Monday, October 25, 2010

Public Washrooms – Flush with Opportunity

Picture it, you’re walking through a Hotel, or, maybe you’ve just had a drink in the bar, and you decide that you need to use the washroom.

You push back the entry door and one of two things happen.

      1.       You are hit, smacked in the face, with the sharp contrast between the beautiful lobby (or bar/restaurant) that you were just in and this excuse for a “public space,” or,

      2.       You are reassured by the continuation of the commitment to quality, to cleanliness, that is evident in every noticeable feature that catches your eye as you enter.

I don’t know about you, but I want to experience #2 when I enter a Hotel washroom, and so I should.

Operators need to ensure that public washrooms are well thought out and prioritized during the design phase or during any renovations programs that are contemplated along the way.

Far too often, these areas, out of sight for the most part, are forgotten or pushed to the back of the list during renovations, and as a result, they end up falling short of your brand promise or commitment.

The same holds true for your restaurant/bar washrooms if in fact they are separate from your main lobby washrooms.

I always draw a conclusion from what I see in the washrooms to what I expect to experience in a restaurant or bar, whether part of a Hotel, or simply as a stand-alone restaurant or bar, and I have yet to go out with a woman who has not returned from a trip to the washroom with some comment about the “state of affairs” behind those closed doors and how that might translate into their commitment to cleanliness or overall quality.

As I have been no doubt guilty of repeating all too often, a Hotel should be treated like your home, it should be a reflection of what you would do in your home, for guests, to, in this case, make a space feel warm and inviting, and of course clean, with an attention to detail.

So take a few extra minutes, and spend a few extra dollars, and throw in a few little touches, like attractive tissue containers on the vanities, to cover up those institutional looking Kleenex boxes – something that compliments the colours in the washroom.

Maybe a couple of lotion pumps or decorative hand soap dispensers.

Personally, I like to go to a local home decor shop and look for unique individual items that will reflect that someone made an effort to personalize this space, rather than having picked out the accessories from the local restaurant or Hotel supply catalogue.

And last, but certainly not least, make sure that there is a diligent program in place to have these spaces checked OFTEN. Nothing is worse than going into a washroom where it looks like a bomb just went off, and it is clear that no one has bothered to check this space in some time. 

Need an experienced hospitality professional to help your property reach its full potential?  Contact me.

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