Your Guests Are Just Not That Into You

By Ric Leutwyler CEO, EventSpark | December 27, 2015

Dear Hotelier, I know it's hard to hear, but your guests are just not that into you...

In the movie, He's Just Not That Into You, a young woman is regularly disappointed when she misreads signals from men. These days it seems that many hoteliers are either missing or mis-reading signals about how the ever changing nature of our mobile experience is affecting guest expectations.

We start off a little behind the curve in the hospitality industry when it comes to the pace of change in technology. The majority of brands are still using a CRS (central reservation system) that has its foundation in a decades-old platform. Only a small percentage of hotels have begun to leverage the flexibility and mobility of true cloud-based solutions. And yes, we still have hotels holding on to tube style televisions and charging for wi-fi access.

Economics certainly play a big role in this. The costs add up quickly when you are talking about making changes across dozens or hundreds of rooms. And hotel chains have to consider the impact of changing standards across hundreds or thousands of hotel owners. When money is available there is usually a long list of design and FF&E related upgrades that must be considered as well.

Hoteliers are used to making these kinds of decisions they just aren't used to making them in the face of a mobile revolution that seems to be changing guest expectations faster than a housekeeper can change the sheets.

Oh, the good old days - when all we had to worry about was how much to charge for long distance calls from the guest room phone. As mobile phones became more prevalent and cellular service plans more reasonable, we thought that losing long distance revenue was the big hit we would take from the these trends. Little did we know that this was the "easy" part.

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Coming up in November 2018...

Architecture & Design: Expecting the Unexpected

There are more than 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and the hotel industry is continually looking for new ways to differentiate its properties. In some cases, hotels themselves have become travel destinations and guests have come to expect the unexpected - to experience the touches that make the property unlike any other place in the world. To achieve this, architects and designers are adopting a variety of strategies to meet the needs of every type of guest and to provide incomparable customer experiences. One such strategy is site-integration - the effort to skillfully marry a hotel to its immediate surroundings. The goal is to honor the cultural location of the property, and to integrate that into the hotel's design - both inside and out. Constructing low-impact structures that blend in with the environment and incorporating local natural elements into the design are essential to this endeavor. Similarly, there is an ongoing effort to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces - to pull the outside in - to enable guests to connect with nature and enjoy beautiful, harmonious surroundings at all times. Another design trend is personalization - taking the opportunity to make every space within the hotel original and unique. The days of matching decor and furniture in every room are gone; instead, designers are utilizing unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture, diverse wall treatments and tiles - all to create a more personalized and fresh experience for the guest. Finally, lobbies are continuing to evolve. They are being transformed from cold, impersonal, business-like spaces into warm, inviting, living room-like spaces, meant to provide comfort and to encourage social interaction. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.