Hotel Amenities: Focus of competitive advantage

Joseph A. McInerney, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association remembers making a major decision for the Sheraton all the way back in 1967 — Should they make it mandatory for all their hotels to have color tvs? “It shows you how far we’ve come.”

Remotes and clock radios followed this decision and during the 1960’s we also see the inclusion of shampoo, lotions, and mouthwash to the ‘standard’ hotel room. We’ve become accustomed to these amenities — they are expected to be a part of each stay. Since then we’ve added a slew of products; sewing kits, shoe mitts/horns, and even coffee makers in the 1990’s. “Hotels don’t just wake up one morning and say, ‘Gee, I’m going to do this because the consumer wants it.’ The hotel industry does research,” McInerney said. “We’re always looking to get an edge on our competitors.”

With all the ‘swag’ a lodger can expect to accompany their reservation, it is not uncommon for hotels to find that their products have been swiped by their own guests. This has inspired hotels like the Hilton to actually put prices on their amenities so guests can take home the iconic branded goodies.

The race for hotels to differentiate themselves has been taken to a new level with the advancement in technologies over the years — in-room wifi, advanced climate control, and even mirror televisions are examples that are helping elevate the standard of expectations in everything from small motels all the way to mega-chain hotels. New technologies are exciting for guests and offer them unique experiences that could possibly redefine their standard of comfort. One such example are heated towel racks which are becoming a popular addition to hotel bathrooms; the experience of a warm, fluffy, and dry towel changes a guest’s expectation of luxury for every consecutive hotel stay that comes after their introduction. “It’s just not the same!” Leveraging this expectation gives hotels a competitive edge and helps them redefine the idea of a comfortable stay.

Have you ever encountered new amenities during a hotel stay? Did they improve your experience? Let us know!