Technology has become the equalizer for all travelers. Whether it’s a high-end business traveler or a family on vacation on the New Jersey shore, virtually everyone has become accustomed to – and expects – high-touch services from hotels.

A recent American Express survey found that “future travelers” will tap into these high-tech options and human services in order to achieve the ultimate travel experience. While the study focuses on the traveler of the future, we believe that this trend is happening right now.

Another interesting aspect of the study is that 93 percent of travelers said that despite digital advances in the travel industry, the value of personal service cannot be replaced.

“Increasingly, travelers want to see the world on their terms with tailored, personalized and differentiated experiences that reflect their passions and needs,” said Claire Bennett, Executive Vice President, American Express Travel. “The boundaries between technology and personal service are being blurred, allowing more intimate connections for travelers with the world around them.”

For hotel brands this presents both challenges and opportunities.

With pretty much every category of traveler expecting high-touch services, hoteliers will need to focus their efforts even more on pleasing the guest. It also opens the door for hotel brands to seek out new innovations and partnerships that strengthen the brand by creating a completely “frictionless guest experience.”

Additionally, the study found that 82 percent of respondents are more interested in “making memories” than making money, and are seeking more meaningful life experiences. In other words, it’s the experience and not material possessions that make people happy.

For hoteliers, this means creating these new experiences for guests, leveraging new technologies and making service an even bigger priority. In other words, going above and beyond for guests is now the new norm.

The hotel brands that embrace this new mindset will clearly emerge from the ever-increasing competitive pack. The good news though is that the guest always wins.