The New Year is upon us and many of us will be making yet another load of New Year's resolutions, having still not learned by our previous failure to keep them (for example for me: must not drink so much, must actually go to the gym instead of just paying for it, etc....).
In a spirit of helpfulness then let me suggest some resolutions for hotel owners and managers, at the risk that some of them may merely reflect my own quirks and foibles : )
I will check my grouting. It's odd how many otherwise excellent hotels at all levels from budget to five star are let down by their grouting. Grubby, cracked, or missing grout in the bathroom, or missing bits of silicone seals on the bathtub, are not difficult to maintain - yet so often I find a couple of spots that need TLC. Get out there, walk into the bathrooms and check them out. Then get them fixed please!
I will keep my software updated. It's surprising how often I use a hotel's business centre or in-room computing resource and find the internet browser almost unusable because it's an ancient version that wants me to update it and keeps nagging me to do so (and of course because I don't have administrator privileges, I can't). It's not just annoying - it's a major security risk. Come on hotel IT people, get your software up to date. While we're at it, how about offering Chrome or Firefox as well as a Microsoft browser? Of course I can take my own laptop - but if I'm travelling for leisure, I don't always want to.
I'll keep making check-in and check-out easier. With modern technology, a long check-in process is a matter of ceremony rather than necessity. Please make it easy for me - let me register my credit card before I arrive, let me check in automatically (like Yotel does), give me a sofa to sit on instead of making me stand up to do it (like Andaz does). Make check-out fast and easy! Actually, budget hotels without minibars and room service are so much easier to check out of.
I will not use easy scripts. It's easy to tell when staff are parrotting a script. That's the lazy way to do things. If your staff don't actually make eye contact with customers but say ‘How are you today?' when it's clear their customer is (a) drenched, (b) disgruntled and (c) desperately needs to get that soaked raincoat off and a towel and hairdryer applied to their right uses, they're not impressing anybody. Teach your staff how to listen - it's more difficult but you'll be well rewarded for it. For example read about how Red Carnation Hotels trains and retains staff.
I will make WiFi free. Many hotels already have including budget chains like Travelodge and Premier Inn as well as luxury groups like Guoman and others; but several ultra-expensive London hotels persist with expensive WiFi tariffs. Why are they dragging their feet?
Do you have anything to add to Andrea's list? Let us know!