Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What hotels guests want ...

Media Release – September 28, 2009

Hotel Guests Want Value and Quality, Not Just a Room: Survey

Hotels take note: a majority of guests say exorbitant mark-ups on mini-bar items are the most annoying aspect of a hotel stay, followed by sub-standard room amenities and inferior service and expensive food in hotel restaurants, according to a survey by Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor.

The survey, conducted online and through questionnaire forms in guest rooms in June, July and August this year, attracted 1,411 responses.

Asked to select the three most annoying aspects of staying in a hotel:
• More than 55 per cent of respondents selected the cost of mini-bar items;
• Over 26 per cent said sub-standard amenities, such as shampoo, tea and coffee, and towels and bathrobes; and
• 25.6 per cent selected poor service and expensive food in hotel restaurants.

Other annoying or disappointing aspects included: cost of in-room movies (22 per cent); cost or in-room dining (21 per cent); impersonal service (more than 19 per cent) and the cost of internet services (18 per cent).

But in some good news for the sector, 34 per cent of survey respondents said they intended to spend the same amount in the coming 12 months as in previous years on travel and holidays, despite the economic environment.

And, reinforcing the overall survey findings that travelers expect quality and value for money, more than 28 per cent said they would be planning to up-grade to a better standard of room or hotel given that many hotels have lowered room rates in response to economic conditions and 11 per cent said they would increase their travel spend as prices drop.

Hotel Windsor CEO and general manager David Perry said the survey showed consumers expected far more from a hotel than simply a room.

“Obviously, hotel guests look very closely at the full range of services and facilities that combine to make a hotel stay memorable and that deliver real value,” he said. “They are strongly disappointed when their stay is undermined by second-rate, highly-priced room amenities and hotel food. Every hotel general manager knows many of their guests walk out of the hotel and around the corner to a convenience store to pick up chocolate, a can of soft drink or beer, rather than pay hotel prices. We have to ask if we want to continue to encourage this behaviour rather than provide incentives for guests to fully enjoy everything a hotel can offer.”

The Hotel Windsor has acted quickly on the survey feedback. From 1 October 2009 it will substantially lower the price of all mini-bar items to align them as closely as possible with retail prices and will review the success of this move at the end of the year. It has also introduced a new range of quality teas, Madame Flavour, to its suites and deluxe rooms.

According to Mr Perry, The Hotel Windsor is already ahead on a number of other fronts. It recently partnered with Primus Telecom to install a dedicated high-speed fibre-optic connection to ensure guests enjoy the best-value and best-performing internet in town. As well, feedback forms from diners at the hotel’s signature 111 Spring Street Restaurant in August show 83 per cent rated their meal as very good or outstanding.

“The survey results show hotels need to look closely at all areas of operation and constantly identify areas for improvement and innovation in order to deliver a quality hospitality experience,” Mr Perry said.

The 180-room Hotel Windsor was built in 1883, pre-dating some of the world’s leading grand hotels including the Savoy in London, which was built in 1889, the Waldorf Astoria in New York which dates back to 1893, and the Ritz Paris which opened in 1898.

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