Beyond Amenities: How hotel brands secure hearts as well minds to engage consumers
By Laurence Bernstein Managing Partner, Protean Strategies | February 10, 2013
What exactly is a hotel? Stripped to the core a hotel has three components -- a physical structure, a location and a collection of people -- gathered in one place at one time to provide shelter.
What makes a hotel more than this skeleton, are the amenities it provides: these run the gamut from the bath products and business centers traditionally thought of as amenities, to the swimming pools, restaurants, spas, and services. Even the website and social media channels are amenities provided by the hotel for the benefit of future guests, current guests and past guests. It makes sense to think of everything beyond the building, the location and the people, as amenities.
These amenities are added for various reasons -- primarily, one supposes, to ensure the success of the enterprise (in some cases amenities are provided for other reasons -- to showcase the city or country, to enhance a development, or to gratify the ego of the owner -- but, for our discussion, we'll think in terms of economic success). But mostly, amenities are the drivers of profitability.
Amenities do this by ensuring the desirability of the hotel as a place to stay (in many cases hotels also cater to the local community in a variety of ways, but in reality, these local amenities are part of a plan to support the hotel in one way or another -- otherwise the investor would build a restaurant or a banquet hall, a bar or a nightclub, any one of which would probably be a better investment, but I digress).
Desirability is a subjective judgement that this particular experience will satisfy a need. We reach this conclusion as a result of many, many factors interrelating in our brains at a conscious and unconscious level: what we learn about the hotel, our experiences of, at and with the hotel, every other direct or indirect interaction with the hotel -- all filtered through our own beliefs, attitudes and broader experiences of the world around us.
This judgement becomes an action -- a decision to stay at this hotel -- when it is overlaid with an authentic promise. Most of this is processed in our unconscious minds (as much as 67% according to our recent study of Hotel Brand Personality and Emotional Profiles), where our experiences and feelings matter most.