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October 31, 2008

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the floopy one

I think whilst you've spotted the key trends affecting hotels today, the last point you raised is one of the oldest yet most universal ingredient which can and should be applied across all businesses.

Your point about what creates great service is one of the most important aspects of a hotel. Something about paying a small fortune for a small room brings out an expectation of service in all of us.

Travel used to be something only the wealthy could experience. As travel becomes more accessible, travellers expect a taste of luxury no matter what level they are at (check out the 'luxury' hotels which make it to the top of hostels.com listing each month. and even in a humble hostel, none get rated highly without the presence of highly knowledgeable staff who impart that knowledge in an inclusive way).

Throughout the spectrum, hoteliers are creating niches by bridging the gap with unique products that give you a taste of what you aspire to at a just within reach price. The thing is, anyone with dough can buy a me-two hotel and deck it out with the best designers and cool toys. So when everything is pretty much the same variation of great views/unique design/top technology/latest amenity, that's when service becomes more important. It is harder to buy a team who truly deliver great service off the shelf - because behind great service is usually a great culture, and that takes time to develop.

And as people become more savvy, they expect respect and not intimidation or being patronized. There will always be a place for formal service, but as knowledge is power those who can serve you best due to how much they know will be important to any hospitality outfit. No one likes to pay to feel they aren't comfortable or not good enough for a joint.


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