Monday, January 10, 2011

Hotel Fundamentals . . . Since the Beginning of Time

As far as I’m concerned, as soon as you decide to hang a sign on a building that says “Hotel” you have certain minimum responsibilities, regardless of how many diamonds or stars your property is.

I believe it’s fair for the consumer to make a few assumptions based on seeing that sign, encouraging them to check-in for the night at your Hotel.

You could certainly argue that there are more than the minimum requirements that made my list, but I would hope that you would not argue that these are, at least, the minimum expectations of any Hotel, dating back to when the first Hotels began to pop up around the world, and regardless of what part of the world you are in.

A Decent Night’s Sleep

You’ll notice that I didn’t specifically reference the bed, although that is, of course, one of the key fundamentals required for “the good night’s sleep.”  However, it is not the only thing, which is my point.  You can have an absolutely fabulous bed, but if it is in a room that has lousy climate control, or the room is overly noisy, or maybe you can’t get the drapes to close properly, preventing light from outside streaming through the windows, you are not going to get a good night’s sleep, and isn’t that the #1 reason you check into a Hotel for in the first place?

A Good Shower

This is definitely a personal preference for me.  When I get up, after my good night’s sleep, and after having returned from my morning run, and I am ready to begin the day, I want to have a good shower, which I define as enough consistent hot water, with good water pressure.  After that, I don’t care.  I don’t need a shower massage, and I don’t need multiple shower heads.  Sure, they can be nice, but they don’t make my list of shower fundamentals.  For me, water pressure is king.  It doesn’t need to have the ability to rip my skin off, but to me, there is nothing worse than having to dance around in the shower to get wet, and, after having spent the appropriate amount of time in the shower, to feel like your body is still covered with soap, and your hair is still full of shampoo.

A Good Cup of Coffee

Now some of you might expand this to be a good breakfast, and I don’t necessarily disagree, but there are those of us who prefer not to eat first thing in the morning, and for us, and arguably, as a key component to the good breakfast as well, would still be a good cup of coffee.

Now this is a tough one, given people’s many different preferences, but regardless of brand preferences, we all know a good cup of coffee when we have one, regardless of whether or not it is our own personal “favourite” brand or not, or perhaps more so, we all know a bad cup of coffee when we experience it.

If you are not committed to providing your guests with a decent night’s sleep, a good shower and a good cup of coffee, you have no business calling yourself a Hotel and it’s time to take down the sign and close your doors.

And for those of you who are appalled that I didn’t mention service as a fundamental requirement, please remember that I did say “minimum” requirements, for ANY Hotel, regardless of whether it is budget or luxury or anything in between.  Great service can, and often does, offset shortfalls in other areas of a Hotel experience.

You may wonder why I went to the trouble to state what must seem so obvious to everyone who reads this, and I’ll tell you, it’s because there are far too many Hotels who fail this test on one or more of my minimum requirements, and what’s worse, they either don’t know it, or, they don’t seem to care.

When is the last time that you stayed in your own Hotel, and attempted to experience your property as a guest would?

When did you last use the health club in your Hotel?  (Another hugely important area I might add).  Not just walk through, but actually use the equipment?

It’s not enough to simply do a walk-through of the various areas in your Hotel, and to “assume” that everything is fine, just because you have not received complaints to the contrary.  Remember, a huge percentage of people never bother to report their complaints to the Hotel, but they do go on to tell their friends about what happened, and what’s worse these days, they’ll go on-line and write a negative review  for everyone to see.

Want to know what your guests are experiencing?  Then put yourself in their shoes from time to time.  You’ll be surprised what you see, from this perspective, that might otherwise have gone unseen. 

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

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