When was the last time you were a guest at your inn?

Over the past 3 months, I’ve have stayed at 14 lodging properties located in 5 states and 2 countries. Technically, I didn’t choose any of them; they were preselected as part of an escorted tour, a planned meeting or properties my clients own.

As a consultant, a frequent question asked of me “What do guests want today?” I’m especially amazed when the question is posed at a conference and the attendees are all paying guests at the conference hotel.

Have we been in this industry so long that we’ve lost our perspective of being a guest? Are we accepting the “unacceptable” at our own properties just because it’s the way we’ve always done it? Do we walk by dead tree limbs and overgrown landscaping on the way to our inn’s front door?

So what have I encountered along the way? At some properties, I moved furniture to find the outlet to plug in my laptop, Ipad, phone and watch. At others, I smiled when the USB end could simply pop into a reachable connection by the bed.

Entering the room and seeing sunshine coming in simply adorned windows, regardless of the view brightened my first steps, versus the windows with layers and layers of dressings, mostly closed for convenience. But then I couldn’t adjust the temperature of the room.

Beds with pillows in three shapes and sizes, none of which were for sleeping, now piled high on the only comfortable chair in the room to welcoming beds with fresh linens, appropriate warmth layers and dreamy pillows causing me to comment to the innkeeper “I felt like I was home in my own bed!”

Inviting bathrooms with either spacious light filled showers and tubs I actually would fill with bubbles and the floating duck to old tub/shower combos with cracked tiles, moldy caulk leaking water all over the floor.  

Horizontal surfaces with no place but the bed to place my own items to a wonderful rolling table so I could work anywhere in the room.

A welcoming note and vase of fresh flowers to dusty artificial flower arrangements, dated knick knacks and live plants that are barely surviving.

The biggest surprise overall is to see an inconsistency in the maintenance level of the guest arrival areas to the guest room. From welcoming entries with freshly painted neutral walls, polished woodwork, stain-free carpets to guest rooms with chipped door trim, mysterious carpet stains (yes, kept the shoes on) and peeling dated wallpaper. Yes, the inviting common areas make a great first 10-second impression but what happens after 3 hours in the guest room that doesn’t have the same level of care? Where do guests spend so much of their time?

So as you enter the final two months of 2018 think about what simple changes you can make to the areas you as the owner may experience the least: your guest rooms! You want your guests to book directly with you, return visit after visit, write 5-star reviews and tell their friends about their stay. Then be a guest at your inn and determine if you would return to your own property!

Contact me if it’s time to talk about your property and goal setting for 2019!

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