Monday, February 19, 2018

Shift luxury into a higher gear

Today’s fussy guests want to experience the ride of a lifetime. Metaphorically, they want a Mercedes-Benz or a Rolls Royce not a quirky VW Beetle or a cute Mini.

Literally-speaking: pristine beds, crisp linens, fluffy towels, slippers, robes, high-end amenities, exclusive experiences, and personalised services are solely the domain of luxury hotels… right? Well, no. These offerings have become mainstream in most hotels, motels, and even Airbnb accommodation that would rate mid-scale and up.

Making guests happy is a racetrack and you are in the fast lane. Guest expectations like to break speed limits! When it comes to high-end hospitality, it means that you are having to shift into sixth gear.

Extraordinary guests want extraordinary experiences, posing the question; how can you be extraordinary and offer them the Mercedes-Benz-level experience?

Luxurious guest amenities

Do not merely provide basic, bland amenities like shampoo, conditioner and soap. If you really want to convey luxury, you must supply an indulgent range from a trusted brand, or create your own unique range.

Guests find comfort in recognised brands and the brands you choose say a lot about you. When you create your own inspired amenities, it leaves a long-lasting impression of the quality of your brand. Plus, if guests take a few items home there’s an element of organic marketing.

Guests want quality products, scrumptious aromas, eco-friendly and non-animal-tested choices; they want lotions, scents, diffusers… the whole shebang! If your property has a bath, why not treat guests to a beautiful bath bag infusion, or scented bath tea bags? Ignite their passion with magnificent skin care products, blended with 100 percent natural essential oils.

Luxury beds

The focal point of the guestroom should be the bed; the priority is comfort and the golden rule of guestroom design is to keep it simple, keep it fresh and, above all, classy. There is no need for flashy designer headboards as big as billboards, or a pillow mountain of all shapes, sizes and textures; colourful scarves, gimmick footboards or posts and there isn’t even a need for linen with huge thread counts.

When it comes to a bed, all guests want is a supremely comfortable and high quality mattress, with timeless layers of crisp sheets, sumptuous and soft pillows, a plush topper, fluffy doona, and extra blankets. Generally, if you do your beds and linens really well, you will win the race.

Creating the ultimate luxury sleep experience for guests can be the making of your accommodation; you need to weigh up all the elements and find a ‘sweet spot’ between price, comfort, and durability to evoke a luxurious and unforgettable experience.

Guests have the notion that a white bed is special, the ‘halo effect’ epitomises luxury and restful sleep. Many hotels offer clean, white, high thread count  bed linen as the primary feature in a guestroom.

Many brands like Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and Swissôtel redesigned their sleep experiences to fit their brand and some even sell their beds, pillows, towels, linen and other amenities directly to guests.

Linen and towels

Guests will feel luxury is on-hand (and body) when they notice how beautiful your towels are: plush, fluffy and soft (but not too soft) as well as absorbent. Present them with fresh, bright white towels that look and smell amazing as an essential part of the luxury experience and add bathrobes and slippers for that extra special attention to detail.

The standard of your towels and bed linen leaves a lasting impression on your guests because there is something very special about a night in a luxury hotel when you step out of the shower onto a fluffy bathmat, wrapped in a soft towel, slipping your toes into comfy slippers and slipping into luxurious bed linen.

In-room treats

There’s nothing worse than waking up to a bad cup of tea or coffee. Think luxury, think choice and high quality beverages.

Housekeeping

In self-catered accommodation, no guest wants to think about housekeeping supplies or have to go home with dry and damaged hands from cheap cleaning products. Sometimes, providers disregard the fact that you must add quality extras like in-room detergents, and laundry powders.

Bathrobes and slippers

Step up the pampering a notch: there is nothing quite like the gift of a luxurious bath robe and matching slippers.

Beautiful artwork

Nothing says luxury quite like unique, original artwork. Create the ambience you want in a room; define your originality, and leave guests talking about your art.

Eco-luxury

Luxury does not have to be at the cost of sustainability because ‘eco-minded guests’ also enjoy and seek luxury. Luxurious linen can also be environmentally conscious, with stylish and more sustainable sheets being made using high quality processes and/or recycled polyester.

Innovative brands inspire and give hotel guests worldwide the opportunity to experience luxury that is also sustainable. Recycled linen – or microfiber sheeting – offers longevity and greatly reduced energy demands with maintenance.

One of the major issues for sustainability is that hotel linen is washed so frequently and to get that pristine white linen look, strong detergent and a hot wash is the only way to go. One answer is to reduce your washing frequency, you can do this by reminding that guests reuse their towels and some hotels even have offers for eco-stays, where linen only gets changed every third night. If the quality of your linen is high, and your ethos is green, most luxury guests are more than happy.

Some accommodations will do almost anything to attract luxury-seeking guests; guests have been spoilt for choice. Travellers are savvier and less-likely to be won-over with smoke and mirror hospitality so it takes more than a clean room and friendly service to win the customer loyalty of your guests.

Try simple and basic ways to up your ante in the luxury department. Without having to entice your guests with high-tech gadgetry, over-the-top butler service or flashy design.

The reason Mercedes-Benz is the epitome of a luxury ride for most people is that they know they will get exactly what they expect (or more) from the car. They get a consistent combination of safety, quality, comfort, style, and performance with a touch of surprise.

These qualities are more likely to impress than over-the-top offerings.

About Mandy Clarke

Mandy Clarke
Mandy is one of our most popular industry reporters. Make sure you never miss out on her monthly property profiles by subscribing to Resort News!

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