The hotel industry challenge of ‘bums in beds’ is a hotly contested one, especially in the three- and four-star space of city hotels. Many hotels in this bracket rely on large sales teams who nurture important relationships with corporate ‘buyers’, but in an ever-changing booking landscape, hoteliers are left wondering what is it exactly that makes for a return-guest?
Home* Suite Hotels who have set out to marry the Airbnb concept with traditional hotel spoils have not only considered important aspects in their hotel design and development such as large rooms and a rooftop bar but have introduced some novel services to their offering. The hotel offers a pillow-preference menu and guests can leave their laundry (including shoes) at the hotel on checkout to be washed, prepped and back in their wardrobe on their next check-in.
Sipa Mzamo, front office manager at their Home* Suite Hotel Bristol in Rosebank says, “We have one regular guest who leaves her clothes and gym outfit with us as well as her spare running shoes. When she checks in again, her clothes are washed and ready in her cupboard, along with her running shoes.” The hotel also has a WhatsApp line that guests can communicate with. “Your morning starts with a message from our barista to ask if you’d like your coffee sent up to your room,” he explains.
Sara Reynolds, who heads up the marketing team at the recently launched Home* Suite Hotels group, says that they are pleasantly surprised at how guests have responded to the ‘little things’ they have introduced. “Our whole ethos and concept are to make people feel at home, and this was in front of mind in every decision we made. I can’t tell you how many women have commented on items like a ‘decent’ hairdryer, shampoo AND conditioner, a legitimate health menu and a fresh cappuccino delivery as soon as you wake up.”
A hotel booking can be as easy or as complicated as you make it. With a plethora of channels available to any booker, the price war has been made easy for the guest. But regular travellers, especially the business kind, seem to be betwixt and between traditional hotel-stays and the more modern approach of Airbnb or apart-hotel stays.
Home* Suite Hotels might just be hitting the sweet spot as regular business commuters who are enjoying the home-away-from-home concept are amongst their top returning guests.