The most important product of a hotel is, no doubt, the room, not only for it is the main source of income, but also for the sense of belonging that each client assumes: it is the only hotel product that the client claims as his/her own and refers to it as ‘MY ROOM’.
Those who work in the hotel market are fully aware that this is a sector of the international economic market with a steady and fast growth, because the hotel industry is bound to one of the greatest pleasures of the human being: leisure.
This growth brings about a fast increase of business competition and, consequently, the need for hotel businesses to stand out in the wide pool of offers that exists, in order to catch the attention of potential clients and, therefore keep the occupancy levels high and stable, a key factor in the success of such a business.
A hotel is rated for its product as well as for its services. One way to stand out is by changing the perception of the stay of your clients (guests) into integrated holistic experiences through a process of mental elaboration. This is carried out by the hotel product and its related services on the basis of the constant generation of sensory stimuli that best catch the attention of the human brain: stimuli that transmit physical security, energy saving and pleasure.
The most important product of a hotel is, no doubt, the room, not only for it is the main source of income, but also for the sense of belonging that each client assumes: it is the only hotel product that the client claims as his/her own and refers to it as “MY ROOM”.
Nevertheless, in many cases the design of a hotel room is dissociated from its functionality either for the client or the hotel worker, thus generating a series of drawbacks that negatively influence on the comfort of the client and his/her total satisfaction.
In this paper, we will refer to some drawbacks in the design of the room product from our experience as guests, hotel workers and consultant-trainers. They are:
– Dark corridors.
– The number of room in hard–to-read designs or too long for the guest to remember.
– Blind doors, with no portholes, which prevent the guest from checking who is knocking at the door.
– Doors without a double bolt or chain, which limits the privacy of the guest and, on many occasions, the staff of the hotel enters the room without the consent of the guests.
– Electronic locks with low sensitivity to reading and touch.
– Magnetic keycards easy to demagnetize when close to cell phones, an essential tool used by almost all guests.
– Hard-to-open locks and doorknobs.
– Automatic snap fastener too tight, so the door becomes too heavy to open or cannot stay open when needed.
– The width of the door opening is too tight for the luggage or maid’s cart to get through, so they have to make the room with the doors open, or opening them constantly, to get their tools. This causes a loss of air-conditioning or the presence of insects, as well as it affects the productivity of the workers.
– Light-keys away from the entrance door; no master switch beside the bed to prevent the guest to stand up to turn on/off the lights; no enough lighting in the different areas of the room.
– Lights that cannot be dimmer, so it is not possible to create an intimate atmosphere or favor a WOW experience in the room.
– No luggage rack open or a comfortable space for the guest to place the cases, so he/she does not have to put them on the floor and then stoop to them.
– Desks full of lamps, brochures, stationary, thus leaving very Little room for the guest to place his/her belongings.
– No universal power plugs close to the desk to connect cell-phone, laptop or battery chargers.
– Small closets for long stays.
– Small or too high shelves.
– Small safes, or with no clear instructions.
– Small bedside tables with no outlet to plug chargers or other equipment (like, breathing machines).
– Air-conditioning outlets too faro r too close to the bed, thus preventing adjusting the direction of the flow.
– Room-temperature reading system only in Celsius or Fahrenheit degrees, with no optional reading.
– Minibars located in closed environments, so there is a concentration of heat and the nearby surfaces get warm.
– Automatic detection systems with lights that prevent total darkness in the room, thus affecting the relaxation of the guest.
– Rooms full of mirrors and glasses, which is not safe for the guest can get hurt (mostly in resorts where the guests can drink much alcohol).
– Bathrooms with no exhaust fans.
– Poor illumination for the mirrors, with no magnifying mirror.
– Power outlets away from the washbasin.
– Lack of hooks for hanging hand towels.
– Short-neck water taps in the washbasin causing splashing.
– Deep soap dishes with no drainage, so the soap bar wears down.
– Very narrow spaces in the shower box to place personal items.
– Too low washbasin, so the guest has to bend over, thus causing a pain in the back.
– Bathtubs in the middle of the room, so when coming out of it the floor gets wet and slippery.
– Narrow shower boxes with no slanting for drainage, so the water holds back or overflows.
– There is no handle to get in or out of the Jacuzzi.
– There are no holders in the showers.
– Showers with screens with no good closure, thus causing the water to spill to the floor.
– Soap dishes out of reach.
– Very high bathtubs, thus making extra effort to get in or out.
– Hooks/towel racks away from the bathtub/shower.
We are sure, dear reader, that a lot of similar situations have come to your mind while reading this list. Now that you are aware of them, we encourage you to help increasing the quality of the room product in your business. Before the approval of a room design, we suggest you show it and discuss it with your hotel workers, who have the required experience to modify any design element before its construction. Therefore, we can get ahead of a further and costly remodelation of the product caused by the dissatisfaction of the clients.
Finally, we are convinced that the design of the room product must, above all, abide by the principle that function defines form/shape, thus making the guest live an experience in HIS/HER ROOM by feeling safe and saving physical and mental energy, because he/she has everything at hand and, in a very subtle way, is enjoying the pleasure of comfort.
Osvaldo Torres Cruz
Director Experiential Hospitality Company
Magister in International Hotel Management.
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