It’s time to start thinking about your New Year resolutions, so to help you out, here’s a few of the things we noticed last year that might point you in the right direction for the year ahead.
We want millennials – NO YOU DON’T!
Everyone is all excited about millennials. Yes, we now represent a majority of the traveling population and we’re supposed to have the power to spend – but just how true is that? We are a group of people aged between 18 and 35. Those in their thirties can afford fancy hotel rooms and gourmet dining – but the youngsters are all in hostels or Airbnb. I’ve read a lot about millennials and often get invited to talk about them. If you really want to find out more, check out this VDO and you will know what I’m talking about.
Don’t target the millennials as a broad group, target people in the right income bracket who can afford you!
**Be specific – YOU NEED TO TARGET WOMEN! **
Marketers often claim to target families or couples, but who makes the decisions in your family or relationship. In most cases it’s the woman, and you need to target mothers, wives, and girlfriends. What do they look for when traveling with a child? What does a girlfriend need when traveling with her partner? Will the spa get money out of them both? Come and grab us by our wallet!
According to the Harvard Business Review, women make the decisions in the purchase of 94% of home furnishings, 92% of vacations, 91% of homes, 60% of automobiles, and 51% of consumer electronics.
There is nothing for breakfast – the most common complaint on TripAdvisor
I feel for you on. Hoteliers try so hard to impress their guests with bubbles for breakfast, or all kinds of fancy items that nobody would ever have at home – and all they get in return are complaints. Guests are never satisfied anyway, so there’s no need for caviar or Alaskan King Crab. Solution? Keep it simple, with something for everyone, and maybe go for a little variety from one day to the next.
And as my editor is never slow to point out – it’s not an English breakfast without HP sauce.
**Do we need a TV? – Can’t we just Netflix and chill? **
Like a bathtub, we don’t use it but it has to be there. I don’t see TV going out of hotel rooms any day soon, so instead it must evolve. SO Sofitel Bangkok offers an iMac Mini so guests can stream their own channels and use the TV as a computer.
Mini bar – it wastes your time, my time, and everyone’s time
It’s 2018 and we are still talking about it. We once stayed at a hotel and one month later the hotel emailed us and asked if they could deduct some money for the chips we didn’t eat. When we checked out, they already confirmed that nothing was missing and I swear I didn’t eat those carby chips! Then a month later, an email to say I’m a liar and a carb eater. Either give it for free, or don’t have it at all.
**Design – do I have to get up to turn off that light? **
Guests face an endless struggle with turning lights on and off. You turn one off, and another two come on – and no matter what you try you’ll never get them all off at once. One time I was in bed, warm, tucked in and drifting off to sleep when I realized I’d have to get up to turn a lamp off. Too much effort, so I called housekeeping to do it for me.
Fancy designs are great, but you have to think about functionality.
You can’t understand me on the phone? – STOP THROWING AWAY BUSINESS!
We did ten random callsto 5-star hotels in Bangkok to see if they could handle English speaking guests. Some of the hotels were closed during our call, some just hung up on us, and not one asked for our contact details. The most shocking aspect was that hoteliers said they were already aware of this, and even accepted that “it is what it is”. Only two wanted to hear the recordings and requested constructive feedback.
**Not all guests are treated equally – ATTITUDES HAVE TO CHANGE **
Service should be offered on an equal basis – but in Southeast Asia, some guests find themselves second-class citizens. The one I notice personally is that westerners tend to get served first, especially the males. That’s not to say your staff are racist or sexist per se but it happens, and it has a direct effect on your brand, because it affects service. Some hotels still lose customers because staff assume that the Asian female partner is a prostitute and mistreat them, even when they clearly aren’t. The result is lost customers followed by naming and shaming on TripAdvisor!
**The toilet hose – good for hygiene and good for your hotels **
Almost every household in Asia has one. If it doesn’t come in “bum gun” form, it comes as water and a bucket. Please try it! It’s cleaner, healthier, and cuts down on the amount of toilet paper that gets flushed away. Don’t believe me? Read this.
Quit saying ‘NO’
Can you make Ka Prao chicken instead of beef? No! Can you make Thai milk tea without syrup? No!
A friend asked one member of hotel staff if she could merge his bookings into one account. Without even looking, thinking, or checking, she said ‘No sir’. Unfortunately for her, my friend works in the industry and knows perfectly well it can be done. He asked whether her answer was really the hotel policy, and the front office manager duly emerged and yes, it can be done. We know you have a lot of things to do, but know this: you are the reason guests pay to stay, to get that human touch. We want real service, so don’t take pride in saying No – that’s for the finance department!