Have a Drink On Us
As far as industry researchers can tell, guests still love and appreciate this thirst-quenching courtesy. A free craft beer or glass of wine is often appreciated after a long journey. Others want something healthier—fresh pressed juice or premium bottled water. On the whole, the cost is small compared to the benefit. Right away, people see a hotel who is willing to invest in the comfort, wellbeing, and repeat business of its guests.
An important note: The welcome drink is, for some, an antiquated and even tacky concept. Don’t prove them right with trays full of plastic cups and tepid, sugary liquid (or worse, lemon water which hasn’t been changed for a few days!). If you’re going to offer a drink, make it something people would order in a bar or café. Come to think of it, if you have a bar or café on site, offering a classy welcome drink is that much easier.
It’s the Little Things
The average hotel will inevitably find itself compelled to make serious upgrades, whether it be in-room touch controls and mobile apps or the next best TV or image-viewing box. Ours is an industry that cannot afford to stand still.
Many of these future investments will be tantamount to large-scale remodelling efforts, requiring board approval and staggering budgets. As we can see above though, innovation doesn’t have to wait for that. As hoteliers, we can always forge ahead by looking at small, affordable, relevant ways to improve the guest experience. And together, they carry a lot more weight.
Travel Adaptors, Luggage scales, Plastic Bags
There is a lot of merit to making guests feel at home, but many hotels do a mediocre job of acknowledging the reality that many guests are between destinations and will probably be heading to the airport soon.
The demands of travel can be anticipated in clever, appreciable ways. Guests are often worried about how much their luggage weighs, and nobody wants to rearrange bags in the airport. A weigh station in the lobby is a welcome sight for many and some hotels even top it off with a real-time flight monitor.
There’s also the question of plugging things in. Even if you’re in your home country, you may have purchased an electronic device abroad. Savvy travellers carry their own adaptors, but what message does it send when such a device isn’t needed in your hotel? We’re beginning to see more properties (the Abu Dubai Marriott, for example) with built-in universal wall outlets. In today’s device-addled age, the ability to plug anything, from anywhere, into the wall is about as welcoming as it gets. (Of course some countries don’t allow international sockets in the wall, in which case why not make sure there are adaptors in each room?)
Here’s another ultra-cheap amenity relevant to guests: Those small plastic bags often required for airport security checks. Not only are they necessary and often forgotten, they’re a convenient way for guests to stash those complimentary shampoo and soap bottles.
Come Early, Stay Later
Early arrivals and late departures remain highly sought-after amongst guests. Why don’t more hotels offer them? This is generation flex, and the less you have to say “I’m sorry, that’s impossible,” the better.
But if you’ve ever worked in the industry, you know it’s much harder than it looks. There are hundreds of rooms to clean and allocate. People are departing and arriving all the time. Holding it all together isn’t as easy as it looks. The more exceptions you make, the more complicated the situation becomes.
Handling these logistics in more technologically savvy ways—through a cloud-based Property Management System (PMS), for example—can give your hotel greater flexibility. It can give you real-time coordination between housekeeping and front desks, dynamic task assignments based on early check-in requirements, and even communications between guests and front desks in the hours before to check-in.
HiRUM and Starfleet are two examples of Australian Property Management Software, but there are dozens of options from developers around the world. Review sites like this one are getting better at rounding up and reviewing the best PMS solutions for hotels.
But hoteliers often forget to seek their own upgrades. In the grind of day-to-day operations, we forget that value-propositions between hotels and guests are congruent, interdependent, and that not every innovation has to be a game-changer. In fact, if we consider the impact of 1% improvements across every aspect of our operation or activities (aggregation of marginal gains), we can deliver what appears to be a small-scale gain individually but across multiple elements have the result of elevating our guest experiences dramatically. Here are a few examples.
Hotel guests are constantly in search of value, savings, upgrades. Why shouldn’t they be? New options are everywhere. People have more information at their fingertips than they know what to do with.
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