Hospitality Industry
2 min read

From Service Economy to Emotion Economy

EHL Insights
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A pure service orientation of the hospitality employees lies in the past, new emotional competences are in demand in order to fulfill the new expectations of the guest. A so called shift in focus to individual demands and the personal feel-good factor. These new requirements surely shake up the industry.

Delivering only service lies in the past

Do you remember the time, when guests where happy with only having a nice and clean room, as well as maybe a good meal? Talking about jobs in hospitality, we classically operate in the service industry.

The service industry is by definition an industry that provides a service for people but does not result in the production of goods. More than 70 percent of jobs in the area are in service industries, ranging from hotels to banking. But the sector is changing!

The hospitality industry is developing into an Emotion Economy

In the hospitality sector guest experience has always been one of the most important factors, but consumers now want more. The focus is shifting further and further away from purely transactional services - the fulfillment of the general physical and psychological needs of guests such as food, safety and entertainment. Emotions and unique experiences are increasingly sought-after by travelers, hotel and restaurant guests.

By appealing to emotions and creating experiences, society is inevitably moving towards the creation of an individualized, emotional feel-good factor. Welcome to the Emotion Economy!

Recent changes in social values and lifestyles have turned emotions into the core drivers of individual well-being. Over the last two decades, emotions research has been included in many scientific disciplines but hospitality has not yet embraced this affective revolution yet.

   Did you know? 80% of employers say soft skills are increasingly important to  company success.  Read more

What does the emotionalized guest mean for the hospitality industry?

Hotels and restaurants need to provide an outstanding experience that exceeds guest expectations. For this level of experience to happen, hospitality businesses will need to embrace innovative new programs and technology that help to create memorable experiences for guests.

But the development of the hospitality industry didn't stop at this point. In recent years, research has shown, it is not just the experience as such but the created underlying emotions that are the real determinants of guests’ experiences, behavior and future actions.

In an increasingly digital pre- and post-stay environment, guests want to be appreciated holistically with their emotions, moods, and desires during their stay. They would like to be emotionally stimulated throughout their travel journey. They expect a new quality of emotional triggers that consciously appeal to them on a meta-level and allow them to identify on a positive affective level with a brand or product.

In that sense, the new emotion economy in hospitality shifts the USP focus from the general physical and psychological wellbeing of guests (food, safety, entertainment) to individualized emotional wellbeing.

Learn more: The future is Affective Hospitality : Discover all the hospitality skills that will be needed in the future.

Working in a hotel you should deliver an affective hospitality to your guest

To be able to deliver individualized emotional experiences and enhance the wellbeing of the guest, new personal skills - often also called soft skills - are essential. It is crucial to train the hospitality staff in a holistic way and to promote awareness for the guest, his individual triggers and the underlying culture code. The approach of a new affective hospitality meets these requirements. Affective means relating to, arising from, or influencing feelings or emotions.

People have strong affective experiences in any hotel or restaurant - whether they are travelling for business or for leisure. And all these experiences remain linked to the hotel or restaurant itself. Emotional experiences in a hotel or restaurant in fact contribute to loyalty, satisfaction, future purchase intentions, a “forgiving” attitude and recommendation.

By enhancing positive emotions and their previously mentioned psychological ingredients, hospitality management has the ability to influence consumption patterns, retention rates and general guest experience levels in a positive way. Managing affective hospitality means in the context of hospitality to totally focus on guests’ individual emotions. They are instrumental in decoding human decisions, as they are strong motivational forces that shape decision-making processes.

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