Service in the Bedroom: Making Experiences Memorable

By Roberta Nedry President and Founder, Hospitality Excellence, Inc. | February 20, 2011

You have arrived, your moment of anticipation is here, you are about to open the door to your sleeping chamber for the night, also your temporary living quarters. You are about to experience perhaps the strongest impression making moment of your hotel stay. You have activated your contribution to the revenue per available room (REVPAR) of that property. You are entering—"the bedroom"

What do your senses tell you the moment you enter the room you have been given as a result of your reservation? What kind of experience will you have in this intimate space you will call “home” for the next period of hours or days? Will you be able to find your way around the room? What kind of service will you experience in the bedroom?

What makes the guest's room experience memorable? What are the dos and don’ts of bedroom service and how does each department/role of the hotel impact that intimate space?

It is never easy to arrive late in the evening to any hotel. The guest may be tired and probably grumpy and ready to crawl into bed. There have been at least three occasions in the past year when that grumpy guest has been me. After a long day of work, travel and transitions, I was ready for my rest. After checking in, it took me less than 10 minutes to unpack, wash my face, brush my teeth and jump into a soft, clean bed. That was the first time I relaxed and felt relieved knowing I was on my way to a well-deserved rest.

Little did I know that at 4am, the alarm clock would interrupt that rest and completely disrupt the euphoric state of REM sleep I had just reached. I woke up startled, disoriented, surprised and confused. I tried to remember what meeting I had, what commitment I had made, what reason I had for waking up at 4am. Then, after I was finally wide awake, I realized I had no reason and that the alarm had been set and left by the last guest. Now, I was angry. Why didn’t housekeeping check the clock and especially the alarm to make sure my sleep would not be interrupted? Falling back asleep was not easy or peaceful from that moment on, especially since I could not wait to wake up and complain about this overlooked step. As I mentioned, this happened at least three times last year, and two of those occasions were on weekends, my free pass for a late sleep that was not to be.

Checking the clocks for accuracy, making sure a pleasant volume and station are on for the first time the guest opts to turn on the radio or alarm, making sure the alarm is not on when a new guest checks in and even cleaning the clock since dust seems to accumulate in the little crevices would seem to be part of basic steps in clock etiquette and bedroom service. Yet guests frequently exchange “alarm clock nightmare” stories that leave them feeling unrested and unhappy.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.