It’s no secret: Customers are wanting more than just utilitarian solutions when they travel. They want an “experience” – something new, unique or memorable.
Not that long ago, standardization was key to just about anything. Think of it like the “McDonald’s” formula: a customer could walk into a McDonald’s anywhere from Spokane to Sarasota to Stockholm… and it would be the same experience. The customer would know exactly what to expect. The McDonald’s experience would always be the same.
While setting high standards is important, and there are operational benefits to standardizing, cookie-cutter approaches to the customer experience aren’t the answer.
Think about it: Even McDonald’s adapts its international menus to appeal to local markets. J
Today, customers are delighted by brands that can still maintain their own personality – and yet give a nod to the local environment or community.
Just as McDonald’s might serve pasta at its Italian locations, so too are hotels finding that they can still be part of a brand family, and yet be unique by being highly connected to the local community.
So what does that mean for your hotel? Here’s a few ideas for breathing some personality into your specific hotel location, yet while still honoring any branding concerns you may have as well.
The Ties That Bind: Creating a Community Connection
Not only are hotels are striving to be part of the local community, but they are also positioning themselves to be communities – destinations — themselves: Where the local bar or fabulous restaurant – the place to go – just might happen to be in a really cool hotel.
This sort of “presence” in a community means that even when you have empty rooms, you might still have locals coming to dinner, hanging out in your bar, or interested in a local weekend get away from home.
Another way hotels can honor their local roots – thus differentiating themselves from just being “yet another hotel” — is through art. Local art can infuse a hotel space with the culture and character than will entice visitors further into the community and bring guests back.
You don’t have to have a local artist like world renown glass artist Dale Chihuly in your backyard – or include large scale art installations into your hotel space.
An emphasis on a local art connection can be displayed on a smaller scale such as local art displayed in rooms or incorporating local artisans’ ceramic, glass or metal work in your fixtures, tile work, or furnishings in room.
It’s these little details that all add into creating a saturated branded experience for your customers that they will ever forget.
These connections and attention to detail reclassify your hotel from “a place to sleep,” to “THE place to go if you want to visit [a particular city.]”
When you’re rethinking interior designs for your hotel, take some sage advice from Chanel: “Fashions fade. Style is eternal.”
A foundation of high quality furnishings, rich textures, intensely saturated colors, and excellent lighting in your rooms and hotel space creates sensory and ephemeral luxury.
But don’t be afraid to set yourself apart: create your own fusion of classic style and local culture. Give a nod to your community’s local history, roots or influences.
A hotel by the shore could include sea glass inspired accent tiles into bathrooms. A heavily forested region might draw on ‘wood-like’ tiling that has a reclaimed, authentic feeling in baths or entryways. A statement color wall or textured wall materials (bamboo, rattan etc.) can make a huge impression.
Green Still Pays.
Consumers are more environmentally conscious and savvy than ever. They understand there are lot’s of ways to save the environment – and it doesn’t take a lot of money to do it either. Hotels are wise to incorporate these tactics into their operations in such a way that also publicly affirms the hotel’s commitment to the environment. Sustainability can be included through:
- local sourcing of suite furniture,
- locally grown food for your hotel restaurant,
- conscientiously thinking of and designing rooms with oversized windows to capitalize on natural lighting,
- “green” plant life walls,
- grey water recycling,
- electronic/water-efficient faucets and tubs,
- or “even supplying their own energy,”
The key is to create an identity for your hotel brand that shapes every element of the customer experience. Create a branded experience that resonates with both your own company values as well as honoring your local environment. Build that experience so that your customers will want to come back again and again.
Learn More About Creating Hotel Experiences
- Hotels: Create Spa-Like Get-a-ways… Just Don’t Unplug Too Much
- Hotel Spending Is Back: Is Your Hotel Ready?