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Hotels with Sustainable Luxury: The Peninsula Hotel Chicago

Chicago Peninsula Hotel Bathroom Renovation

The $37 Million renovation included high tech touches and luxury finishings in every aspect of the freshly redesigned rooms. Conde Nast touts the Peninsula “Chicago’s Most High Tech Hotel.” Photo Credit: The Peninsula Hotel – Chicago.

Spectacular. That’s the word that comes to mind when you get a glimpse of the Chicago hotel’s 329 room renovation. “We’ve taken inspiration from the existing hotel. And the existing hotel has a strong deco influence,” Bill Rooney, design director of Bill Rooney Studio located in New York City, the mastermind behind the re-design said.

Some of the more impressive details include:

  • Each guest room has an “art wall” that is both hand-painted and hand embroidered, incorporating traditional Chinese artisan techniques into the very fabric of the room.
  • The Peninsula took great care to source entirely from North America, and regionally when possible.
  • Every guest room has 3 tablets where you can find out what’s happening in the hotel or in the city, place a room service order, or read any of 3,000 magazines or newspapers (in any of 55 different languages.)

“We created a room that really accommodates all needs, and immerses that guest in luxury. It’s a space in itself that you like to spend time in,” the New York designer said.

 

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Is Your Hotel Ready: Here Come the Baby Boomers!

Yes, yes, we’ve all been talking about Millennials and younger siblings, Generation Z.  But let’s not forget the Baby Boomers just yet. … And what they mean for your hotel business.

Baby Boomers, those born between 1946-64 are now between 52 – 70 years old. As Dave & Deb of the travel website, the planetd.com, say “Adventure is for everyone…. Baby Boomers are hitting the road and traveling further and longer. Senior travel is one of the fastest growing travel markets around the world.” More than half of these travelers are expecting to inherit part of the 1 trillion in wealth expected to transfer from their parents. 20% of Boomers anticipate more than $100,000, while one third anticipate inheriting between $25-100,000… And travel is their top thing they plan to do with those funds.

AARP says in its 2016 Boomer Travel Trends: “The vast majority of Baby Boomers are planning to drive, fly or set sail on leisure trips in 2016, with an average of 4 or 5 trips already in the works.”  “Boomers make up a large segment of the traveling public, and so it’s particularly important for the travel industry to be aware of what Boomers are looking for in their vacations going into 2016,” said Stephanie Miles, VP, Products & Platforms, AARP.

I know, when we think of “seniors,” so many of us think of our parents – old. Don’t move well. Slow. But remember, the Boomers have been rewriting what we as a society think is “average or normal” for a long time. And how we age – and how we want to spend our time in our later years – is really no different.

Baby boomers Genealogy Travel

Graphic Image: Who Do You Think You Are Show title slide, from TLC.com

And that includes travel. Travel is still high on the list for how today’s modern, healthy senior wants to spend their time. Here are some travel trends to pay attention to as you plan for your hotel:

  • Genealogical tourism. According to USA Today, genealogy is still the #2 most popular hobby in the US thanks to the ready accessibility of online archives and databased as well as the ever popular shows like Who Do You Think You Are and Finding Your Roots.

How can you take advantage of this market? If your hotel is near a noted genealogy library or research center (like The New York Public Library – listed on FamilyTreeMagazine.com’s Top 9 Genealogy Libraries to Visit Before You Die), make connections with these centers. Are there events coming up? Conferences? Are there things you can do to best serve their guests and their unique interests (ie: a shuttle to their library?)

 

  • Multi-Generational Tours.  Travel designed for grandparents to spend time with their kids and grandkids are on the rise. “The typical multi-generational traveler takes about 4.4 trips per year. Nearly 80% planned a vacation around a life event such as a birthday (50%), anniversary (40%), family reunion (39%), and wedding (37%).”  This target market of Boomers see travel as “a worthwhile expenditure” as it allows them to reconnect with their family.
Boomer Travel Trends

Graphic by AARP via hotelnewsresource.com

 

 

  • Educational Travel. While we normally think of “educational travel” as high school kids taking a class trip, or Gap-Year students off on an adventure, or even college students taking a year abroad, Seniors are mixing travel with their need to grow and learn more about the things they are interested in.

How can you take advantage of this? What’s near by that might be food for someone else’s passions? Are you in the heart of the Theatre District? Or perhaps are situated in an art lover’s paradise? Maybe your hotel is near a famous baseball stadium that die hard fans often make a pilgrimage to?

  • Bucket List Travel. Made popular by the 2007 movie of the same name (The Bucket List), more Boomers are making those bucket lists of places they have always wanted to go to  – and then doing it.
Boomer Travel Bucket List

Boomers are making travel a priority in 2016. Is your hotel ready? Photo by Forbes.com.

Catering to the Boomer Traveler:

  • Remember – more than half of all Boomers under 60 years of age are still working.  When they travel, one third of them still expect to be bringing some work along with them.  So technological access/capabilities are still important.
  • Make sure your baths are safe from slip and fall incidents.  While you’re planning any renovations, take the time now to ensure all of your bath surface areas have been treated/texturized to prevent falls (and potential lawsuits!).

 

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Hotel Trend: Welcoming Man’s Best Friend

Today’s traveller is looking for an experience that’s at least as good as what they have at home.  But what do you do when part of “home” includes four legged friends?

In the spirit of a more “homey” stay, some hotels are making an effort to welcome guest’s pets just as much as they welcome their pet parents. Here’s how a few hotels are adapting their services to incorporate the pet parent (or pet parent wanna-be).

Hotel Trend: hotel dogs

Catie Copely is the Black Lab Canine Ambassador for the Fairmont Hotel in Boston. Photo Graphic by Fairmont.com

 

Surrogate Pet

Roughly 62% of all American households have a pet. So what do pet parents do when they’re on the road — and missing Fluffy or Fido?

“That’s why the Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah, offers the Pound Puppy Hike, a complimentary amenity that matches guests with a puppy or dog from a local shelter for hikes on scenic trails in the area,” says CNBC’s Harriet Baskas.

Other hotels, such as the area hotels in Aspen, Colorado, have taken a different approach: some waive Pet Fees (which can be pricey at $125/night) for guests who welcome an Aspen Humane Society dog to join them during their stay. Other hotels even provide shuttle service to and from the shelter where guests can get their “pet fix” by doing just a brief volunteer stint for a few hours.

The Fairmont Hotel has gone full force into the canine companion concept. “Known for thoughtful and welcoming service, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts offers a distinctive service at select hotels with resident hotel dogs known as Canine Ambassadors. Travelers missing their own furry friend or looking for a companion while taking a walk can bring along the resident Fairmont dog for extra security and the comfort of home.  Click on one of our much loved dogs below to find out more about their stories.”  (We’re pretty impressed with Catie Copely located at the Fairmont in Boston!)

Fish Can Be Fun Too

Hotel Trend: animal companions in hotels

What started as a cute idea at just The Monaco Hotel in Seattle, “the Goldfish Companion” became an offering for all 61 Kimpton Hotels. Photo art by Monaco-Seattle.com.

Even more creative: Hotel Monacos (part of the Kimpton Collection) offer a “goldfish companion” for guests, brining just a fresh breath of life to what normally could be seen as a cold, empty room.  “While we initially chose the Monaco for its location, and for the wine hour, we now choose it because of the goldfish,” said Liz Phillips, a middle school teacher from Portland, Ore. whose family stays at the Hotel Monaco Seattle each Thanksgiving.”

Feline Friends

There might be no more famous hotel “pet” than the famed “Algonquin Cat.” The hotel’s mascot (or one of her predecessors) has been in residence for decades.  The hotel’s current “Matilda” is an international celebrity, with her own social media accounts and fan base.

Of course inviting our four legged family members along on our travels can mean additional accommodations. How does your hotel appeal to the pet parent? Have you considered what additional modifications canine guests might appreciate in your suites?

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From Around the Web: New Survey Reveals Water Conservation Trend Among Hotels

hotel sustainability trend

AHLA surveys its members every two years to uncover trends in the hotel industry. Photo credit: Westin Seattle.com

This survey, funded by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF), shows that in addition to advancing consumer service, hotels are also giving back, making charitable contributions and being good stewards of the environment. Environmentally-friendly programs, such as towel reuse programs, recycling capabilities and water savings programs are increasingly popular, with overwhelming majorities of hotels participating. For more details about the AHLA biennial hotel study, click here

 

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From Around the Web – Five Top Hotel Execs Discuss Amenity Trends from Wellness to Wi-Fi

Omni Hotels omnihotel.com

“All of the hotel brands participating in the webcast are ramping up their array of in-room fitness amenities. Part of this is due to feedback from female guests who are uncomfortable working out alone in gyms early in the morning or late at night. For example, Omni Hotels’ Get Fit Kit provides stretch cords, jump ropes, Kettlebells, dumbbells, etc., on arrival for loyalty guests who request that on their profile.” Photo Credit: omnihotel.com

In a webcast with C-suite hotel executives, the Wall Street Journal’s business travel writer, Scott McCartney, asked the hotel leaders about hotel amenities.  Based on a Smartbrief study titled, ““The Guest Experience: Innovative Trends for Creating a More Personalized Stay,”  the executives from Kimpton Hotels, JW Marriott, Morgans Hotel Group, Trump Hotel Collection and Omni Hotels & Resorts shared their perspectives.

Santora represents the majority of responses, saying that Omni Hotels appeals to a broad base of guest demographics with a wide range of hotel product. He did, however, commit that the brand is popular with Boomers due in part to hefty conference business. “From Omni’s perspective, we do see a lot through that Boomer category, and when you think about that, they’re really the most homogenous of the generations in history, and probably the most traveled…. So when we think about amenities for them, we really want them to have this wide range.”

 

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From Around the Web – Trends Changing the Way Guests and Hoteliers View Amenities

Hotel Amenities trends

The Peninsula Hotel is creating unforgettable experiences – right down to creating an unforgettable bath products amenity line with Oscar de la Renta. Photo Credit: Peninsula.com

Today’s modern travelers have changed. They are empowered, educated and have very specific attributes they are seeking during their hotel stays. Amenities have become tremendously important – travelers aren’t looking for a just soap, shampoo and conditioner, they are looking for an experience, something they can relate to. Whether an environmentally conscious traveler or business traveler, guests are demanding more out of their hotel stays than ever before.”  Modern travelers are expecting a sustainable approach to hotel’s amenities.  Some options to consider include:

  • offering amenities in bio-degradable or recyclable packaging,
  • developing an entirely bespoke line of bath products – which let’s you communicate your hotel’s own values/commitment to green packaging, organic ingredients,
  • partnering with existing, known brands to develop a bath line your guests will immediately recognize and associate with your brand, such as what Oscar de la Renta did for the Peninsula Hotels,
  • thinking beyond just the standard amenities.  For example, the The Mandarin Oriental Paris Hotel worked with local Parisian perfumer, Diptyque, to create a uniquely scented line of products.

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From Around the Web – Tile Trend #5: Wall Tile Instead of Paper or Paint

Tile Trends in Hotel Bath Design

Think beyond the shower stall – as in this photo, you can use texturized wall tiles to create a multi-dimensional tile in other areas of the bath. Photo Credit: houzz.com

Wall tile isn’t limited to a backsplash anymore.

While tile has always been a viable option for the bathroom walls, this is a trend that is growing – replacing paint and wallpaper as the favored wall covering–  in 2016.

Metallics as an accent make a design lean toward the dramatic. Even in small doses, metallic is a hit.

It will be everywhere this year, but it will play a supporting role. Tile will jump off the wall in all kinds of 3D designs this year. While trends will still favor neutral colors, textures will be anything but neutral.

Tile Trends in Hotel Bath Design

Wall tile can create dramatic visual interest in small spaces – like behind your mirrors above the sinks. Photo Credit carlaaston.com

 

Look for geometric pattern, waves, handcrafted look, and high-low mosaic patterns. Tile on the wall is getting bigger and getting away from classic mosaic backsplash. It won’t be unusual to see large format tile, including planks. The new favorite will be tiles 24 inches or more in length.

 

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From Around the Web – Tile Trend #3: Brick Makes a Comeback

Tile Trends in Hotel Bath Design

White subway tile as a wall covering makes a clean and elegant statement for your bath. Photo Credit: Annelibush.com

Brick-look tile is an easier to maintain option than actual brick and you’ll get the same look and feel. Most brick installations are for the wall. But 2016 will see brick on the floor.

 

Brick-look tile on the floor is a great idea because porcelain is already a proven winner for floors. Just like wood, brick is getting a facelift with some paint. Painted brick has that retro look that is coming back into vogue but it still has a flair of the contemporary.

Tile Trends in Hotel Bath Design

Brick doesn’t have to be boring! Think in terms of color (such as grey or black) materials (such as slate-look) and pattern like this visually engaging herringbone. Photo Credit: Houzz.com

 

 

 

Look for tile with graphics, text, and highlights in metallic colors. Aged brick, like the kind you’d find in an old downtown loft, is available in tile and probably the most popular choice in brick-look for 2016.

 

 

 

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From Around the Web: Tile TREND #2 Smooth Cement-looking Tile

Tile Trends in Hotel Bath Design

Cement Looking Tile is elevated from the industrial look to an elegant statement. Photo Credit: Founterior.com

Cement, like wood, isn’t a new idea for floors and walls. But this trend is going to hit its stride in 2016. It’s a look that doesn’t date itself so it’s here to stay. Cement-look tile in 2016 will be softer and warmer, making it suitable for all kinds of design. Concrete isn’t just for modern design anymore. Look for it in warm grey, taupe, and beiges. Concrete-look tiles will begin to be available in many different shapes and sizes in 2016. Mosaic, planks, hex, and large format will become popular. This upgrade elevates cement-looks in design.

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From Around the Web: Tile Trend #1 – The Look of Wood with the Convenience of Tile

Wood Tile

Wood tile is going to be everywhere! Photo Credit: Daltile.com

The Wood-looking tile trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, the trend is going to get bigger as the products available improve. Look for these variations in the trend:

  • Layout – not only in planking but also in patterns such as herringbone
  • Reclaimed wood – the weathered, distressed “authentic look” is bigger than ever.
  • Painted – coming up on the horizon, look for whitewashing!
  • Cross Grain – rather than showing a wood grain running length-wise, think of seeing the rings of grained wood in your tiles.

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