Have you ever stayed at your own hotel and put yourself in the shoes of the guest?
Regardless of your personal feelings about technology, you must put them aside and get to grips with the fact that guests expect nothing less than complimentary Wi-Fi in every part of the hotel, realistically nobody wants to have to sit in the reception area to surf the internet.
And then there are those places that haven’t just taken this on board, they have actually gone above and beyond to impress. Take South Lodge and Dormy House for example, they provide guests with a tablet in their room so that they can order room service or book a table for dinner. You should also cater for the generation of smartphone users, preferably with an iPod docking station in the room.
Because of the expensive equipment that we carry around with us, a laptop safe is a nice touch that makes us feel a bit more secure when we have to leave valuable items in the room. And if it has charging facilities in there, so much the better.
With increasing numbers of families wanting luxury breaks, those hotels that cater for children should make sure they go the extra mile. Bovey Castle has a fantastic Lego Room Service, which allows children to select from a Lego menu so that it can be delivered to their room. What child wouldn’t love this? And happy children make happy parents. Alternatively, you could simply make sure you have a good selection of toys, books, games and facilities available. An Ofsted registered crèche, kid’s clubs and babysitting services are all great ideas when catering for families.
Similarly for pet friendly hotels, expect that all owners treat their pet as a member of the family, so you must too. The Hare and Hounds in Tetbury provides a dog walking map, while others have bowls, treats and blankets to ensure your pooch leaves feeling pampered.
A real bone of contention at many hotels is the lack of comfortable pillows. Because each and every guest has different requirements, a creative option is to offer a pillow menu, which will appeal to everyone especially allergy sufferers. At Lainston House there is a fantastic selection of non-allergenic and anti-bacterial pillows, which are dabbed in a soothing lavender sleep balm at turn down.
Hotel 41 in London certainly knows how to welcome you. Sent to guests prior to arrival, the booking preference form lets you choose from a host of additional facilities in your room, including a variety of pillows, yoga mat and even an exercise bike.
If you want to know how to really make a guest feel special, you could always take a leaf out of Lake District hotel The Brimstone’s book. Not only will you find a GHD hair dryer and hair straighteners in each of its suites, the mood lighting; personal host and reading room, where complimentary refreshments are available throughout the day, provide an experience that certainly will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Over the last few decades the coffee revolution has sparked the desire for a quality coffee machine in hotel rooms, as well as fresh milk. At The Arch in London guests can enjoy a decent cup of coffee from the Nespresso Machine. If you really want to push the boat out, homemade cookies or a cake to welcome your guests will go down a treat.
A personal favourite of mine, in terms of overall hotel experience, has to be the Jetty Spa Trail at Gilpin Lake House. They really know how to do things in style there. Beginning with a private aroma consultation so that personalised products can be created for you to take home, you can also enjoy a private swim, salt snug, aroma massage and a glass of champagne in the private hot tub, which sits on the edge of the woodland.
Many hotels now understand the importance of providing guests with branded toiletry products, but St Moritz goes one step further with its own exclusive range of botanical products, which are also suitable for vegetarians to use.
By Zoe Cole of CrispWhiteSheets
Read more: hotelowner.co.uk