The cost of a successful guest experience
The cost of a successful guest experience
31 MARCH 2017 7:16 AM

There’s a lot to consider when assembling today’s budgets and profit-and-loss statements, as the cost of operating a hotel becomes more about giving guests what they want.

The cost of operating a hotel involves much more than ever before. We have to consider the investments needed to provide the guest with the ideal experience, to proactively execute effective marketing and operating systems, and of course, the talent pool that pulls it all together.

There’s the capital investment to keep our hotels, restaurants and assets up-to-date and in good repair. And for those of us who pay franchise fees, online travel agency commissions and other third party partners too, how much of what we bring in actually does come back to our bottom line? How do we retain the efficiency of our net revenue per available room?

The cost of hotel room sales and the costs involved in operating the hotel overall are always of utmost importance to an owner. It is increasingly challenging for us to keep on trend and ensure an outstanding guest experience without investment of more and more capital.

As an owner of midscale hotels for more than 30 years, I have seen numerous trends come and go. By listening to the millennial generation, the ever more impactful Generation X and baby boomers, guests want simplicity in their accommodations while gaining enriching experiences. While millennials are driving this change, Gen X and baby boomers are the ones with stronger buying power.

What guests want
Of course all travelers have high expectations, and it is incumbent on us to stay abreast of the latest and greatest trends and technologies in our hotel and restaurant offerings.

These wants include:

  • The best food options, with creativity at the forefront of their meals;
  • wellness integrated into every aspect of their stay—from eco-friendly rooms to gym facilities;
  • technology to be connected and more efficient; and
  • “personalized” everything. This means concierges who plan unique day trips, servers who accommodate every food request with pleasure, loyalty programs that remember birthdays—hotels that give each individual the exact experience they desire.

We have to listen closely to stay on top of trends and anticipate guests’ wants and needs.

Food and beverage
This new direction requires the best food options, from the coffee bar in the lobby to roomservice. Select-service hotels need top-notch restaurant recommendations and reservation connections for our guests. Yesterday’s luxury is today’s creativity.

Hip and trendy restaurants are measurably more appealing to today’s travelers. Guests want locally sourced or exotic ingredients—outstanding service with unique flare. How can we create experiences that are remarkable and memorable for our guests?

Health and wellness
Guests want wellness integrated into their entire hotel experience. Wellness is about the overall experience—having a room that is comfortable yet calming, with the right food options and gym facilities. Knowing the hotel is eco-friendly gives assurance to the guest that their stay, in some way, is preserving the environment.

Business and leisure travelers want to be connected via the device of their choosing. Let’s enable guests to use their devices easily and quickly.

Our digitized world gives guests a constant source of interaction—during and after their stay. Proper hospitality is about providing the best service to make the guest happy. How can we use technology and move forward to improve our guest experience?

How to remain at the top
These factors are only the tip of the iceberg. To remain a leading hotel in your market, capital is necessary.

For small business owners and those of us loyal to brands and our guests, we have to decide what investment offers the strongest return and where we can reduce cost to enable us to invest elsewhere. It is the efficiency of our net RevPAR that tops our mind on a daily basis. Guest and employee satisfaction is always top priority, but the cost of conducting such business encourages us to be better analysts and business people. As the speed of change increasingly startles our bottom line, 2017 will be a year that owners will assess net RevPAR efficiency more than ever before.

Allen Fusco is owner and operator of both ANABRA Associates and Plainview Associates, which operate the Holiday Inn Express Horseheads, New York and the Holiday Inn in Elmira, New York, respectively. Allen serves as the 2017 Chair of the IHG Owners Association. Allen can be contacted at

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