Optimizing the Guest Journey for Choice Hotels
Case Study | Reality Test + Learn™
Challenge: Choice Hotels, which operates more than 6,800 hotels around the world (including such well-known properties as Cambria, Comfort Inn, and EconoLodge), was looking to better understand the check-in/check-out experience, realizing that first impressions count and can make or break a guest’s stay.
Approach: We installed audio-visual systems in four Quality Inn and Comfort Inn locations and two Cambria Hotel locations, which, for two weeks, recorded front-desk activity 24/7. A representative sample of check-ins were reviewed and coded for more than 20 metrics or attributes, and the information was used to inform operations and experience analysis. We also conducted about 100 qualitative 10-minute interviews about people’s stays, their loyalty program experiences, and everything there is to know about the check-in experience from the guest’s point of view, including what makes for a perfect check-in and what people’s expectations are. The role of the front desk associate was also a major part of the study.
Results: Choice Hotels now has answers to important questions and an understanding of the successes and pain points from the perspectives of both operations and visitors, providing a holistic look at the whole eco-system. In addition to detailed accounts of the guest’s journey (from how they booked their stay, to what amenities they expected, to how they felt when they arrived), we provided Choice Hotels a roadmap for designing an improved check-in experience, including effective ways to incorporate technology. One key insight from our study: From the guest’s perspective, the check-in experience doesn’t start or end at the front desk. The journey is much more complex—and, now, Choice Hotels is prepared to optimize it, from start to finish.