30 simple, inexpensive ways to ‘wow’ guests
I can distinctly remember the first time I was truly “wowed” during a hotel stay. It was during my first year at HotelNewsNow.com when I attended The Hotel Ezra Cornell event at the university’s on-campus Statler Hotel. I was so impressed with the property’s personal, attentive and cheery staff, that I detailed the experience in a blog titled “Five no-cost tactics that add value.” It remains one of my most-read blog entries to date.
How fitting that the topic of “wowing” guests came center stage a few weeks ago at the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit, when I was again staying at the Statler. During the event, Carol Margolis, founder of SmartWomenTravelers.com, shared a litany of simple tips operators can employ to create a lasting and memorable experience for guests.
I’ve included them here for your perusal.
For the road warrior:
- Pillow selections are important, with offerings ranging from feathery soft to stiff as a board. Even better, remember a guests’ preferences so their rooms are properly stocked during the next stay.
- Provide a code for a complimentary in-room movie.
- Make a follow-up call after guests check-in and enter their rooms to ensure everything meets their needs.
- Ensure there are in-room references to ice and vending machines on the floor.
- Give information about laundry facilities—on or off property.
- Provide early morning breakfast to go.
- Make made-to-order meals to meet all dietary desires.
- Lockers are important to allow frequent travelers to store certain belongings.
For the leisure guest:
- Provide an up-to-date selection of magazines to borrow.
- Give the guest a list of staff favorites for local restaurants and events.
- Make available a list of the top 10 things locals do and love.
- Ensure your property has rooms with (or at least information about) hypoallergenic bed products (e.g. comforter, pillows).
- Host management receptions and wine tastings.
- Provide in-room scales and magnifying mirrors.
To keep guests safe:
- Provide complimentary valet parking for the solo female traveler.
- Let the guest know about call ahead service for late-night arrivals to request an escort from the parking lot to hotel.
- Ensure there are night lights in bathrooms.
- Give the guest information for local emergency contacts.
To help guests network:
- Hold group walks or runs and exercise classes.
- Host evening social hours in lobbies or restaurants or women-only wine tastings.
For the international guest:
- Alert the guest to detailed how-tos on calling globally, with information on rates and data plans.
- Provide fast Wi-Fi networks for use of Skype, FaceTime and Google+ chats (and instructions on how to connect).
- Ensure the guest knows about tipping guidelines.
- Give telephone numbers for taxi companies; a list of grocery stores; pharmacies; fitness centers; restaurants (that accept credit cards); and consulate or embassy contact information.
- Provide electrical adaptors.
“Your travelers really do get wowed by these little things. So just keep your eyes out for these little things that can enhance the traveler experience,” Margolis concluded.
Now on to the usual goodies …
Stat of the week
1.6: Revenue-per-available-room percentage point premium the top 25 U.S. markets have over the rest of the industry, according to data from STR, parent company of HotelNewsNow.com. Here are some other interesting data points regarding the mighty top 25:
- The top 25 markets (excluding Las Vegas) account for one-third of room supply and almost 43% of room revenue.
- Trailing 12-month occupancy within the subset has increased for 33 consecutive months.
- The top 25 have yet to return to prior peaks: They are less than 1 percentage point below the 2006 peak in occupancy and are 4.7% below the September 2008 peak in ADR.
Quote of the week
“While this offer is below our estimated asset value, we believe it still constitutes a reasonable valuation and could be seriously considered by the board.”
—A research note, written by Barclays Analyst Sule Sauvigne, which said board members of Orient-Express Hotels Limited should seriously consider a $1.86-billion takeover bid from Indian Hotels Company Limited.
This proposed deal has been in the works for some time now, as Indian Hotels, a subsidiary of Tata group and better known as Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, has long made its intentions known and has purchased Orient-Express shares to make its case. The company already owns 6.9% of Orient-Express shares. There are 120.94 million shares of Orient-Express outstanding.
Comment of the week
“Technology investment is tough... an inexpensive amenity that I've noticed more and more hotels have in their lobbies are cell phone charging stations. I've been to quite a few Best Westerns and Hiltons that have ChargeAll units just laying around the common areas.”
—Commenter “Jack” offering his suggestion for an inexpensive, high-value amenity after reading “Amenity creep focusing on long-term benefits.”
Email Patrick Mayock or find him on Twitter.
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