Keeping Up with the Joneses
By David Benton Vice President and General Manager, The Rittenhouse Hotel | October 28, 2008
"Amenity Creep" is certainly a paradox in today's conservation environment. While management in one hotel is offering guests the option of not laundering their sheets and towels, to conserve water and electricity, the competitor on the other side of the street, has just enhanced the weight and number of towels placed in the bathroom adding significant usage of water end electricity in their laundry operation. Which hotelier made the right decision? The guest will ultimately be judge and jury, and like most things in life, some guests will prefer conservation, while others holler, "I want more!"
There is no question that the overall demand by travelers for the "extra" touches and the impact it makes on repeat business is driving hoteliers to outdo their competitors. Who doesn't marvel at the oversized flat-screen TV's in both the bedroom and bathroom and the incredible picture quality at the Mandarin Hotel in New York City, or enjoy the Presidential Suite at the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan with its own opulent swimming pool.
Are hotels with the latest and greatest attracting more guests? Absolutely. The Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas is planning a $10 million dollar investment in new suites and the spa. Certainly their expectations are high that these improvements will create a handsome return on investment. Try making a reservation at a luxury resort charging $750-$2,500 per night during high season, with a 5 and in some cases 7 day-minimum. Better call early, rooms, suites and casitas are going fast! And yes, these resorts and city hotels have the latest technology, the finest amenities, the most exquisite spas and extra-extra special services to pamper their guests.
Join the bandwagon or be left behind. No city can boast being bigger and better than Las Vegas, now developing multi-billion dollar projects, having ultra-luxury hotels embedded in the 'mother' hotel, and every imaginable service and amenity available for guests at a moment's notice. The soon-to-be, 150,000 room city just keeps growing and growing, each property finding more innovative and awesome amenities to add to their impressive menu of services.
Where did it start? Statler Hotels of old, were quite innovative in their day... they cut under the guest room entry doors, so that the morning newspaper could be pushed under the door, while the Brits walked right into your room at 7.00 a.m with a nice cup of tea and morning biscuits and a cheery, "Hello dearie, I have a nice cuppa for you!" Things have changed over the years.
Let's take a glance at some of the offerings from yesteryear and today.