Ok, so regular readers of this blog will know my frustrations with wi-fi in hotels and also know that I complain about this regularly! However, after a recent stay at a property in the UK (a large international hotel chain which will remain nameless) I thought I’d highlight to any hotels out there the effect of non-delivery can have on your property and overall guest experience.
1. Internet & Wi-Fi – If you offer wi-fi, people do not mind paying for it, at a reasonable cost. And let’s face it, hotels were bringing in great income from room phone call charges before everybody had mobiles of their own, and this revenue stream has never really been replaced. Wi-fi is an easy way to claw this back and bring income to your property. However, if you offer wi-fi, please make sure the signal strength and speed to up to standard. After paying £10 for 24 hour access, I had “Poor” signal strength throughout. This was fine for checking emails – anything more and viewing the internet was like going back in time. Websites with Flash took endless amounts of time to load, and you can forget the BBC iPlayer! This reflects so badly on a hotel and leaves guest extremely frustrated (especially those paying for the service!). As a subnote, and as some noticed on Twitter, a hotel I stayed in recently had to come to my room to grant me access to wi-fi! Very strange process!
2. Newspapers – More and more hotels are now offering a complementary newspaper each morning of your stay (well, not budget hotels!). This is a really nice added extra that guests often do to not expect. Standing at a front desk, I quite regularly hear “is it free” in response to the offer. So hotels – once you have made the guest really happy that they are getting something for nothing, make sure you deliver. Twice now in the past couple of months I have been offered a complimentary newspaper, and never received it – it may be free, but guests expect it once offered!
3. Cleanliness – No matter what star rating your property has, no matter if your budget of five-star luxury, there is no excuse for poor cleanliness. To walk into a hotel bathroom and be greeted with hairs in the shower and unclean sinks is totally unacceptable.
4. Structural Investment – Some properties, especially purpose built, city centre hotels often have rooms facing, or directly above all of the ventilation and air conditioning systems. Throughout the night, all a guest can hear is the drone of these machines. Invest in your infrastructure! Triple glazed windows block this out perfectly. I know this is expenses, so use your heads – some hotels where I have experiences this have had very low occupancy at that time – make sure your front desk know to allocate people in these rooms last, not first.
5. Room Investment – This week, at this large international chain hotel, clear investment had been made to the public areas. However, corridors and guest bedrooms had not seen a penny of improvement. And I am not talking about refurbishing rooms here, only simple things. For example, replace the table that is covered in burnt-on stains ans ring marks, replace lights that can not stand upright any longer, re-paint that bathroom door covered in irremovable finger marks, make sure the main door actually closes easily, add some artwork to the long dull corridor walls, that kind of thing. What should have been a four star hotel, was more like a 2-3 star with all of these issues.
Well, that concludes another moan! In all seriousness though, if you’re a hotel and reading this post, please remember it’s the smallest touches that makes a guest come back and recommend a property – and when they go wrong or do not deliver as promised, you have real problems.