New Amenities, New Risks: How to Protect Your Guests and Your Business

By John Welty Practice Leader, SUITELIFE, Venture Insurance Programs | December 16, 2018

These days, hotels and resorts are doing everything they can to differentiate themselves from the competition. They'll do much more than "leave the light on for you," offering a variety of amenities and experiences from new water-park like swimming pools with slides and lazy rivers to exotic car rentals. They are competing not only on price, comfort, availability, and location, but also on amenities.

In searching for that perfect hotel, the online search parameters can be overwhelming. Are you looking for a secluded hotel away from the hustle and bustle of the big city or are you looking for an inter-city retro hotel? Are you looking for something family friendly or a hotel that provides more of a romantic get-away atmosphere? Do you want a resort with golf amenities or daily excursions? The search possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, with new amenities and services, come new risk exposures and in many cases, hotel owners and operators may not have considered the risks these new amenities can introduce for their guests, employees and bottom lines. Ignoring these risk exposures, however, can put your guests and employees at risk of injury or even death, and in turn, could cause irreparable damage to the hotel's reputation and its future.

Pools, Fitness Centers and Spas

Most guests think they understand the risks of using a hotel pool or fitness center. These two amenities are very common for hotels, whether high-end or economy.

Take the pool exposure–most guests are aware of rules like no diving, no running, and no glass in the pool area. Hotels post signs when no lifeguard is on duty, post pool depth markers, and state that the pool is to be used by guests only. Similarly, hotels post rules and procedures for their gyms or workout facilities with which many guests are familiar. Hotel owners and operators post policies and procedures, age restrictions and 'use at your own risk' signs. These are amenities that are familiar to most, if not all guests, and as a result, can pose less catastrophic exposure to the hotelier.

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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.