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Hotel, hospitality and travel

In-Room Amenities and Guest-Satisfaction

"In a 2005 hotel guest-satisfaction study, the marketing information firm JD Power and Associates found that an in-room refrigerator ranked third among the desired amenities after free continental breakfast and an in-room coffeemaker." USAToday

As discussed in previous post, guest satisfaction is the key to success in hospitality franchise business. In-room amenities play an important role in gaining guest satisfaction and guest loyalty. Let us try to find out what kind of in-room amenities are offered by business hotels as well as leisure hotels and what are the expectations and requirements of well traveled, elegant corporate travelers and leisure travelers.

Key to Success in Hospitality Franchise Business

Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, says, "There has been tremendous growth in consumer spending on experiences, on travel and on dining pleasures evidenced in the fourth quarter (of the year 2005) and less spent on home luxuries including personal items such as apparel and jewelry." Hotel Interactive. This is certainly heartening news for the hospitality franchise business.

How to cash on this emerging trend? One obvious answer is to create "Aha" moments for the guests to experience. By Aha moments, I mean creating wonderful, memorable guest experiences.

As per Malcolm Knapp, restaurant industry trend tracker, ‘Living well is everybody's goal at the moment.' So, if acquiring experiences or living well is what guests are looking forward to, then Increased guest satisfaction is all that is required to succeed in hospitality franchise business. Overall guest satisfaction can be determined by two parameters. One is providing better amenities like better rooms, excellent food and beverages, adding value added services like a complimentary breakfast, in-room refrigerators and coffee makers, pillow top mattresses and high-speed Internet access etc. Hospitality franchise owners can also offer new innovations like satellite radio, Internet check-ins etc.

A second and more important factor is creating strong emotional bonds with the guests. Our feelings determine buying behavior and they are best stimulated by warm and friendly interaction. Providing excellent customer services, envisioning the requirements of your guests and providing them before they are requested. Making your guests feel special is the key to success in hospitality franchise business. There is no alternative to good customer service.

Green Hotels at Fairmont

A new way for hotels to go green has arrived at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Computers at the check-in desk will now be powered by wind energy. Considering the massive amounts of electricity a hotel uses, it's a small step for each hotel but collectively the chain has purchased 116 megawatts of power for the year. Hotel Travel News quotes Michelle White, Fairmont''s manager for environmental affairs as being very bullish on Fairmont's green attempts.

Value Place Hotel-Apartments Gain 350 Franchise Commitments

Here's an interesting opportunity. Wichita-based Value Place hotel-apartment chain has a franchise concept as a "short-term residential" hotel-apartment combination, and has received some 350 franchise commitments for properties in 27 states. Its executives expect that the fairly new firm of three years will have 60 franchise and corporate-owned properties by the end of 2006, up from 14 now.

The founder of this new chain is Jack DeBoer, who created such brands as Residence Inn, Summerfield Suites and Candlewood Suites.

Value Place president and franchisee Gina-Lynne Scharoun told real estate journal GlobeSt.com

Hotels Take 'Know Your Customer' To A New Level

"American hoteliers just don't get the details of individual consumers", said a Japanese executive to me many years ago. He continued, "I love our [Japanese] hotels because they anticipate to the finest detail what I want before I even realize I want it."

I thought politely to myself, "what Japanese hotels are these because the one's I know sure aren't anticipating my needs."

Hertz Tightens Car Policy

Hertz is tightening up its car rental policies for its Gold members that will take effect after they receive notice in the mail. Unlike the past, Gold members will now be liable for loss or damage to the rental car, regardless of cause. Secondly, Gold renters will be charged any over time the rental is parked outside a closed Hertz' office. The Wall Street Journal reports:

"Hertz Corp. is making some potentially costly changes to its most loyal customers' rentals. For frequent renters, this means that Hertz -- one of the last rental-car companies to have such lenient terms and conditions -- is conforming with its more restrictive competitors."

The Russians Are Coming And They're Paying Top Dollar

Remember when the Japanese came and payed top dollar to travel in style? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal [$$] the Russians are "the next Japanese". Russians are traveling overseas increasingly in style. This is a surprising development considering that the average Russian income is $300 per month but the new middle class and wealthy are heading out in numbers to Europe, Bali and even the States.

The Big Easy Money

New Orleans hoteliers are nervous about a plan by Mayor Ray Nagin to bring gambling to the city. According to the Wall Street Journal, (subscription needed for all these WSJ links) the plan is designed to bring revenue, employment and taxes back to the city.

"The plan has been greeted with caution by hotel operators who might benefit. Major hotel companies including Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., Global Hyatt Corp., Hilton Hotels Corp., Host Marriott Corp. and Marriott International Inc., all said it was premature to comment on casinos in the city."

Katrina to Give U.S. Hotel Franchises a Boost

Well, this is a surprise after all the horror stories of Hurricane Katrina wreaking havoc on the economy. Smith Travel Research firm announced that occupancies in hotels for the rest of the country that were not closed due to the hurricane will be substantially above average for the year. It increased its 2005 growth in revenue for the U.S. hotel industry.