by Alan Campbell, Featured Contributor
YESTER YEAR IT WAS relatively simple, a patron walked up and got a room for about a few dollars. Clerk had a cash box under counter, made change and sent patron on to the room. Simple no problems and no complaints. Of course there were no amenities to speak of either. Life in the hotel business was simple. The hotels sprung up from town to town to take care of the traveling public, without much fanfare. It was then that the monster that we created called “competition” In order to attract the customer the hotels started to add “things” lobby’s with small eating places for patrons. Sometimes a bar and lounge to relax in. The rooms became larger better furnishings and such. Now the customers had a choice when traveling from town to town.
Towns became cities roads became highways and modern airplanes moved people further than the car could. There was a new hotel sprouting up at every train stop along the Santa Fe rail line. Life was still fairly simple. It would be difficult to imagine wireless devices on horseback. Just a thought. Well so much for yester year, now let’s speed up to now the new hospitality way. Today hotels have so many amenities there is little room left to place the furnishings in the room. Customers keep demanding more and better items for their enjoyment, and of course without increasing the price. The hotelier is always looking for a batter way to attract business, and at a reasonable price.
How is one to succeed in such a crowded market today? What does an hotelier do? There is very little loyalty from the customer when choosing a hotel, since most look at price. What is necessary for a hotel to command loyalty from its customers without looking at price? The luxury division of hotels is not exempted from this. Why would a customer choose the Ritz over Four Seasons if price is equal, it would depend on the quality of the property perhaps? I personally think it has to do with style. Not all hotels have style, they all have the same items and rooms and such, but not style. There are a few hotels that ooze style that I have stayed at, I use these as example because I have experienced them. Overseas Italy Lake Como hotels (Villa d’Este) the Fairmont San Francisco. The Valencia la Jolla California. The Beverly Hills Hotel. There are more but these will give you an idea. These properties have style, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good hotels that are super nice, and worthy of their place and name. Some may poses style, but I have not stayed there so I can’t comment on them.
The question is how does one go about providing “style” in a hotel? There is no formula that I know of, it just something that separates it from the rest of the crowed. I would say it has to do with the people that run the hotel. It is up to the GM to install style in his property and invite the staff to join in. I say this for the simple reason that as hotels go so do GM’S not all have the necessary style to carry the property. This also goes for CEO’S as lately they have been playing musical chairs. Non Hotel Company with style (Starbucks) Run your hotel like Starbucks, can’t go wrong. They strive to produce the best cup of coffee available, and do it all with great customer service. Could a hotel do worse? Strive to provide the best customer experience, and do it all with a smile and be glad that you could.