• Andrea Gillard

5 Ways for Hoteliers to Ensure 5-Star Reviews

It's ironic that we often don't appreciate how well some of the hospitality industry 'get' its guests until we experience a stay where things aren't quite right.

I feel pretty privileged to be able travel as part of my business and, as a consequence, I get to stay in lots of different hotels and Serviced Accommodation.

As a fellow business owner, I always aim to leave constructive feedback as I know how valuable this is for future development and here's some of the things that are a sure way to help anyone in the hospitality industry get those essential 5-star ratings.

1. Task Lighting

Okay, there's nothing worse than you're staying somewhere and you're getting ready to go out, your room-mate is still in the bathroom (where the best mirror and lighting is) and you need to get your 'slap on' but the room lighting is just not fit for purpose - arrggghh!! We've all been there.

Making sure there is the correct task lighting in the main room will score highly with your guests.

All parties can get on with their pampering and titivating without getting under each other's feet, or on each other's nerves - which wouldn't make a good start to the evening.

This lighting needs to be able to light-up the user's face and not cast shadows across the face, as a desk lamp would do.

The lighting in the rest of the room, also needs to be specific for the purpose, ensure there's a good main (ambient) light, that's bright enough to light the space, but not overly intense, together with nice, subtle bedside lights - a 'Brucie Bonus' would also include the option of a reading light.

See my earlier blog Light Up Your World on tips and techniques for lighting schemes.

2. Mirrors

"Mirror, mirror on the wall..." Most hotel or other hospitality stays are usually for the purpose of some form of outing/celebration, or business event and, for each of these, the guest needs to make sure they're looking the business.

Having a good full-length mirror is an absolute must and is usually provided but, in addition, is the essential 'titivating' mirror to accompany the task lighting mentioned above.

You don't want your guests to have to carry a handy mirror just in case there's an occasion where the available mirror in the room is in such an awkward position with no task lighting near it. I'm sure most of you believe this would never be the case, but I'm afraid to say I've had two such occasions just in the last twelve months where there's been either a poxy mirror, underneath the TV and the lighting has been so dim that I've ventured out looking like Alice Cooper ...

Strategically placed mirrors not only provide an essential tool for guests, but they can reflect light around the room and also create the feeling of extra space and be a statement piece in its own right, like the one shown above.

3. Bathroom Worktops

Sooooo, gone are the days when a simple pedestal basin would do.

Nope, now your guests will need a sufficient worktop area to perform their procedures on.

As already mentioned, someone will be putting their make-up on in the bathroom (make sure your extractor is sufficient, or that you have a heated mirror so it de-mists quickly enough 🙈) or want to have a shave and they need somewhere to spread out all their implements.

You don't want guests having to balance a full-facial makeover toolbox in the soap-holding receptacles, they're simply not up to the task. No, this calls for full-scale operational workspace.

A stylish marble or Corian top with inset basin will score you highly with all manner of guests and it has the additional advance of providing vital space where you can add extra point enhancing finishing touches.

4. Power

Have you ever had a time when you've got out of the shower, you've located the hairdryer then you have to search for an available plug-socket that will actually allow you to see what you're doing in a mirror, but realise that this isn't at all possible? Yep, I've had that a few times...!

This may not be rocket science, but by making sure that there is an available plug-socket in close proximity to a mirror is an absolute essential in your guests' book.

To add extra bonus points, try to ensure that at least two sockets - one on the dressing table and one by. the bedside tables - has USB connectivity, so guests can charge their 'phones.

5. Go Green

With the critical global focus on Climate Change, we all need to be environmentally responsible and do our bit to help sustainability.

This can sometimes seem like one of the hardest things to get right but, with just a little bit of effort you'll find it's actually quite easy, and will save you money.

Instead of individual complimentary toiletries, why not try shampoo and liquid-soap dispensers that can be easily refilled between guests? This way there's much less plastic waste and, as you're not providing individual items for each guest, it will help reduce your costs too.

Why not offer a decanter of refrigerated tap water, in place of individual plastic bottles of water? This will save on your costs too as you won't have to buy in supplies of bottled water, so everyone's a winner.

Decaffeinated, or preferably, Green or herbal teas and coffees are also a good point-scorer, together with lactose-free options for milk and 'butter'.

As more and more individuals are becoming vegan, this will go a long way in ensuring you get great reviews from all manner of travellers; it's good to open your offering to all possible manner of guest and, by being readily inclusive, you'll put all guests instantly at ease, without any having ask for the 'green' option 😉

Take a look at two of the benchmark hoteliers who already have sustainability at the forefront of their business strategy: Whatley Manor and Heckfield Place, or alternatively have a look at The Considerate Group who work with hoteliers to pave the most sustainable route from supplier to user possible.