Coyle Hospitality’s network of professional hotel mystery shoppers report that hotels continue to tweak and adjust room facilities and amenities to match what today’s guests need. Some of these tweaks work, some not so much. But a few recent innovations particularly stand out for elevating the guest experience in a new way.
“Today, luxury is being redefined to not only include actual products, but how something enhances an experience or fulfills a need,” said Shane Krige, general manager of The Plaza. Toward that vein, the iconic NYC hotel now offers every guest an iPad from which they can do just about everything they need while on-site, including control the temperature in their room, order room service, make restaurant reservations, communicate with the concierge, request wake-up calls, explore NYC destination guides, and even check airline schedules and print boarding passes. The iPads are also pre-loaded with leisure and business-friendly apps and newspapers – and, of course, they’ll be able to browse the Web. Kudos to the Plaza for taking hotel iPad use up to the next level and adding convenience to every guest’s stay.
A Breath of Fresh Air: Respire by Hyatt
Answering the needs of a growing subset of guests, Hyatt last year debuted hypo-allergenic rooms installed and maintained by Buffalo, NY-based Pure Solutions. Each “Respire” room gets a one-time shock treatment to minimize irritants, hypo-allergenic mattress and pillow encasings, a powerful air purifier that’s listed as a medical device by the FDA, and other treatments that eliminate allergens on carpets and upholstery. With the number of asthma sufferers estimated to reach 400 million by 2025, we’d say focusing on rooms designed for their comfort (not to mention the comfort of millions of others with less severe respiratory sensitivities) is an excellent move.
Adios Front Desk: Andaz
It’s not just the Andaz that’s moved away from the idea of a front desk in favor of a more informal approach to check-in – it’s a phenomenon that’s been evident among super high-end hotels for quite some time. But mid-market lodgings have only just begun to rid themselves of this “false barrier,” as hospitality consultants put it, and Hyatt’s fledgling brand, Andaz, does so in a modern, refreshing way. Arriving guests are met by roving hosts, who sit down with them, offer a free glass of wine or coffee, and complete the process on a tablet computer (or iPad). It’s an of-the-moment approach that sets a welcoming, relaxed tone for the stay.