Free wifi just won’t cut it anymore.
Guests’ satisfaction with hotels is plateauing, according to a new study by market research firm J.D. Power and Associates.
“All the stuff that used to delight you is now expected,” says Richard Garlick, a hospitality analyst at the firm. He chalks the finding up to the fact that amenities that were once luxuries have become commonplace.
It doesn’t stop some hotels from trying. As the price of a night’s stay rises and competitors like Airbnb make inroads in the high-paying business-traveler market, hotels need to find ways to stand out.
US hotel room rates have increased an average of 4% annually over the last five years, according to hotel analysis firm STR, and the average daily rate for a US hotel room in May fetched $122.
Hotels are increasingly trying to woo guests to their beds by allowing them to check-in and check-out whenever they please, eschewing the traditional 3 p.m. check-in and noon departure.
And while allowing guests to bring their dogs along for the trip is hardly a new trick, some high-end hotels are rolling out the soon-to-be-destroyed red carpet for pets. Loews Vanderbilt in Nashville offers four-legged guests treats and special plush beds. (It also has special room service for pets with meals like “Bow-Wow Tenderloin of Beef,” for $12.). The general manager of the Park Hyatt in Vienna told the BBC if “the pet wants to go to the opera by himself we will arrange their ticket if the opera allows it.”
In Colorado, where marijuana is legal, some companies offer bud-and-breakfast: lodging in smoke-and-vape friendly rooms. In Bali, the Ayana Resort offers a luxury take on traditional river markets with a three-course, champagne-fueled “floating brunch.”
Garlick recommends more face-to-face interaction with guests, based on the survey’s finding that only 3% of guests use online or mobile check-in. “You don’t want to get in people’s way, but also make people feel welcome and engaged,” he advises hotel managers.
Which means that if you’re a traveler, now might be a good time to try asking the front desk for some freebies.