Getting the Amenity Mix Right - From Traditional to Extraordinary
By Tara K. Gorman Partner, Perkins Coie LLP | July 07, 2013
Towels, soap, shampoos, internet access, in-room coffee, ironing board, television, game station, fresh baked cookies, spa, bicycles, boats, continental breakfast, luxury bathrobes, valet parking, pet psychic – and the list of hotel amenities goes on and on.
What is considered an "amenity" and what is considered "standard" changes over time, from market to market, and from asset class to asset class of the hotel industry. Amenities are often the driver when making a choice between similarly situated hotels. When traveling with kids the most important question about a hotel has traditionally been, "Is there a pool?" but these days, the kids may just ask, "Is there a recording studio?" When on business travel, internet access, an ironing board and plenty of outlets are mandatory.
Times are changing and business travelers are also looking for lifestyle amenities such as yoga classes, dietary amenities and life support services. When dragging the family along on a business trip – well, that's another story completely! So how do hotel owners, hotel operators and brands determine what the right amenity mix is for their target traveler and for their hotel?
Hotel owners and operators are keenly aware of the amenity mix and how getting it right for their target traveler will affect the bottom line. The first question to ask when looking at the amenity mix for a particular hotel is "what kind of hotel is it?" Smith Travel Research (STR), a leader in data collection for the lodging industry, compares operational statistics between different property types by categorizing the hotel industry into six segments known as "chain scales": luxury, upper-upscale, upscale, midscale (with food and beverage), midscale (without food and beverage) and economy. However, when looking at the amenity mix rather than operational statistics, the categorization of asset classes is more useful. For purposes of this article we will use three asset classes: limited-service, select-service and full-service.
There are some amenities that are just "standard" – towels, shampoo, conditioner, soap, washcloths, television, telephone, iron, ironing board, smoke detectors, wake up service – the "stuff" you'd generally expect to find in any hotel. For purposes of this article, these types of amenities will be considered as "standard" and included in all of the asset classes.
Limited-Service Hotel Amenities
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