed brochures and maps to guide guests to wonderful experiences - enhancing their stay.