This is a guest post by Jerry Rosen, SVP and global chief marketing and creative officer at RMG Networks,
Today guests are in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting a hotel. The reason: the social Web. Travelers can learn pretty much everything they want to know about hotels in a given market by visiting review websites and travel websites focused on hotels or offering a broad range of travel services.
Travelers can conduct comparative shopping based on pricing, hotel amenities, customer satisfaction and other factors in half an hour or less. Thus, it is more important than ever for hotel managers to offer guests the right amenities — both to attract new guests and increase the number of positive online reviews from current and former guests. Here are the top amenities hotel guests crave:
- Free, easy and property-wide wireless. For better or worse, mobile devices are pretty much welded 24/7 to preteens on up. Anything that interferes with wireless Internet access will be perceived as a big negative. By offering free, property-wide access, hotels turn a potential negative into a differentiating positive — an amenity that will make guests choose one hotel over another. It’s that big.
- Big-screen, high-resolution TV with lots of channels. Thanks to generations of TV exposure and, again, that pervasive mobile phone presence, we have become creatures of visual habits — and when it comes to selecting a hotel, visual snobs. High-quality big screens in rooms, fitness centers, lobbies, bars and other public areas are a big draw. By offering a wide selection of channels, especially sports and entertainment channels in public areas, guests also tend to linger — purchasing more food and beverages all the while. In-room hotel channels also provide added value and entertainment by showcasing facility amenities and local points of interest.
- Luxurious spa and fitness facilities. A couple of 10-year-old treadmills and TVs do not a fitness facility make anymore. Today’s guests crave high-quality, state-of-the-art cardio and weight equipment, saunas, steam baths, massage services — there’s really no going over the top. For moderately priced hotels, having a broad selection of well-maintained, mid- to high-end cardio and weight equipment, along with top-flight big screen TVs, makes a great benchmark.
- Spa quality toiletries. Sometimes it’s the little things, the extra touches that make the biggest impression on guests. Offering high-end bath and beauty products in rooms — soaps, body gels, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, mouthwash, etc. — can give a moderately priced hotel a five-star feel. Hotel managers should test various product lines to determine which brands appeal to the hotel’s clientele — Marriott International tested 52 brands before settling on its choice.
- Attentive, informative concierge services. When guests need information or experience problems, providing fast, reliable and courteous response often makes the difference between a nightmare stay and a dream vacation. A thorough knowledge of the property, policies and area are indispensible assets for any hotel communicating with guests through employees or with interactive digital signage kiosks. When real or virtual concierges go the extra mile with easy and helpful information, they make an indelible impression on guests — one that guests are sure to share on social media and by word of mouth, generating a steady pipeline of referred guests.
Other amenities that really matter to guests: free parking, sustainable products and maid service policies, wayfinding and informational digital signage, complimentary breakfasts (good ones), room service, in-room mini-refrigerators and smoke-free rooms.
Provide these amenities, and provide them in an excellent way, and your hotel will do a bustling business.
As senior vice president and global chief marketing and creative officer at RMG Networks, Jerry Rosen knows first-hand the impact of digital communication as a top amenity for today’s leading hoteliers. Rosen oversees the creative and innovative partnership with clients to produce engaging digital content across state-of-the-art technology for visual communications.