At the end of July, The American Hotel & Lodging Association released the results of its 2006 lodging survey. This survey was the largest of its kind and this year, 9,300 hotel properties were surveyed in over 100 areas. The survey has been deemed the most comprehensive identifier of industry trends.
There has been a lot of buzz about hotel amenities and the trends that have affected them. The tech savvy travelers of recent years have forced hoteliers to upgrade room amenities to include voice mail services, internet access, and flat-screen televisions. Hoteliers are spending in excess of $5 billion dollars on upgrades this year alone.
Members of AH&LA can view the survey in its entirety, but for more information, read the press release at their website. Here are a few highlights from the survey:
- The percentage of hotels with cable or satellite TV in the room has grown steadily since 1990, from 69 percent to 99 percent in 2006.
- Voice mail continues to become a common amenity in hotel rooms. Eighty-six percent of all hotels now offer voice mail, up from 72 percent in 2004. All hotels in the luxury chain scale indicated they offer voice mail.
- Fifty percent of the properties surveyed offered high-speed internet access in 2004, which grew to 89 percent in 2006.
- Wireless Internet access is likely the fastest growing in-room amenity. The number of hotels that offer this service more than doubled over the last two years. In 2006, 82 percent of all hotels offered this service compared to 35 percent in 2004.
- Sixty-nine percent of all hotels indicated they had upgraded the bedding in their rooms last year.
- Branded bathroom amenity products proved to be a popular item for all hotels. Eighty five percent of all hotels indicated they provide branded amenity products in bathrooms.
- Ninety-eight percent of all respondents in 2006 indicated they use the Internet to obtain a booking, which was up from 89 percent in 2004.
Even though these upgrades make it easier for us to stay wired and in-touch while traveling for business or pleasure, some guests feel that hotels are losing their “human touch.” USA Today did a study on what has been lost as we make these great advances in amenities. What’s missing today? Wake up calls from a real person, postcards and stationary available in-room, and windows that actually open are just some of the “personal” elements disappearing from hotels.
Give your guests the technological advances they need to stay in touch, but retain some of those small personal touches. This could put you ahead of your competition.