Most of us in the hotel industry qualify as your typical, so-called “road warrior.” We stay a lot of nights throughout the year away from home in various hotels across the nation or, in some cases, the world.
So obviously, seeing such a variety of hotel offerings, we tend to view hotel culture—service, amenities, cleanliness, design—a little differently than your average guest. Unfortunately, we’ve heard so many great customer-service stories from dedicated hotel employees that it can take an especially good deed to impress us. On the other hand, we do pay particular attention to the details, and when someone has gone out of their way to make our stay special, we notice. Sometimes—to be fair—we can be a more critical guest. Stepping out of my role as journalist covering the hotel industry and into the shoes of a common guest, I was polling some friends and co-workers recently about what guestroom amenity is most important to them. There were a variety of responses, from flat-screen TVs with HD content to speedy Internet access to free coffee. Three answers particularly intrigued me. These aren’t the three most important things to get right at your hotel … more like three things that won’t annoy your average road warrior.
TV viewing access. A great point from a co-worker: Why would a room be designed in such a way that the television is not viewable from the desk? Certainly as TVs become larger and more aesthetically pleasing, guestroom designers rely on them as a focal point. We want to be able to watch TV from two places: the bed and the desk. Make sure your TVs are positioned so we can do both. And—as we all know—if you upgrade to HDTVs, you MUST upgrade to HD content.
Late-night F&B options. We’ve all been there before: You hit the evening cocktail reception and tried to pass the few hors d'oeuvres off as dinner. A few meetings and possibly a few adult beverages later, and you’re back at your room later than expected trying to button-up work and manage the e-mail inbox. All you want is a snack, but room service hours are over, you wouldn’t dare pay minibar prices and the last vending machine you saw in a hotel was in 1990. A late-night food option is crucial.
Iron/ironing board. This one admittedly comes from me, and it’s an extension of the fact that I haven’t figured out a way to fold and pack business attire without it looking like a wad of rags when I get to the hotel. Yes, I’ve tried non-wrinkle clothes and I’ve tried plastic between the articles of clothing. Still, I always have to press my shirts, and I’ve decided that ironing in a hotel room is karma punishing me for all the bad decisions I’ve made in life. You’re lucky if there’s an electrical outlet in plain view, let alone where there’s five feet of space to fit an ironing board. Undoubtedly I’ll let the iron warm up just a tad too long and it will automatically shut off, requiring me to start the whole process over again. And I know the old adage that if something isn’t bolted down it will walk away, but did the person who invented the attached iron/ironing board combo ever actually try using it? Impossible.
Therefore, if a hotel brand ever introduces a loyalty program that offers free overnight shirt presses, you’ve got my business for life. Or at least until I buy a garment bag.
What is the most important hotel amenity to you? Let us know in the comments section below.