2010 trends offer value to guests, hoteliers

Looking ahead to 2010 isn’t as fun as I thought it would be. 2009 has been such a downer in the industry and for the economy overall that I thought 2010 had nowhere to go but up. However, after speaking to some owners and analysts about next year, I get the feeling not much is going to change.

That’s why I enjoyed Andrew Freeman & Co.’s 2010 Trend Think Tank. Freeman provided plenty of new business ideas that will satisfy and maybe even excite today’s guest, hopefully giving power back to the hotelier in 2010.

“Do things you can do within the purview of your budget, but do things differently and more creative,” Freeman said. “Your experience should be consistent but if you do the same things every year, you’ll decline down.”

His main message was convincing: develop a solid concept in every way—pricing, target audience, customer service and value. And then within that concept, work to evolve, innovate and stir guests.

“Get guest involved in creating unique experiences,” he said. “Be really creative. Take calculated risks and be the biggest winner.”

In 2010, a great way to do this is through guest involvement, according to Freeman. He said touchscreens are coming on strong (something I touched on in my last blog post) because of the way the guest participates in the experience, picking and choosing amenities at any given time. This helps the guest feel in-tune with their experience, maximize the value of the property, and also it gives the property more selling opportunities.

“Some people are nervous about impacting the guest experience,” Freeman said. “But guests will have more fun, get involved and learn something, and they will still talk to service professionals [when they need to].”

Here are some other takeaways from the Think Tank that may help you plan to do something new and exciting in 2010:

• “A few years ago, hotels competed to outdo each other with more thread counts, imported linens … how much luxury can we bring to guest?” Freeman said. Now simplicity is back, he said. Less is more, but choose wisely on what comforts aren’t necessary. Think of Freeman’s three Fs: Form, function and flair. Don’t get too artsy and remove the functionality of a space.

• Lobbies becoming livingrooms and social spaces has been a recent trend. This year, take the concept further and make lobbies more fun. Add a pool table or pinball machine. Host a party to watch a sporting event or “Dancing with the Stars.” Get people down there, buying cocktails and having fun. Freeman stressed that empty space in a lobby is a wasted opportunity.

• Hotels are increasing their community involvement and letting guests in on it. Continuing with the idea that guests want to be involved, offer them the ability to contribute a percentage of the money from their stay to a charity of their own choosing.

• “Small and quirky hotels offer a unique experience; often at a more budget friendly price. Lose the traditional hotel accoutrements and replace with an alternative vibe,” Freeman said.

• Get rid of flowers as an expense and partner with a local art gallery. Art doesn’t die and offers a more unique localized experience.

• Comfort food is on the way out. Old world ambience is coming back.

• Small plates of food are popular now. Smaller plates of food will be even more popular in 2010. In this same spirit, food on toothpicks is making a revival.

• “Iced tea is the new water.”

Posted by admin on Jan 7th, 2010 and filed under Hotelnews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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