Hot tub? Room with a view? Meeting the ever-increasing demand for personalized stays
No two guests are exactly alike. Some might want the minibar full of whiskey, but a health-nut would certainly prefer it filled with Gatorade and protein bars. And what about the troubled sleeper who would love an extra-soft mattress? Or the elderly couple who wants to stay at a low floor and as far away from the disco as possible?
There is a growing demand for more and more personalization and customization options. And why wouldn't there be? Airbnb realized it first: it is not about just a room, it is about the whole experience. Wouldn't you enjoy a hotel room catered exactly to your needs as well?
Of course, this would be a logistical nightmare - and downright impossible - for the hotel if guests were to communicate their requests at the last minute while checking in on-the-spot. Furthermore, where would the staff find the time to do these extra tasks?
Re-think the booking process
An excellent hotelier will provide all these options during the booking or pre-check-in process. Whether it is an extra bottle of the guest's favourite drink or anti-allergy duvets, these shouldn't be exceedingly hard to optimize to be easily handled by the staff. When extra steps on the check-in and checkout process are eliminated by automating or otherwise reforming them, extra resources are freed up (see our previous blog post for our thoughts on this). These resources can then be used better to meet guests' needs.
Just offering it might change everything
Guests today might be less inclined to request small extra features just because they are not candidly offered to them. As an anecdote from a prominent hotel in Helsinki: a guest requested flowers to be delivered to their room prior to their arrival. This was such a rare case that the hotel manager himself had to run to the nearest florist to get them. But what if this was an offered extra during the pre-check-in process? I am willing to bet that many spouses would be more than delighted to find a bouquet of their favourite flowers waiting on the bed. I am also willing to bet that many significant others would pay extra for this. The same applies to so many other things; Imagine an enthusiastic runner on a business trip. They do not want to carry their running shoes with them, but surely would be happy to pay a few extra euros for rentals.
Is this not still a logistical nightmare?
Well, maybe, but a solution for this problem might be simple. From a hotelier's point of view this could mean a handful of customized rooms for a niche of travellers, but still large enough to warrant it. Examples of these include:
- Fitness room, includes e.g. a yoga mat, sports drinks in the minibar, discount on hotel gym
- Kids' room, includes e.g. an extra TV, toys etc.
- Lovers' room, includes e.g. the flowers on bed, champagne, hot tub
These might not be the perfect solution per se, but a step in the right direction nonetheless and there is undoubtedly untapped potential in this. Still, the viability of implementing this is not clear and should be examined.
What about the guests? They probably would not want to fill in all their preferences every time they are booking or checking in.
Hotelway have arrived at a simple solution to this problem. In our mobile app a
traveller can fill in their preferences for numerous things from pillow
softness and room location all the way to gym gear or a coffee maker. This
information will be automatically forwarded to hotels when using our service to
book stays. Additionally, guests don't even have to download the application. They can book stays and communicate with hotels directly via sms, Facebook messenger and many more channels.
Of course, this does not put any extra pressure to hotels as these preferences are only wishes to the hotel. Still, an excellent hotelier would certainly try to meet them. Additionally, booking through Hotelway will provide important data to the hotelier about the most requested features. It is then quite easy to analyse which of these features are feasible to implement.
What we do is nothing revolutionary. It is the numerous, small things that will compound to something extraordinary.