While hotel amenities might have once been looked at as “secondary” or “minor” components that serve to enhance a guest’s already (hopefully) excellent experience, modern travelers are putting a premium on these extras more and more.
Sure, cleanliness and good customer service will always be what’s most important to guests, but many popular hotel amenities that were once considered extras have become commonplace necessities today.
Let’s take a quick look at what hotel amenities are must-haves for today’s hotel guests first before we dive into what your hotel can do to better manage and track its key amenities.
What Are Considered Standard Hotel Amenities?
A hotel amenity is anything that can be viewed by the guest as a useful or desirable feature that comes with renting a room on your property. Some hotel amenities can be considered standard and free of charge, while more exotic and luxurious ones could be offered for an additional price.
Guest expectations have, naturally, changed with the times, making some things that were once considered amenities basic features of a hotel stay that need to be included no matter what. The best way to talk about standard hotel amenities is by putting them into two groups; amenities contained within your room and amenities featured throughout the hotel’s property.
Personal items that are provided for complimentary use by guests might have once been considered amenities, but in today’s hotel market, things such as hair dryers, mouthwash, soap, and clean towels are considered standard items that every hotel guest should have access to at all times.
Most of these items are meant to be disposable and are purchased in bulk, except for hair dryers and towels, obviously. Towels are stolen from hotels very often, with a recent survey reporting that 77.5% of hoteliers claimed hat towels were stolen from their property.
While many hotels consider stolen towels as an unavoidable expense, some try to reduce the frequency of towel theft by fitting them with RFID technology.
Less common, but still fairly standard, in-room hotel amenities include kitchen facilities (sink, refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave or oven, etc.), televisions, and some type of Internet access (usually Wi-Fi).
The best way to think about amenities offered on-premises is as “things that your guests do at home, that they’d like to be able to do at the hotel as well.”
Free parking is an obvious and important one to have. Enabling guests to consume food and beverages is another one. At the very least, you should have a vending machine or two, but It’s obviously better to have an actual kitchen and restaurant on-premises.
Offering complimentary breakfast is a very popular hotel amenity and having a restaurant where your guests can eat during the course of their stay without having to leave your hotel is another great amenity, even if the food isn’t free.
The same goes for having a bar. Guests staying at your hotel are not always there on vacation and not all of them want to explore your city and check out local restaurants and bars. Some would rather have the option of taking care of those needs on your property and it’s your job to provide them with that option.
Exercise and recreation are a couple of very popular amenities as well. People who are avid fitness enthusiasts like to never have to miss a day at the gym, even when they're traveling. So while it’s not an amenity that’s for everyone, having a fitness center will definitely make your hotel more appealing to a certain type of guest.
Hotel Amenities Guests Look for Most Today
For better or worse, people today simply need to have access to the Internet at all times. That’s why having excellent Wi-Fi in your hotel and enough areas for your guests to connect and charge their phones, laptops, and other devices is paramount today.
Guests want fast and free Wi-Fi. People on business trips will probably need it for work and meetings. People on vacation will want to upload and send photos, check out their social media profiles, and talk to friends and family back home.
The hotel minibar has become an antiquated concept that modern guests don’t use as often and that many hotels are not interested in having any more. What guests do love is having a mini-fridge in their rooms that they can fill themselves. It’s a great way to give guests a great amount of convenience without having to spend money and time on monitoring and stocking the fridge yourself.
Regular televisions are being replaced by smart TVs for the same reason. Guests don’t want pay-per-view movies, they want to use popular streaming services to continue watching the shows and movies they’ve already started.
Hotels are discovering that they get better returns financially by giving guests more independence and convenience. Letting them drink their own beverages and access their personal streaming services can lead to future bookings, which is easily worth more than charging them for a few items from your hotel minibar or pay-per-view system.
Keeping Track of Your Hotel Amenities
When looking to optimize your hotel amenities management processes, the easiest thing to do is to look at them more holistically as part of your hotel inventory system.
Your hotel inventory is usually divided into two categories: primary and secondary hotel inventory. Your rooms are your primary hotel inventory, since they are your main source of revenue, and really, your number one concern. Room inventory includes all of the items and amenities that can be found in your rooms (soap, towels, etc.) and the rooms themselves as singularity entities.
Keeping track of both room occupancy and the availability of popular and necessary inventory items within your rooms should be your main focus. “Everything else” can be grouped into the category of secondary inventory. That means everything that’s found in your restaurants, bars, gift shops, and any other secondary areas of your hotel.
Secondary amenities and inventory might be a bit more difficult to track since the dynamics of how they are being used can vary greatly. For example, food and beverages move quickly while gift shop items tend to hang around a bit longer. Keeping track of these dynamics is important because being understocked or overstocked can cost your hotel a lot of money.
In order to manage hotel inventory system better, modern hotel managers have started to embrace technology and data first and foremost.
Collecting and Using Hotel Inventory Data
The process of collecting data starts with properly cataloging your hotel inventory.
Once your hotel amenities and other inventory have been properly cataloged, the next step is to create a system through which you can cross-reference your room occupancy statistics with the resources (amenities and inventory) that are needed to make sure that your guests have everything they need at all times. This allows you to optimize the distribution of your inventory to minimize complaints and instances in which your guests are missing something that they expect to have access to during all phases of their stays.
Setting up these processes the right way allows your staff to then identify patterns in how your amenities and inventory are being used in order to make sure that everything is available at all times.
Identifying these patterns allows you to be proactive instead of reactive in this process, which is one of the main tenets of establishing proper preventive maintenance and management systems.
Preventive maintenance is an important pillar for keeping your hotel amenities that aren’t items in check. That includes making sure that popular amenities such as hairdryers and washing machines are working correctly and that recreational facilities such as swimming pools and saunas are always clean, for example.
The process of collecting and analyzing inventory data has obviously evolved along with technology. Hand-written lists and catalogs were once replaced with spreadsheets and spreadsheets, today, have been replaced with hotel management software solutions.
How Hotel Management Software Can Help
The best thing about hotel management software today is how truly all-encompassing it can be. While there are solutions that are specifically aimed at improving the organization and efficiency of your housekeeping team, for example, there are applications that truly provide an all-in-one solution for managing properties of any size.
Software can help you to greatly improve the way you both collect and analyze your data, providing you with dashboards of vital data that are easy to understand and implement without really having to do much of the calculation and legwork yourself.
It can also help you keep better tabs on your guests and their satisfaction levels by making it incredibly easy for you to receive guest feedback and then create actionable plans that can be quickly implemented to give them more of what they love about your hotel and address any negative feedback you may have received.
Hotel management software can even automate your entire process of providing room service, giving you even more actionable data regarding what your guests love about your room service offer, what they aren’t interested in, and what additions they’d like to see.
The more data you have on every hotel management process, the easier it will be to make better decisions that can improve literally every aspect of the way you manage your property—not just your amenity and inventory management, but also the way you interact with guests, the feedback you receive and how you act upon it, and even the productivity, efficiency, and happiness of your hotel staff.
Leveraging new technologies truly is the future of hotel management and can help your property yield better results both in the short and long term.