The hotel experience is different for everyone. Hotel News Now asked general managers, food-and-beverage experts, designers and more what they want out of a hotel stay. Here’s a look at their expectations.
GLOBAL REPORT—A friendly smile, cleanliness and an awesome Wi-Fi connection are a few of the things industry experts look for when staying at a hotel. Watch the video below for more insights from designers, GMs, food-and-beverage experts and more.
QUESTION: What are your expectations when staying at a hotel?
Rob McGovern, food and beverage director at Refinery Hotel
“My No. 1 expectation is a friendly smile. I expect smiles from the doormen/bellmen; I expect smiles from the front desk agents and front-of-house managers; I expect smiles from the concierges; I expect smiles from the housekeeping staff; and I most especially expect smiles from the food-and-beverage staff.
As far as amenities, I normally look for a good (F&B) offering. I like to enjoy my time in a hotel and experience its character through its bars and restaurant offerings. I need a nice place to go and get an afternoon or evening drink and a good healthy breakfast in the morning. This goes for both business and leisure travel. I tend to not spend much time in my hotel during the day as I would be sightseeing or (doing) business offsite. I also like to venture off property for dinner.
Cleanliness is also extremely important as well as maintenance. I have had experiences in hotels with being placed in rooms that have damaged or broken facilities. It is a big turnoff and greatly affects my impression of the property. I also like turn-down service that includes mood lighting and mood music. I find that very relaxing after a full day. Free and fast Wi-Fi is also important.”
Julienne Smith, SVP of real estate and development, North America, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
“Cleanliness is No. 1 for me. I enjoy a hotel room where all the bedding is washed. … (Aside from that), what’s most important to me and what makes me remember a hotel … is engagement of the employees.
I like to make eye contact with someone walking down the hallway, a housekeeper saying ‘good morning,’ someone noticing that I had a drink last night and maybe I want that same drink tonight in the bar. Individual engagement is what makes me come back to a hotel, whether it’s midscale all the way up to luxury. That’s more important to me personally than any amenities that might be in the room.”
Jesse MacDougall, director of strategy and brand development at ICRAVE
“When I’m traveling—even for business—I like to find ways to do things I don’t get the chance to do in the day-to-day grind. I love when hotels are able to weave unusual retail into their experience so I can browse through beautiful objects, products or locally crafted goods like Plant The Future at the 1 Hotel in Miami.
Or better yet, a quasi-museum experience like 21C is always a plus. And finally, I never really have time to listen to music, so a Bluetooth record player like we put in the rooms of our latest hotel—Sir Adam Amsterdam—is something that brings me great joy.”
Leo Glazer, GM at Pod 39
“As a hotelier, my expectations are elevated when staying in a hotel, particularly when it comes to service. I believe the single most redeeming quality of great hotels is the ability of the staff to convey a sense of warmth without seeming servile.
A hotel in the Bahamas, The Ocean View Club, comes to mind as a perfect example. There, they implement an honor bar system whereby guests are asked to keep a tally of their cocktails at the bar during their stay. While this is a small detail, it goes a long way to making the guest stay less transactional.”
Deborah Huguely, VP of classic select brands, global design at Marriott International
“I think I align with probably with what a lot of others guests are saying and what we’ve heard: You’ve got to give me connection, got to have great Wi-Fi.
Past that, I travel a lot, and I’m alone a lot. I like that communal experience. What kind of communal experience can we create in a public space to get out of the guestroom? I would rather sit in a public space doing my work, enjoying some sound and environment. Creating a really nice public space environment for people to engage and interact is something I really look for.
For the guestroom: Give me a good night’s rest, make sure it’s clean. The shower really changes my perception of a guestroom. Obviously, I’m a designer so put a little great design in there and I’m set.”
Eric Rosenfeld, GM at The Marlton Hotel
“When I first enter a hotel, I always look to see if the bell staff and front-desk staff are happy to be at work. I’ll take a smile and warm hospitality over cold, yet efficient service any day.
After a long travel journey, it’s noteworthy if the front-desk staff are intuitive to your needs at check-in. Whether you’ve had a long flight or are on a staycation, there are times you want to converse and other times when you’re ready to dash up (to) the room. Of course, the room must be spotless, free of any smell (save for fresh laundry), have an easily adjustable temperature system and provide simple instructions to access Wi-Fi.
These days, my beverage of choice is usually a bourbon or mezcal or a New York State wine. If I check in and can grab an off-the-radar libation at the hotel restaurant, I’m a happy camper. And there’s nothing like a quality burger after you’ve been on the road.”