When it comes to booking a room at a hotel, there are a few standard and very simple things guests look for in the room description and the user reviews. Cleanliness of the room, a comfortable bed, access to the internet, a TV (with cable) in the room and bathroom amenities rank as the most important. However, those are basics that virtually every place offers. What really sets your hotel apart from every other property out there?
To increase revenue and out-sell your competitors, let’s take a closer look at the items your guests are actually looking for – and what you can add to the offering.
Wireless internet alone isn’t cutting it anymore, especially for guests who are frequently traveling for business. When guests are on the go, they want to stay connected without having to pay an additional fee.
Beyond just free, though, many business travelers also expect internet that’s both reliable and quick. According to hotel owner and CEO Rupesh Patel, who recently polled guests among his many properties, slow internet was one of the biggest complaints for guests and not just for executives but millennials, too. A study done by Hospitality.net found that over 57% of hotel guests in the 20 – 30 age range try to stream or connect their personal devices to hotel TVs using the included Wi-Fi.
Lighting is everything in a hotel room, especially if many of the rooms aren’t blessed with seemingly endless natural light. According to Conde Nast Traveler, bad lighting is often one of the biggest complaints for guests. Whether it’s dim lighting in the bathroom or yellow-hued fluorescent lights in the bedroom, guests crave lights that both flatter and accent the space. To mimic natural light, consider daylight or soft white bulbs, which create a warm and cozy vibe that’s still highly effective.
Seamless check in/out
Your hotel could have the most beautiful lobby, endless amenities and a breathtaking view, but a negative check in/out encounter can be what makes or breaks a guests’ overall experience. Today, many hotels are elevating their check in/out by offering self-service pods or DIY apps, which take the human interaction completely out of it. For some, the ease of going directly to your room without having to stop for a key or to give you credit card information again is a major selling point.
However, some guests, mainly baby boomers and up, still prefer that human touch. So, for these guests, they look for a lobby that’s clearly mapped out (with signs to the registration), friendly staff and a painless process (no repetitive forms to fill out or long lines).
A focus on the environment and sustainability should be top of mind for all hotels, but especially for those looking to break the millennial market.
“Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues and expect brands to not only manage their impact but communicate it,” said Diana Verde Nieto, CEO of Positive Luxury, to SCMP.
For many properties, that means preserving the lifestyle and the culture of the destination it’s in – whether that means offering farm-to-table, local cuisine in their restaurant or offering furniture that’s been handmade by a local artisan. Sustainability also means a focus on the environment, so using linens made from recycled fabrics, LED light bulbs, energy-efficient appliances (like coffee makers and mini-fridges) and refillable bathroom fixtures also make a large impact for this massive consumer base.
Nothing dirties the perception of your property quicker than a stale, stinky smell, and this will immediately affect how that guest views the cleanliness and comfort of your hotel. As bad as a dirty scent is, an overly fragrant, perfume-y aroma can be just as detrimental. You want the hotel to have a smell that’s fresh, pleasant and clean, and doesn’t deter the guest from wanting to stay. To avoid a stale scent from carpeting, rugs or linens, invest in fresh scent odor removers or air fresheners.
Competitive food & beverage offerings
Hotel restaurants are no longer the last resort for tired guests. For many properties, their restaurants hold as much acclaim or more than the actual property, thanks to an award-winning chef or highly regarded cuisine. For many guests, they want food that speaks to the destination they’re in, or that competes against the fare served at neighboring brick and mortars. Beyond just fancy restaurant food, guests want quick room service options that go above and beyond the standard burger and fries (think vegetarian options or more seasonal cuisine), plus an ease of ordering. For some properties, that means ordering directly from the TV or their phones. Even for budget properties, an included continental breakfast or proximity to a diner or breakfast space will make all the difference for hungry guests.
Connectivity & power
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to rearrange the heavy wooden desk, the clunky bedside table or even the bed just to charge your phone. However, many hotel rooms don’t have ample electrical outlets, which make it hard for guests to charge their devices. Not all chargers are created equal, though.
According to a study done by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, usage of smartphone docking stations fell to just 19% last year, primarily because they don’t adapt to newer technology. In addition, most guests bring their own chargers. However, nightstands with USB chargers, charge pods or outlets as well as dual-purpose alarm clocks are still popular, and help keep all of the guest’s electronics charged at once.
So, let’s go back to where we started: What really sets your hotel apart from every other property out there? Put some of these ideas into action and be sure to measure the results.