Maciej 2023
October 30, 2023

What are the most common (and weird) questions from hotel guests?

Learn from the data extracted from the frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Ask any of your hotel teams dealing with incoming queries, and you’ll quickly realise how hot of a topic it is in the industry. The volume of work keeps on increasing due to peak demand, opening up new communication channels to meet guests’ expectations, and having fewer team members available to manage it all due to staff shortages in hospitality.

In this article, you’ll find answers to some burning questions:

  • Why do prospective guests have so many questions about their stay?
  • What matters the most in guest communications? 
  • What gets in the way?
  • Why is conversational AI so beneficial to hotels?

And finally:

  • What are the most common questions asked by travellers and hotel guests?

We decided to share our data about the most common topics that show up in hotel guest questions from the summer of 2023, to help your teams review and improve information about your hotel and be better prepared for the next peak season. If they ever need support answering all the queries, our solution is here to help.

At HiJiffy, we work towards the mission of developing the most advanced conversational AI for hospitality. Over 2,100 hotels in 60+ countries around the globe use our Guest Communications Hub to automate responding to incoming queries across the entire guest journey, 24/7, in 130+ languages, and across the most popular social media platforms and messaging apps.

Now, let’s dive into exploring the most common guest questions in a hotel:

Top 50 questions — middle what are the most common (and weird) questions from hotel guests?

The neverending stream of questions from hotel guests

The volume of queries from guests and travellers can be overwhelming for your hotel teams such as Reservations of Front Desk. To illustrate this with data, HiJiffy’s AI engaged in 1,707,204 conversations in the summer season of 2023 alone (June-August). 

You may wonder, considering your marketing team puts so much effort into providing information about the hotel on the website and distribution channels: why are there still so many incoming questions? 

Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Information overload (or gaps). Hotel websites can be cluttered with information or visually overwhelming, making it difficult for visitors to find specific details they are interested in. If they cannot identify it quickly and easily, they are likely to send their questions directly through available hotel communication channels, or seek it on the OTAs platforms. Alternatively, the information they seek may simply not be available on the website.
  • Clarity and reassurance. Even though the information might have been found by a prospective guest, they may want to double-check its accuracy, especially if the details are critical to their stay. Speaking directly to a hotel representative or having confirmation about some policies in writing can provide the necessary reassurance and build trust towards your brand.
  • Language barriers. For international travellers, English might not be their first language. They may doubt their own understanding of the information and seek an opportunity to have the questions answered in their native language or ask as many supplementary questions in English as they need to feel confident they understood it correctly.
  • Unique queries and special requests. Guests often may have questions that require a personal approach and case-to-case considerations, be it a late check-in, organising special events, or arranging a surprise for their companion.
  • Change of plans. After the booking, guests may need to modify or even cancel their reservation. While your hotel may have clear policies and procedures published on the hotel website or stated in a confirmation email, guests may want reassurance that the changes are possible or try to avoid the necessity to pay extra fees due to their circumstances. They could also need more information or advice on some logistics.
  • Promotions and offers. Many of the guests’ questions are related to ongoing promotions, package deals, or loyalty programmes. Travellers want to be sure they are getting the most available benefits and the best value for their money.
  • Technological barriers. Although increasingly more people are technologically savvy, some travellers may require assistance with some processes, such as booking a stay online.
  • Feedback and complaints. Following their stay, some guests may want to provide feedback about their experience, especially when it didn’t match their expectations. Processing and answering such queries is crucial to improving customer satisfaction, hotel reputation and client retention.
  • Local recommendations. As hotels are commonly seen as local experts, they may receive questions from upcoming guests regarding nearby attractions, restaurants, transportation and other tips.
Top 50 questions — key factors and challenges in guest communication what are the most common (and weird) questions from hotel guests?

Key factors and challenges in guest communications

Responding to incoming queries is of key importance in any customer-oriented service, but the impact is even greater in hospitality, which prides itself on the quality of customer service and care towards the (prospective) guests. 

What matters the most: Gold standards in hotel communications

There is a long list of critical factors that have an impact on the perception of the quality of this service, but these five are essential:

  • Response time. Replying to the incoming query in the shortest possible time shows a high level of attentiveness and increases the likelihood of continuing the conversation, which in turn may lead to a boost in customer satisfaction and increased booking conversions.
  • Accuracy and clarity. Always providing information that is correct, verified, and communicated in a way that is easy to understand, regardless of the language used.
  • Personalisation. Addressing guests by their names and referring to specific details of their queries to show attentiveness.
  • Helpfulness and professionalism. Showing goodwill and a problem-solving attitude, and using inclusive and friendly language when approached with any issues.
  • Consistency across all channels. Having an exhaustive knowledge base or a guide for your teams in place to ensure guests receive the same answers regardless of the channel they use to communicate with your hotel.

What gets in the way: The most common obstacle in answering guest questions

On the flip side, there’s a list of key challenges (many of them amplifying one another) that can get in the way of achieving excellence in all the aforementioned areas:

  • Volume of queries. As a customer-centric industry, there is a particularly high volume of incoming enquiries, especially during peak seasons.
  • Multichannel communications. More platforms give more visibility and open new opportunities, but every new channel brings in more incoming messages needing attention.
  • Language barriers. Not all guests will communicate in a local language, or commonly spoken languages like English, and having all language skills available in your teams is difficult.
  • Staff shortages. In Europe alone, there is a 1.2 million hospitality staff shortage, having a significant negative impact on the challenges listed above.
  • Knowledge gaps. Creating and maintaining an up-to-date pool of information about the hotel and all its services, available at all times to your staff, is a time-consuming task.
Top 50 questions — conversational ai what are the most common (and weird) questions from hotel guests?

Conversational AI: Convenience for your guests, support for your staff.

In the last few years, the hospitality industry saw the arrival of conversational AI being used to enhance the capabilities of standard chatbots with features like sentiment analysis, self-learning, voice assistance, or generative AI (like GPT-4). To call it the emergence of a new era of guest communications would not be an exaggeration.

Appreciated by guests

Using a lot of smart technology in their everyday life, guests show a positive attitude towards – or even preference for – interacting with it while staying at hotels. A study by Oracle from 2022 showed that 67% of travellers are interested in staying at hotels that use AI to deliver personalised service. The same research indicated that 36% of hotel guests would opt for a fully contactless, digital service with hotel staff available only on request.

Needed by staff

Travellers’ fondness for AI is good news, considering the significant staff shortages of 1.2 million in the hospitality sector alone, as announced by the European Travel Commission in 2022. The organisation advised the industry to address this challenge with a strategic solution of integrating AI technologies to support reservation and reception teams. 

Insights from the usage of HiJiffy’s Guest Communications Hub reveal that hotels using conversational AI optimised for the hospitality sector achieve impressive automation rates. On average, over 85% of incoming queries are autonomously resolved to guests’ satisfaction. Additionally, for the remaining 15% of queries that demand human input, the AI seamlessly transfers guests to the relevant hotel team. This approach ensures that staff members intervene only when their attention is essential, enabling efficient management of guest interactions. Overall, the solution presents a great opportunity for hotels to reduce the volume of work for their teams while maintaining, or even improving their customer service level.

Benefits of implementing conversational AI in guest communications

The key benefits of using an AI-powered chatbot solution in the context of automating processing and resolving guest queries include:

  • Improved response times and 24/7 availability
  • Providing multilingual support
  • Enhanced guest engagement and satisfaction
  • Optimised staff resources and time allocation
  • Data-driven insights for continuous improvement
  • Gathering actionable insights from guest interactions
  • Adapting AI responses based on guest feedback
  • Automating processes and facilitating online interactions

Beyond responding to queries, this advanced solution can increase direct bookings, generate more revenue from upselling, boost teamwork, optimise internal communication, and much more by leveraging integrations with other hotel tech solutions.

Top 50 questions — insights2023 what are the most common (and weird) questions from hotel guests?

Insights: Top 50 topics of frequently asked questions by hotel guests

We analysed HiJiffy’s data from the summer of 2023 from over 2,100 hotels across 60+ countries around the world, aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of the most burning questions travellers and guests had when contacting hotels. 

Beyond the most common topics of frequently asked questions (FAQs), we looked more closely at the differences between various communication channels, identified emerging and seasonal trends, and picked a few unusual questions.

HiJiffy’s conversational AI has seven years of training in hospitality and specialises in over 200 industry-specific topics, with new ones added continuously.

Top 50 FAQs for Hotels

  1. Check-in
    1. What time is the check-in?
    2. Is it possible to request an early check-in?
    3. Can I check in online?
  2. Bookings management
    1. How can I manage my booking?
    2. I need to update my reservation
    3. Can I change my reservation?
  3. Meals plans
    1. What does the all-inclusive include?
    2. What’s included in the half board?
    3. What is the difference between all-inclusive and half-board?
  4. Contacts
    1. How do I contact the hotel by email?
    2. Is there a phone number I can call?
    3. What is the best contact for the hotel?
  5. Transfers, shuttles and car pick-up service
    1. I need to book a transfer.I need to book a transfer.
    2. Do you have an airport shuttle?
    3. Can you arrange transportation from the airport?
  6. Spa & Wellness
    1. Do you have a spa?
    2. Where can I see the spa menu and prices?
    3. What massages do you offer?
  7. Parking
    1. Do you have parking?
    2. How much does the parking cost?
    3. Is the parking free?
  8. Reservations department contacts
    1. What are the reservation contacts?
    2. Who do I contact to make a reservation?
    3. What is the phone number for reservations?
  9. Restaurants
    1. What are the opening hours of the restaurant?
    2. Where can I see the menu?
    3. What is served at the restaurant?
  10. Breakfast
    1. What is served for breakfast?
    2. What are the breakfast hours?
    3. How much is the breakfast?
  11. Discounts, offers and partnerships
    1. Do you have any special offers?
    2. How do I use my promo code?
    3. Is there a discount for large families?
  12. Check-out
    1. What is the check-out time?
    2. Is there a late check-out option?
    3. What time do you have to leave the room?
  13. Booking a table
    1. I’d like to book a table at the restaurant
    2. Where do I make a restaurant reservation?
    3. I would like to reserve a table for two.
  14. Room types and views
    1. Do you have family rooms?
    2. Do the rooms have a balcony?
    3. Is there an ocean view or a public pool view from the rooms?
  15. Pet policy
    1. Do you allow pets?
    2. Are you pet-friendly?
    3. What’s your pet policy?
  16. Cancellation
    1. What is your cancellation policy?
    2. I want to cancel a reservation.
    3. Is it possible to cancel my booking?
  17. Swimming pool
    1. Do you have a swimming pool?
    2. Are there any swimming pools at the hotel?
    3. Is there an outdoor swimming pool?
  18. Room amenities
    1. Is there a fridge in the room?
    2. Do the rooms have a hairdryer?
    3. Is there air conditioning in the room
  19. Location
    1. What is the hotel address?
    2. What’s the location of the hotel?
    3. Where is the hotel exactly?
  20. Children policy
    1. From what age do children pay?
    2. What is your policy regarding children?
    3. Until what age is a person considered a child?
  21. Payment methods and terms
  22. Careers
  23. Booking confirmation
  24. WiFi
  25. Book day use and day visitors
  26. Gym
  27. Bars and lounges
  28. Amusement parks
  29. Kids clubs, playgrounds and entertainment
  30. Special requests
  31. Gifts and vouchers
  32. Weddings
  33. Book amusement park
  34. Spa & Wellness reservations
  35. Swimming pool/beach towels, sun umbrellas, and loungers
  36. Bed type
  37. Swimming pool opening times
  38. Loyalty program
  39. Packages
  40. Accessibility
  41. Room service
  42. Events & Live performances
  43. About the property
  44. Swimming pool access
  45. Spa & Wellness menu and prices
  46. Golf
  47. Direct bookings and Best rates
  48. Members area and login
  49. Group booking
  50. Baby cots, high chairs and strollers

Dominant categories: What guests want from a hotel

Looking at the list, we can distinguish five main categories of FAQs for hotels:

  • Hotel reservations and bookings questions
    This prominent category illustrates how important it is for guests to have clarity on the status of their booking and any changes that can affect it, for example, booking confirmations, group bookings, and cancellations.
  • Questions about hotel amenities and facilities
    The second main area indicates the guests’ interest in everything the hotel offers and expected service levels, such as breakfast options, swimming pool facilities, gym equipment, and spa menu.
  • Hotel policies and procedures questions
    This group signifies guests’ need to understand their rights and hotel rules, including check-in and check-out times, loyalty programmes, payment methods, and children policy.
  • Questions about hotel services and special offers
    Added-value services and promotions that attract guests or improve their guest experience, for example, airport transfers, gift vouchers, packages, and special events.
  • General information
    Finally, many topics can fall into this category, from opening hours or facilities to logistics, to finding the right contacts.
Top 50 questions — the never ending stream of questions what are the most common (and weird) questions from hotel guests?

The most common topics per channel

While we observed slight differences in the popularity of certain topics across various platforms, it remains clear that you are likely to receive all kinds of questions on each of them. Here are the most common topics of queries segmented by the popular communion channels.

The most popular hotel questions on Website chat

Though not varying too significantly from the general list of common topics, the website chat appears to have a big volume of enquiries that may impact the booking decisions (pet policy, payment methods and terms, meal plans) and logistical pre-arrival questions (parking, transfers, the location of the hotel). Having immediate responses available to those queries at all times can increase booking conversion and guest satisfaction.

  1. Check-in
  2. Meal plans
  3. Parking
  4. Transfers, shuttles and car pick-up service
  5. Breakfast
  6. Bookings management
  7. Discounts, offers and partnerships
  8. Contacts
  9. Restaurants
  10. Spa & Wellness
  11. Check-out
  12. Pet policy
  13. Cancellation
  14. Location
  15. Book a table
  16. Room amenities
  17. Payment methods and terms
  18. Booking a day use and day visitors
  19. Room types and views
  20. Swimming pool

The most popular hotel questions on WhatsApp

This most popular messaging app in Europe and South America is a preferred channel for many guests. Aside from the overall alignment with general trends, there were a few topics beyond the pre-stay stage of the guest journey, for example, enquiries about the WiFi (#11), breakfast (#13) and luggage (#15), as well requests to leave a review (#8).

  1. Check-in
  2. Parking
  3. Manage Bookings
  4. Check-out
  5. Contacts
  6. Children policy
  7. Transfers, Shuttles and Car pick-up service
  8. Reviews
  9. Discounts, Offers and Partnerships
  10. Cancellation
  11. WiFi
  12. Room amenities
  13. Breakfast
  14. Group booking
  15. Luggage
  16. Payment methods and terms
  17. Booking a table
  18. Restaurants
  19. Swimming pool
  20. Location

The most popular hotel questions on Facebook Messenger

On the list, there are several enquiries about special amenities, such as restaurants (#1), buffet (#5), casino (#16) or activities for children (#8), but general questions about job opportunities (#2) and discounts (#3) are among the most popular ones.

  1. Restaurants
  2. Careers
  3. Discounts, offers and partnerships
  4. Contacts
  5. Buffet
  6. Transfers, shuttles and car pick-up service
  7. Breakfast
  8. Kids clubs, playgrounds and entertainment
  9. Weddings
  10. Check-in
  11. Bookings management
  12. Room types and views
  13. Pet policy
  14. Booking a day use and day visitors
  15. Swimming pool
  16. Casino
  17. Special requests
  18. Events and special occasions
  19. Location
  20. Room occupancy and extra beds

The most popular hotel questions on Instagram

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the number #1 question asked on this platform is related to influencers. After all, Instagram facilitated the rise of influencer marketing. Primary a visual platform dominated by lifestyle content, it is a fantastic platform to showcase your hotel’s ambience and facilities. From tasteful room decor and breathtaking views (#12 popular FAQ topic on its own) to spa facilities (#18), mouth-watering food served at your restaurant (#10 and #16) or colourful cocktails at the bar (#13). 

Showcasing a strong visual appeal or your hotel on this platform can also inspire questions about organising live events, weddings and celebrating other special occasions (#8, #14 and #11, respectively). Leverage this interest by having a clear list of services and facilities available for events hire.

  1. Influencers
  2. Careers
  3. Contacts
  4. Booking a day use and day visitors
  5. Discounts, offers and partnerships
  6. Location
  7. Check-in
  8. Events & Live performances
  9. Transfers, shuttles and car pick-up service
  10. Breakfast
  11. Events and other special occasions
  12. Room types and views
  13. Bars and Lounges
  14. Weddings
  15. Packages
  16. Restaurants
  17. Payment methods and terms
  18. Spa & Wellness
  19. Meal plans
  20. Parking

The most popular hotel questions on Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)

This platform is the most immediate way to ask a hotel a question right from the Google search results or while exploring Google Maps. Logistical questions are popular, from confirming the check-in hours (#1) to car parking and transfers (#4 and #5), but they remain in line with the overall trends in topic popularity.

  1. Check-in
  2. Contacts
  3. Meal plans
  4. Parking
  5. Transfers, Shuttles and Car pick-up service
  6. Manage Bookings
  7. Breakfast
  8. Book day use and Day visitors
  9. Careers
  10. Restaurants
  11. Booking confirmation
  12. Room amenities
  13. Check-out
  14. Payment methods and terms
  15. Spa & Wellness

The most popular hotel questions on WeChat

The robust communication platform showed a significant trend in topics related to COVID-19 (#1, #6), likely due to the predominance of the app’s popularity in China and Southeast Asian countries and local changes related to pandemic-related policies in 2023. Another popular topic different to the overall trends was electricity and voltage (#10), probably common among international travellers outside of Asia.

  1. Covid test
  2. Check-in
  3. Contacts
  4. Discounts, offers and partnerships
  5. Getting there
  6. COVID-19
  7. Connecting and adjoining rooms
  8. Airport
  9. Bookings management
  10. Electricity and voltage
  11. Room types and views
  12. Bars and Lounges
  13. Cancellation
  14. Restaurants
  15. Check-out

HiJiffy’s conversational AI integrates with Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, Google Business Profile, WhatsApp, Line, Telegram, SMS, email, as well as offers its own website live chat widget.

Top 50 questions — hero what are the most common (and weird) questions from hotel guests?

Emerging questions from hotel guests

While HiJiffy’s conversational AI is specialised in over 200 hospitality-specific topics already, we keep on training it in the new ones whenever we notice an area for development. Some of the latest niche topics we added include:

  • Sports lessons
  • Safari equipment
  • Key locks
  • Lobby
  • Bicycle parking
  • Art
  • Suites
  • Guest showers
  • Female dorms
  • Lockers
  • House rules
  • Tips

Seasonal spikes of interest

Compared to the previous quarter, we noticed a rise in queries related to the following topics:

  1. Swimming pool: beach towels, sun umbrellas and loungers
  2. Long-term rental
  3. Camping
  4. Shopping
  5. Cuisine
  6. Hotel reviews
  7. Influencers

Topics related to water (#1) and outdoor (#3) activities are expected in line with the arrival of summer, perhaps also including a rise of messages from influencers (#7). A boost of requests to leave a review (#6) can also be expected in peak season.

Guest can also be seen to more often ask about local food and beverage recommendations (#5) and the best places to shop (#4). Interestingly, there was a spike in interest in long-term rentals (#2), which could be associated with the increase in mobility and remote work; however, it remains a subject for another research.

Unusual and weird questions hotel guests ask

Every guest-facing team has a few good anecdotes about the most unusual and odd guest queries they received, and so does our conversational AI:

  • “Can you make sure my room number is odd?
  • “Can I bring my own sheets and pillow?”
  • “Brought 2 dogs weighing less than 7kg. What do you think?”
  • “Can I bring my exotic pet?”
  • “Are small hands allowed?”
  • “Can you remove the bed frame and just keep the mattress?

Whenever our conversational AI cannot successfully resolve a quest query, it can seamlessly pass on the conversation to your staff. On average, the need for assistance from hotel staff is below 15%.

Summary

This report identified the most common questions travellers and guests contact hotels about. This data can guide you and your teams while reviewing publicly available information about your properties or improving supplementary information provided after the reservation.

If processing the volume of incoming queries remains a challenge for your teams, reach out to us and arrange a personalised demo to see how our Guest Communications Hub can help you by:

We hope you succeed in a mission to leave no guest queries unanswered!

Maciej 2023
Senior Content & Brand Specialist

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