The 5 spaces of focus

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Pour a little extra into these spaces, and leave your competition in the dust.

By Kristin Alexin

It’s tough to be a hotelier nowadays – the competition is fierce. Everyone is trying to figure out how to attract more guests. As a hotel owner, you probably wrack your brain on a daily basis wondering, “How can I stand out? Am I generating enough interest? Should I run more ads? Am I tweeting enough? Should I be snapchatting? What even is Snapchat?”

When trying to get a leg up on the competition, it’s easy to get wrapped up in advertising, technology and the promotion of your hotel.

But one basic fact remains: If your hotel doesn’t have amazing amenities, none of that will matter. To truly draw guests to your hotel like bees to honey, you need to focus on five very important areas. Boost your amenities in these spaces, and you’ll make your competitors green with envy.

Fitness centers
A quick look at Instagram hashtags and Facebook posts will tell you that now, more than ever, people are making health and fitness a priority in their lives. Are your fitness amenities hashtag-worthy, or are guests completely overlooking your gym? Offering clean, top-of-the-line equipment and extended hours are two obvious ways to get guests to your gym, but try thinking outside the box.

Little conveniences go a long way. Items like disposable headphones, foam rollers and yoga mats will delight your true-blue fitness junkies. Busy guests who forget to pack their workout gear will be thrilled to learn your hotel offers athletic clothing and shoe rentals for minimal fees. Running without music is boring – consider rentals for travelers who forgot their tunes. Now those are some #FitnessGoals.

Breakfast areas
Making your breakfast area a place that guests want to be is a smart move in getting ahead of your competitors. Just like your fitness area, extended hours are a good idea – more breakfast time is never a bad thing.

People love variety, so offer plenty of options. Go beyond fresh fruits and boxed cereals. Cater to all diets and lifestyles: Vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, etc. Build-your-own-omelet bars are always a hit, and small deviations from the norm are sure to make a big impact. Have easy-to-grab options for your busy guests so they can get breakfast on their way out the door.

Offer alternative waffle and pancake toppings (fruit, powdered sugar, and whipped cream to name a few), and think beyond your standard cup of coffee. Add in flavored creamers and coffees to make your coffee bar irresistible.

Guest rooms
Your first plan of attack when it comes to guest rooms is obvious: Make them easy to find. After a long day of travel, nobody wants to wander around – they want to get to their room. Making sure your directional and room number signage looks nice and is easy to read will cut down on guest roaming and frustration.

And once your guests get to their rooms, make it like home. You obviously want your beds comfortable, your sheets soft and your pillows softer. But to really ramp up your guest room experience, go beyond comfy beds and sheets.

Offering Netflix or Hulu as a standard in your rooms will appease your avid binge-watching guests. Give them free WiFi. Instead of tiny coffee pots with instant coffee packets, put a single-roast brewer in each room, and stock plenty of single-roast cups.

And when it comes to your bathrooms, surprise your guests with great-smelling shampoos, conditioners and lotions. Convenient cosmetics are great, but they’re even better when they’re high quality.

Pools and spas
Whether your pool is indoor or outdoor (or both), you know that it’s a place your guests love to be. Keeping your pool clean, safe and well-lit is essential to creating an appealing environment, but there are some other ways you can go above and beyond in providing an awesome aquatic experience for your guests. If you have an outdoor-only pool, consider offering sunscreen and sunglasses to make sure your guests are well-protected. Offering kid-friendly items like goggles, floaties and swim diapers will make a splash with parents.

Does your hotel’s pool have a snack bar? If not, consider opening one up – swimmers get hungry. And of course, always have towels available for guests who forget theirs. It’s a win/win: Your guests will be happy you thought of them, and you’ll be happy they’re not tracking water through your hotel while they retrieve their forgotten towels.

Quiet zones
Some guests are more sensitive to noise than others, and that’s why “quiet zone” floors are becoming more popular. Quiet zone floors generally offer the promise that kids, large groups or other noise-making demographics won’t be booked on that floor. Quiet zone floors often have guest room doors that don’t slam, and guarantee that no housekeeping or maintenance will take place between certain hours.

In return, they ask that guests on the quiet zone floors do their part by keeping the volume on their TVs and radios down, and practice common courtesy to their fellow peace-loving guests. In addition to all of these things, consider offering ear plugs and eye masks to your quiet zone guests so they can get an even better night’s sleep.

If you implement a quiet zone, make sure the area is clearly marked with the rules so guests know what to expect.

What’s next?
Once you’ve taken our suggestions and have implemented changes that make your amenities absolutely irresistible, what’s next? How do you get the word out and let people know that your hotel is the place to be?

Running advertisements and posting on your hotel’s social media pages about your new, exciting amenities is the fastest way to get word to the masses. But don’t forget to get your employees involved, too.

Make sure your staff is well-trained on all of your hotel’s incredible offerings. Consider creating fliers to hand out to guests upon check-in, or post signage around your lobby and most frequented areas to ensure they’re in-the-know.

Focus on these five areas of your hotel and in no time flat, you’ll find yourself light years ahead of your competition.      ■

Kristin Alexin is a national accounts manager for HOTELSIGNS.com, the nation’s leading provider of ADA-compliant hotel signage. Contact her at kristinalexin@hotelsigns.com or 888-273-8726.

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