Hospitality is truly about what matters most to guests: a strong cup of Joe, a fast hair dryer, a fully stocked minibar, a fridge for chilling beverages. And, the ever-changing needs and desires of travelers can vary across all chain scales.
“Traditional transient hotels haven’t changed much. There’s typically a mini fridge, small microwave and coffeepot,” said Terry Atkins, VP of marketing communications, Extended Stay America. “In the extended-stay segment, full-size fridges are being offered with stainless-steel surfaces. Cooktops are going from coil electric to glass cooktops, and, in some cases, induction cooking is being introduced. Some brands are replacing microwaves with microwave convection ovens.”
Ashley Dora, VP of operations at Dora Hotel Company, noted her company is upgrading a Hilton Garden Inn with stainless-steel microwaves and refrigerators. “It’s a nicer look and feel and a clean aesthetic,” she said. “They’re bringing a brighter look to the guestroom.”
Beyond making sure the appliances in the room are efficient, up-to-date and provide the best service possible, it’s wise to look at the trends and understand exactly how guests want to use the space now and in the future.
“I think the concept of self-care and convenience will be especially huge in 2018. A hotel room should feel like home with everything you need at your fingertips—and a few additional fun things as well to maximize the vacation feeling,” said Joanna Sanchez, GM of W New York – Downtown. “We’re seeing an uptick in guests asking about things like personal trainers and nearby fitness classes. Business travelers need a room that suits their lifestyle, and while they want to enjoy things like our fully stocked W MixBars, they also want to be able to keep up with a few good habits too, like the gym.”
What’s trending among travelers? In-room appliances that are anything but standard. “Depending on brand, size of property and location, the retro-style of the adorable sassy red SMEG mini fridge is a hot item and used in many boutique properties as a lifestyle personal piece in the guestrooms,” said Stina Funch, co-founder, president and creative director, Atwater Inc. Studio. “Keurig’s retro-style, single-server coffeemaker is on our hot list, too. These days, it’s not enough to have a coffeemaker or a fridge, you have to be fashionable. Hoteliers should be on their toes for the ever-savvy travelers’ high expectations and the rise of the mobile search.”
“Nespresso machines, quality hair dryers, iPad room remotes, mini fridges and microwaves—if room space is appropriate—are all trending,” explained Antonio Bugarin, hotel manager at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. “Hoteliers should pay attention to all of those things, as the exclusion of one is extremely noticeable and, many times, incredibly inconvenient especially during a stay of multiple nights when one might want to have chilled water or wine or soda on hand, or a place to store snacks or heat up a quick bite.”
Convenience is key. If an appliance can help guests do it faster or better, change and innovation will follow, noted Atkins.
“It all depends on what the guest needs and is willing to pay for. At Extended Stay America, we equip our rooms with what our guests have expressed is important to them,” said Atkins. “Most of our guests are spending their own money and, therefore, they balance their wants and needs with cost. I don’t see us allowing our amenity cost to creep up—value is a key driver for our brand.”