Keep having conversations about personalization
Keep having conversations about personalization
22 OCTOBER 2020 8:33 AM

Pre-pandemic, “personalizing” a hotel stay was somewhat of a high-end goal for many. These days, you’re already doing it … and can do more.

I was on the phone last week with a hotel-biz friend and we were talking about the concept of personalization in the hotel industry. Pre-pandemic, it was a topic everyone talked about. Personalizing and customizing the hotel stay meant tracking guest preferences for amenities, timing housekeeping, giving guests choices for how they wanted to talk (or not talk) to the front desk and order food—that sort of thing.

Many brands and hotels were moving in this direction already, finding the intersection between technology and guest preference to deliver that customized, personalized stay.

Customization and personalization pre-pandemic, however, was mostly happening at the higher end of the hotel spectrum, and of course all guest-facing.

Now, though, I think this concept of personalization is taking on a whole new meaning and can apply to the guest, the employee and even—hear me out—the building itself.

Hoteliers, so many of you already are doing this. By finding (and inventing) creative ways to meet the guests where they are, you are personalizing. Treating housekeeping during the guest stay as an on-demand service? That’s personalizing. Reviving QR code technology to allow guests to place a food order from anywhere? That’s personalizing. See? You’re already doing it!

Check out these recent Hotel News Now articles and blogs that showcase how hotels are embodying that idea of “necessity is the mother of invention:”

Customizing your staff and even your building
I want to share two more examples, and these speak to customizing your staff and yes, your building.

I’ve heard anecdotally about hoteliers who reassessed their staffing during the pandemic to look hard at what roles they needed and how they could best use existing staff to make sure those needs were met. Matt Barba, GM of the Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest, Illinois, held on to his entire staff by repurposing many of their roles. The hotel, which caters to a lot of destination conferences and weddings, saw that group business dry up when the pandemic hit. So, Barba placed about 30% of his staff in completely new roles, ranging from operations to internal communications, in order to avoid layoffs.

Yes, that’s likely easier to do if you have a smaller staff to begin with, but it really underscores the importance of knowing your team’s talents and inspiring people to be flexible.

Now how about customizing your building? Yes, this is a little out there, but it’s on the verge.

First, think about rooms use these days: Many hotels are marketing a standard, typical, priced-by-the-night guestroom into day-use space to work—a place for people working from home to work in peace and quiet for the day.

Or maybe you’ve shifted rooms from daily pricing to extended-stay pricing to get guests in for a staycation, or a way to work and do online schooling with a change of scenery. And maybe you’re offering special amenities and services that cater to those folks.

That’s customizing your building.

How about taking that one step further and thinking about building out some extended-stay floors? Renting to business owners who don’t want to take on commercial office-space leases but need some space to meet in small, controlled groups?

Yep, that’s a little out there, for sure (and potentially a financing nightmare, no doubt!). But developers are doing it.

Necessity really is the mother of invention, and it’s exciting to see some silver linings come out of this time, pushing the hotel industry to new horizons.

Comment below, email me at or find me on Twitter @HNN_Steph.

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