I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at boutique hotels lately. Many of them are located in cramped urban settings, with owners and managers who need ways to do more with less (and of course, adding the word “boutique” tells you that!). So when I came across an English newspaper’s list of the best country house hotels in England, I just had to click. It was an opportunity to sail to the other end of the spectrum. What happens when a hotel has all the space (and sometimes, it seems, all the money) in the world?
The images were just as I imagined—no surprise there, since I’ve seen a few in my time. From the air they look like castles. Inside you see lush chairs, cavernous common spaces, private rooms big enough for yoga classes. There are fireplaces and oaken desks. There were names like Langar Hall, Park House and Swinton Park.
Slippers, Towels and Branding: The Case For Lost Hotel Amenities
There’s a scene in the movie Casino where a high-stakes gambler is preparing to leave his Las Vegas hotel room. Despite having won over $2 million on the casino floor, we see him filling his suitcase with towels and shampoo. After that, we see him boarding a private jet for the ride home.
Apparently, even the super-rich find those little extras difficult to resist.
Why is this? Maybe it’s the idea that hotels have endless supplies of such things, and taking them does no harm to anyone in particular. Maybe it’s the feeling that, since hotel rooms are ‘home’ for a day or two, everything inside is fair game. Maybe it’s as simple as wanting a souvenir of a pleasant stay. A keepsake that offers a sense of place.
Like it or not, AirBnB is changing the hospitality industry. Not temporarily, not in a small way, but permanently and significantly. Is this a bad thing for traditional industry players? Not at all—provided they pick up the clues that AirBnB is giving about the future of the industry.
In part one of this series, we discussed how AirBnB is spearheading a trend toward the personal in hospitality. People are connecting with this service because of the personality, warmth, and authenticity it promises. It’s now possible to rent a fully furnished loft in Paris, or a luxury apartment in Melbourne, directly from the owner. Instead of being a “guest” in a “hotel,” people are looking for a genuine experience of place, often with highly personalized guidance from the owner of the property. If all goes well, AirBnB’s customers almost feel like they’ve gotten away with something.Read More