Category Archives: Hotel features

Is 2014 the Year of 24 Hour Hotel Stays?

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A new year, a new way hotels should be doing business.

Every industry has its own standard accepted practices of how a product is priced and sold. We all know that sticker price is not what a car really costs, and tips at a bar or restaurant aren’t really optional. Though it makes perfect sense to be able to pay for just the channels you want, cable companies only sell packages. Sometimes business practices are just done the same way for so long that they stay that way.

The hospitality industry has established very specific rules for what their product is. Hotels usually adhere strictly to the check-in after 3pm and leave before noon rule. Now, compare that with renting a car. Avis and Enterprise will rent you a car for a full 24-hour period, definitely a different concept of renting.

What if hotels adopted the rent-a-car model?  Think about the convenience of not having to worry about checking in and out at specific times.  Just arrive at the hotel whenever you want, and leave sometime in the next 24 hours. Rather than enforcing a strict, and often inconvenient, schedule hotels should be accommodating to travelers. Right?

24 hour stays could be a huge competitive advantage!

Clearly there are some disadvantages to this plan, offering more room time at the same or similar price is a major drawback. Giving guests a  longer period of time  and not knowing when they check out will result in higher operating costs and lower room turnover.

There’s a reason hotels have been so set in their 3pm to noon schedule. It’s easy and cheap.

BUT…

24 hour stays provide such a convenience factor it would have the potential to drastically improve a brands loyalty. It would also bolster a brand’s claim of putting customers first!

Also, brands can get the marketing benefit of 24 hour rooms without actually renting out their rooms for 24-hour chunks. Most people aren’t going to stay from 12pm monday till 11:59 Tuesday. They will come at a convenient time and leave at a convenient time, likely less than a full 24 hour period.

Who knows, maybe we’ve become so conditioned that guests will stick surprisingly close to the 3pm till noon schedule, even though it’s not required.

Testing the Water 

24 hour rooms aren’t a completely theoretical idea, they have been implemented before, but only in small, restricted ways. Starwood has a program based on the concept of 24-hour room options, but it requires a certain level of membership in the Starwood preferred guest program.

Other brands, like  Meritus have used the idea of 24 hour stays as a short term promotional technique.

Unfortunately these examples  miss the true potential of 24-hour stays.

Novelty, or a game-changer? 

Are 24-hour stays a novelty or a gimmick, or could they substantial change the way hotel stays are thought of?

If a brand utilized the idea of 24 hour stay as a core part of their business, and not as a limited promotion, they could really differentiate themselves in a market that sometimes border on commoditization.

The idea has been used, but never to the extent of basing a brand’s identity around it. Maybe an established brand could have a sub-set of properties: Holiday Inn 24. Sheraton 24-hour stay etc. The possibilities are endless.

Though we know it’s unlikely to catch on, we’re hoping somebody will give this idea a shot.

Sometimes it’s just interesting to think about shaking up the status quo. Just because everyone else is things a certain way doesn’t mean that that is the best way. 

What do you think, can 24 hour stays be the way of the future? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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The Evolution of Boutique

What is boutique? The term ‘boutique’ is French for shop. It’s been used to describe a beautiful version of a shop, with a more relaxed and one of a kind feel. Interestingly enough as our world becomes more uniform, small towns in Ohio mimicking small towns in Arizona, our individualistic nature yearns for differentiation.

Our shopping habits demand something different and the market responds. As more and more boutique shops emerge, the word “boutique” takes on a new meaning.

Within the hospitality industry boutique represents a property in the independent sector of the market distinguishing itself from larger chains. Boutique hotels pride themselves on providing their guests with a more intimate and comfortable stay and do so by using a creative vision unique to the design seen in big hotel chains. Nowhere is this more evident than at Boutique Design.

Boutique Design New York 2013 was inspirational. Offering examples from various industries and showcasing how boutiques are turning to fine art to stand out and give them a creative edge. One space in which this is evident is at the New York Palace’s lobby lounge, designed by the design and planning firm Champalimaud, with the highlight of the space being the chandelier made from hundreds of pieces of glass-blown spheres hanging from the ceiling. This piece truly acts as a glowing lantern floating in the center of the space emanating light upon the more dark interiors in the space.

New York Palace's Lobby Lounge

Another boutique property pushing boundaries is The Alexander in Indianapolis, which has teamed up with the local contemporary art museum to display a 50-piece art collection in its public spaces. The collection illustrates how art and boutique properties are becoming more and more intertwined which could forecast the future of boutiques.

Lastly, while many boutique properties are using decorative art as a way to create a more unique atmosphere, they are also using it as a form of functional art in these spaces as well.

One great and inspiring example of this from Boutique Design New York can be seen in the St. Regis Shenzhen, which has been undergoing a design transformation headed by the design group CCD – Cheng Chung Design, are the sculptural chairs located in the hotels restaurant Elba. These chairs help to add a modern and one of a kind feel to an already exotic design by combining fine art with interior design to create a more functional yet creative feel.

St. Regis Shenzen room

 

 

 

 

Though boutique hotels seem to be changing in their demand, they are also going back to their roots as being types of unique shops with the fine art pieces that are inhibiting the spaces more and more. This goes to show that while boutique hotels may be in high demand and that the market is changing, they still remain unique and creative spaces for guests.

What Does the Future of Hotel Technology Look Like?

hospitality tech

Apple’s big announcement this week put us in a technologically minded mood here at McConnell Marketing. Unfortunately, as fun as they are, the newest iPhones weren’t quite hospitality relevant enough to justify a blog-post. However, the latest advancements in cell-phone technology did make us wonder what technological changes will take place in the hospitality industry in the future. Here are some of our predictions for the future of hotel tech!

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is going to become freely available in all hotels! Hotel Chatter has put out a hotel Wi-Fi report since 2004, and this year 64% of hotels offered free Wi-Fi!  Ironically, it’s the higher-end luxury hotels that are still holding on to the concept of charging a premium for internet access. It’s okay though, because the trend is definitely moving in the direction of free for everyone. Soon enough hotel Wi-Fi will be treated like having running water, electricity, and television in a room.

Apps

This is a pretty easy prediction. Apps are becoming common for everything whether they make sense or not. We know that at least the Marriot and St. Regis have already jumped on the app bandwagon, and many more brands are sure to follow. St. Regis has gone with an e-butler app, which fits nicely with their branding strategy while Marriot has been a bit bolder by creating a mobile gaming app.

Netflix

Complimentary Netflix is coming! The television industry is changing and the on-demand video streaming service Netflix has drastically changed the way people consume media. Hotel  Management wrote about this trend last December, and Netflix has only grown in popularity since then. Obviously down the rode Netflix won’t be the only service of this kind, but the general idea of on-demand watching of your favorite shows will continue to grow in popularity.

Glass?

This concept video by Corning in 2011 makes the future look… Awesome! How cool would it be to have a touch screen display built into your hotel windows and mirrors? Thought it’s certainly technology that won’t be available for at least 15 or 20 years, the advent of tablet computing and multi-touch smart-phone screens make this idea seem a lot closer and realistic.

Easier Charging

When is the adapter for the outlet going to go away? Some coffee shops and other places where people gather have started putting built in USB wall chargers next to, or replacing, their outlets. It’s a difficult proposition for a Hotel since there are quite a few outlets to change, not to mention the fact that the standard for device charging chords keeps changing. Maybe conductive charging will solve the problem. Either way, it seems to make sense for hotels to adapt and provide people with a less clunky charging experience for their devices.

Social Media Specific to Travel

One of the more interesting potential directions social media could take is  specialization and niche sites. This already exists to some extent but how specialized will things get? Will sites like TripAdvisor , or Expedia become more socially integrated? Will travellerspoint type-sites become more popular? Social media can be really tough to predict, but travel exclusive social networking sites are something to keep an eye out for.

Smart Wake-Up

Though most travelers still use a wakeup call, or their phone as an alarm. What if hotels provided a more natural wake-up experience?Imagine that at your specified wakeup time your hotel room gradually turned up the lights in your room, or adjusted the temperature while providing the gentle sound of birds chirping.  It may sound futuristic but alarm clocks based around this type of concept already exist!  Taking the concept of a more natural wakeup to an entire room level would be an amenity guests could really appreciate!

Which of these predictions do you think is most likely to come to fruition? Give us your feedback in the comments below!

Hotels with Unique Extras

 

Hotels with unique extras

 

Trip Advisor recently posted a list of 10 hotels with unusual extras. It’s a little reminiscent of our “4 Hotel Amenities Done Right” post. Though some of these extras seem a little outlandish and unnecessary, it’s exciting to know that these types of creative additions exist. We picked out three from the list that we thought were extra unusual.

 

Giraffe Manor Nairobi, Kenya

Giraffe Manor is a hotel located in Nairobi. This hotel’s primary extra is the fact that giraffes roam around the property, interact with guests, and even stick their heads inside the hotel from time to time. Unsurprisngly, the guest reviews are fantastic. It sounds like a genuinely well-established hotel, that also happens to have giraffes, not the other way around.

Surprisingly, Giraffe Manor is only the #2 ranked specialty-lodging choice in Nairobi!

 

Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand’s nickname is the Land of a Thousand Smiles. Dhara Dhevi’s unique extra is that guests get to plant rice and learn to cook Thai cuisine. Though these might not sound like smile inducing activities, just being outside in that country is enough to make you smile!

A major part of traveling is experiencing  local culture and customs and making memories. Hanging out inside of a hotel room isn’t exactly a memorable experience, but getting your hands dirty (literally in the case of rice planting) with the locals is something guests will remember for the rest of their lives.

 

Cannery Pier Hotel Astoria, Oregon

Our first U.S. based hotel on our list makes guests feel like big shots. Guests can choose a classic car to be chauffeured to and from their restaurant of choice! Being chauffeured is an impressive amenity by itself, but supplying classic cars makes this addition special.

Staying in a high end hotel and enjoying the night life of Astoria is a great experience, but just add-in classic cars and chauffer service, and that makes for a night to remember.

 

Of course a unique extra by itself is never going to make or break a hotel, and plenty of guests that stay at these properties may not take advantage of them, but it’s an interesting trend that we hope continues!

Make sure to check out the rest of the 10 hotels with unusual extras list at Tripadvisor.

 

What’s your favorite hotel extra? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Should Your Hotel Be Juicing?

Juicing

 

The move towards natural and organic foods is a growing trend in the United States, and L.A. hotels are capitalizing by focusing on the juicing fad.

In their article, “Need to Detox from Cocktail Week? These Hotels are Now Juicing” HotelChatter.com points out the prevalence of the pricey trend of Southern California hotels offering fresh pressed juices.

One juice sold by the Beverly Hills Hotel features Spinach, Romaine, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple and Lemon for $12.

Weather or not the purported health benefits are worth the price is up to consumers, but these juices can definitely help you at least meet your fruit and veggie quota for the day.

It will be interesting to see if there is enough demand for this trend to expand. Obviously the high price will limit the drinks in certain markets, but its worth keeping an eye on none-the-less.

 

If you are planning a trip to L.A., Hotel Chatter lists the following as Juicing hotels:

– Beverly Hills Hotel

– Mondrian West Hollywood

– Four Seasons Los Angeles

– Chateau Marmont

 

Is juicing a high priority amenity to you? Give us your feedback in the comments section below!