A very thought provoking article was posted by the CBC and rather timely as I just returned from California and indeed one of the hotels didn’t have any soap amenities and I scratched my head assuming the cleaning staff forgot them! Perhaps not. In this article it speaks about hotels rethinking some basic fundamentals – similar to the airlines and banks years ago. THIS IS WORTH READING, but in case you don’t have time, a couple of highlights:
(1) The Hilton New York stopped offering room service ; (2) Mini bars may be on their way out (3) Parking shifts to pay for play in more places likely (4) Testing eliminating the front desk clerk for a kiosk (ouch, that one seems nuts to me – so much about the friendly welcome and someone to provide all those valuable information services).
Addressing the bottom line – essential. Ensuring positive revenues/growth – essential. Eliminating things guests don’t want – a no brainer - but are you adding things they really want in exchange (e.g. Take away my soap/shampoo in exchange for free Internet – ok – but give me fair/transparent warning, don’t hide it and hope I don’t notice, you may feel a nasty reverberation on TripAdvisor!).
BUT before you make changes to your business ‘Think like a traveller’ and ask think carefully about: (1) How will this impact brand perception (especially if all businesses in a change are not consistent) ? (2) How will you communicate the ‘lack of services’ and manage expectations? (3) Will this decision to save money impact your competitive position – or will hotel guests switch their loyalty.
Change is inevitable – I think of it more as a natural evolution. What ever you do, don’t let the beanies guide you by money thinking only. Make sure the customer is at the heart of the decision, for if the customer goes – so does the business!