Risky Business: New Amenities Bump Revenue - and Claims

By Fran Sarmiento Executive Vice President, Venture Insurance Programs | July 28, 2013

With strong growth continuing and more revenue at their disposal, U.S. hotels are looking for new ways to attract guests. That often means adding or enhancing amenities, which today means much more than an ice machine and fitness center. From water parks and rooftop nightclubs to the concierge turned tour guide, hotels are looking to differentiate themselves.

As you start dreaming of the next renovation or service, you should also heed a word of caution: Unique amenities hold the potential to differentiate your hotel, but what sets you apart can also increase your risk and your insurance claims.

Does this mean you should stop dreaming? Not at all: you can add amenities that are lucrative, unique and safe, as long as you understand and prepare for their inherent risks with a strong risk management and safety program, as well as adequate insurance.

Waivers and Risk Transfer

Before examining some of the most popular amenities at hotels today, it's important to look at some risk management and insurance tools that apply to almost any amenity or service, whether you are adding a water park or just renting skis.

One important tool is the waiver. When guests sign these documents, they agree the hotel is not responsible for accidents, injuries and other harm to them or their possessions. While no waiver can eliminate a hotel's liability, especially if you are negligent, these documents can help minimize your financial responsibility when a claim is filed.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.