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How to be a brilliant … hotel

So many simple mistakes, so many opportunities…

1. Failing to be generous

Of course hotels need to make money, but making customers feel they’re being rinsed of every penny won’t win any hotel fans – or repeat business.
Be generous, offer little extras which don’t cost you a fortune but which make guests feel surprised and delighted: a complimentary drink and nibbles before dinner or your homemade speciality treat with coffee on arrival is thoroughly charming – especially if unexpected. It’s got social media wins all over it – plus you’ve harnessed the power of reciprocity.

2. Charging for WiFi

This is an absolute no-no. WiFi is an essential for modern life; it’s no longer 1998.

3. Offering products your customers would never use at home

Do you drink tea with long life UHT milk at home? Neither do they. Access to fresh milk and good tea (including herbal) and decent coffee and biscuits in the room are a basic – but boy they’re so often done poorly.

4. Scary signage

Read your in-room communications and signs. Do you feel like you’re being told off? Do you like the feeling? Could these essential messages be communicated in a more friendly way?

5. Creating a drama out of ironing a shirt

Everyone arrives with clothes in bags and items like shirts need ironing, however, it’s astonishing how painful it can be trying to iron a piece of clothing in some hotels.

Many don’t have irons or boards in their room and getting hold of one can entail an epic to rival The Odyssey. Go and try ironing a shirt in one of your hotel rooms. Does the board rise high enough for an average-height person? Is it wobbly? Does the hot iron fit in the holder or risk falling off the board to burn the carpet? Is the lead long enough to reach the collar of a shirt?

Then (incognito) try ordering an iron and board be delivered to a room at 7pm on a Saturday evening. How long does it take? How frustrated would you be at this point while you wait in your underwear knowing your dinner reservation is in 10 minutes, your dining partners waiting and there’s no sign of it – despite the chase-up call. In the right mood to start the evening? How much do irons cost? Exactly.