The hot topic at Hotel Management’s recent Executive Roundtable, sponsored by Sabre Hospitality Solutions, was “Curating Guest Experiences to Maximize Your Revenue Stream.” The event, held in April at the Omni Berkshire Place in New York City, brought together a varied group of hospitality leaders who examined how to mine the potential return on investment opportunities within a property’s physical plant while enhancing the “emotional” aspects of a guest stay.
The scope of what a hotel is expected to deliver as part of a guest experience has widened to the point where owners and operators, asset managers, even investors, consistently are searching for ways to enhance their properties with distinct offerings that will attract, capture and perhaps, most importantly, retain guest business. This has led to a subtle trend where hoteliers are taking a cue from their retail brethren, developing public space into a range of smaller, boutique settings that can be commercialized to draw revenue from in-house guests as well as the outside community.
From pop-up food-and-beverage experiences to renting space in the lobby and meeting rooms for local use to specializing in specific types of experiences like scaled weddings, live entertainment and cooking classes, hoteliers increasingly are invigorated by the square-foot potential for greater return on investment represented by such innovation and nontraditional thinking around how a hotel’s physical plant is used.
Which is not to say this type of thinking is new—consider the longstanding existence of spas and indoor swimming pools. Someone’s demands were met. The paradigm shift comes from operating in the current social-media-crazed environment where if you can’t Instagram it, it basically doesn’t exist, driving the industry to be much more focused on consumer preferences.
“Hoteliers, whether independent or even branded, have always wanted to be a part of their own community. But really of late is where they’ve started thinking more about: ‘How do I actually consciously do that … To be more than just a hotel for a hotel’s sake?’” said Michelle L. Woodley, president, Preferred Hotels & Resorts. “Asset managers are like: ‘I’ve got this much square space, square meters or square feet. What are we doing with every inch of the space that we have?’ A way to maximize that is to focus on the local market.”