A trend in hospitality I’m not very fond of is the overuse of the word ‘luxury’. The abuse of this word only means that customers will inevitably become unresponsive to its inclusion in any advertising vehicle.
There’s no clear definition for luxury and, thus, no clear set of rules for its proper use. Looking for some clarity in the dictionary, the word ‘luxury’ comes from the Old French luxurie via the Latin luxuria or luxus, all of which mean excess. In other words, something that is luxurious is an inessential — a desirable item that is more than basic but not a necessity.
The basics of our product offerings are not luxuries. These include cleanliness — both for rooms and public areas — free and fast Wi-Fi, comfortable beds, sufficient amenities, quiet HVAC, good lighting, entertainment facilities and security.
The first and obvious step towards attaining bona fide luxury status is to seek quality — better furnishings and fabrics as a start — to better differentiate your hotel. While these are CapEx decisions, quality can also be found in smaller items such as room amenities. But, let’s look beyond the mere concept of quality to give hoteliers an accurate barometer for luxury with these five aspirations.
1. The Right Technology:
The luxury guest anticipates easy and fast Internet access for all devices. Increasingly, the expectation is for an in-room tablet device that controls most functions. But technology is so much more. It now involves advanced in-room controls, smart thermostats, televisions that record your preferences and tools that can automate turndown service or front-desk coordination. This ‘Internet-of-Things’ approach means hotels striving for a luxury stamp must be constantly on the forefront of new technology.
Luxury means wholly embodying the real thing and embracing the best of what your territory has to offer. As an example, think room decor with real paintings that are expressive of the local artistic community along with photographs or lithographs on the walls that are not cheap reproductions.
3. Attention to Detail:
Folding towels in a unique arrangement will make guests delight in the little things. In-room umbrellas seem logical yet are a rarity because most of us are more concerned with theft than providing for the sudden onset of a rainstorm. Housekeeping tying up loose computer recharger cords will also make people feel loved. Each of these items, on their own, may seem inconsequential, but, when added together, provide a lasting, holistic impression of hotel luxury.
When in a genuine luxury property, guests expect staff to recognize them and address them by name. Handwritten notes upon arrival are traditional, while an electronic, taped welcome message on the telephone is simply unacceptable. Above all, dedicated effort is put towards remembering all customers’ preferences, because luxury brands are confident enough to assume their guests will be returning.
5. A Positive Surprise:
The welcome bottle of wine along with a fruit or cheese plate that is customary for so many luxury properties around the world helps to set the tone for an outstanding stay. All associates’ knowledge levels for other operations are markedly higher at top properties and communicated with far more enthusiasm. The overall idea here, though, is to provide something extra that is both appreciated, yet unanticipated.