Savvy travelers are challenging hoteliers to not only keep up with the trends, but to develop their own new ideas in hotel amenities. We previously touched on hotel lobbies becoming social gathering spots for guests and locals alike, but beyond that trend, hotels are using some pretty creative ideas to serve their customers.
My favorite is the paperless check-in. Kiosks are popping up in hotel lobbies much like in airline terminals. Guests can check themselves in and go directly to the room. Some hotels, like the New York Andaz Wall Street, have a personal concierge who will greet you at the door with an iPad and, while walking you to your room, process a payment and produce a room key.
iPads are also being used to provide self-guided walking tours of the neighborhood. At The Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo, a guest can browse the Imperial Gardens or the hotel’s extensive art collection with a complimentary iPad.
If one prefers an art tour with a live person, The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto offers tours of its contemporary art collection guided by artist Sam Mogelonsky.
Guests have come to expect complimentary in-room Wi-Fi. For high level business travelers, according to a recent study by LMA Communications, that segment rates hi-speed internet access as the most important factor in selecting a hotel beyond a good night’s sleep. Trend-setting hotels are now exceeding that bare minimum of technology to enable guests to connect their laptops and MP3 players to the in-room flat screen TV.
And if a guest is out and about and wants to find a restaurant or tickets to a show, a digital concierge can be readily available via text to make reservations or reserve tickets.
Pack light – Stay fit
Keeping up an exercise program is challenging on the road. Many times I’ve packed my workout gear only to unpack it because it was crowding the suitcase. Now, Westin Hotels will provide guests with everything they need for working out, including shoes, shorts, shirts, sports bras and socks. And, yes, there is a disposable in-sole.
A matter of taste
At high end and boutique properties, the foodie trend of eating local has taken hold. Hotels are hiring chefs who are growing their own herbs and even keeping their own beehives. The W in San Francisco has installed hives on the rooftop that will supply honey for use in their restaurant.
If you have been travelling lately, I would be interested in hearing about any terrific new hotel trends you have experienced.