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Hoteliers: What guests really want

Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw.

Many travelers still value a comfy bed with quality linen and a clean room.

Professionals in the hospitality industry already know that every guest is different, with specific needs, likes, and dislikes. They also know it’s getting harder and harder to succeed in today’s world, when competitors are savvier at meeting the expectation of more guests by monitoring reviews and online conversations, and adapting to provide an experience as close to their desires.

Many travelers still value a comfy bed with quality linen and a clean room.

“If I have an extended stay, I want some of the comforts of home: comfy bed, a good reading chair, a desk to spread out on, and a great shower head,” says spiritual awakening mentor Laura Clark, and she is not the only one valuing comfort.

“The most important thing for me is a luxuriously comfortable bed. I want the linens to feel and smell fresh and clean, and the room should make me feel safe and secure like I am staying at a best friend's house,” told us Colleen Wilson Millett.

However, many people want more, and some of their expectations are not hard to meet – often with minimum investment.

In Focus: Yoga

Hotels without some sort of gym or fitness facilities are rare – in this regard it is pretty obvious that hoteliers know about the need of their guests to stay fit. But the gym area is no longer enough, when from a trend a couple of years back, yoga is now a mainstream activity.

“I love hotels that have big comfortable rooms, pool, yoga classes and a healthy menu,” said Rachel Kieffer of Healthnutgirl.

The healthy menu is important for Kim Tobin too, who also values comfort: “When I travel I happily upgrade to a cozy and comfortable arrangements vs. sterile and cold. I do like having the choice of pool and workout area plus a restaurant that offers healthy meals.”

While many hotels may lack the space to add a pool, converting a room into space for yoga and Pilates classes is not impossible, and may appeal to this growing segment of travelers who enjoy taking care of their bodies. Yoga classes can also be offered outdoors, in a park, or at the beach, as part of a package.

Adding such an activity to the roster of services offered by your hotel has the potential to boost your PR chances too. Travel journalists are often looking for hotels with yoga classes, but they end up featuring mostly hotels that are already designed for a yoga retreat. However, consider this: not all travelers can afford an exotic destination, or, when they travel for business, they still may need to practice. Last but not least, not all members of a family may be passionate about yoga – but one may enjoy the opportunity to practice while the others explore other attractions nearby.

Wake Up with Coffee

This is a no brainer: in room coffee making facilities are already offered by a vast majority of hotels. If you are among them, there’s still room for improvement: invest in good, Fair Trade, organic coffee to make the experience better for your guests. If you are not, it’s time to add them as many guests expect a coffee maker in their room.

“A comfortable bed is a must, coffee maker in the room, free breakfast, and a great view is a plus,” says writer and podcaster Peggy Nolan, who is also an avid traveler.

Barb Parcells, author of Songs of an Extraordinary Life, needs her fix of coffee in the morning too, although comfort is paramount: “For me comfort is Queen. If I can get a good night's sleep, in a comfy bed, with good, quality airflow, I'm a happy camper. If there is a coffee pot and all the fixings in the room as well, I'm a happier camper.”

“I enjoy a hotel that has cozy nooks where I can tuck into and write in the early morning hours,” told us writer Lore Raymond. “It can also be on a patio with morning light. I appreciate a hotel that serves coffee at 5am or has it in the room for me to make since I am up so early.”

WiFi: Make It Fast and Free

There’s no excuse for a hotel today – besides those located in remote areas – not to offer free, fast, and reliable wireless Internet access. Most travelers enjoy to stay connected with their friends online, use the Internet for work, or to read the news, and some prefer online entertainment rather than browsing channels on a TV screen.

“A desk with a comfortable chair, free WiFi, multiple outlets in the room, a comfortable bed, and a free breakfast are among the things I look for when choosing my accommodation,” explained Violeta-Loredana Pascal who owns the travel blog Earth’s Attractions.

WiFi is important for Alina Popescu of Pet Travel Tales too: “My work always goes with me, so what I need the most is a fast wireless connection in my room. I've been working for hours in lobbies to know the importance of this. I also appreciate well stocked bathrooms, comfortable pillows, and outlets next to the bed, for those moments when my tablet dies and I can't read in bed because there's no outlet.”

Chic Is More

As you see, most travelers are not too demanding. In fact, what they really want are basic things that are found in their own homes. But consider how much happier they could be if you, as a hospitality professional, would provide more.

For Kelley Grimes, who usually chooses properties listed on Airbnb, chic is an important factor: “When I do stay in a hotel I look for boutique hotels that are chic and unique!”

Chic is not just a buzz word. Hotels that are uniquely stylish, with heaps of character, yet charge reasonable rates, tend to attract more guests, not only with service and facilities, but also due to media coverage, presence in design magazines, extensive travel blog reviews, and so on. All these factors are important for every hotel to keep relevant and to meet customer demands before these demands are made. It all starts to listening to what travelers want and expect from a hotel, and then providing more.

To listen, you could start a thread on your Facebook page, and ask your followers what they want improved. You will be surprised how many will offer praise and positive feedback that will help you boost your customer satisfaction scores. 

CEO - Pamil Visions | Website | + Posts

A former military journalist, Mihaela is the founder and senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She's also the former founder/editor at Everything PR, Search Engine Journal, and Argo Travel News. Her credentials speak for themselves: she is a cited authority on public relations issues, and her work and expertise are featured on BBC News, Reuters, Yahoo! Small Business Adviser, Al Jazeera, The Epoch Times, SitePoint, Search Engine Journal, and many others.