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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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).
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
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.”
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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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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.