Expert’s Voice: When it comes to hotel amenities, planning is everything
TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Barcelona panellists (from L to R) Matt Aspiotis Morley, Kate Dicker, Jose Antonio Castro, Sonal Uberoi & moderator Heleri Rande. Photo by Jule Grass.
How early you plan for various amenities during the hotel development stage will dictate its profitability, say panellists at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Barcelona.
Whether it’s an inviting F&B deal, focus on kids’ programming or a spotlight on health and fitness, how hotels cater to the changing needs of guests will determine its profitability.
At TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Barcelona held at AC Hotel Barcelona Forum on June 27, esteemed panelists agreed that advance planning in this regard produces a good return on investment, highlighting how amenities should be considered prior to the construction of the hotel.
Some amenities look more important than others, but in the end the investor will need to select the ones they feel will attract their target clientele.
One amenity can boost others
“I wish we were called in earlier,” says Kate Dicker, Senior Consultant at Worldwide Kids, which – among other things – provides childcare services to the hospitality industry.
She says investors often request her to provide their services in already operating children’s clubs. “This can cost a lot of money since the spaces are not properly designed for children and often have to be redesigned all over again,” Dicker said.
She shared that a kids’ club can increase hotel occupancy up to 15% which makes a good return on investment from a single amenity in the hotel. “If parents know that their kids are being looked after properly, there will also be an increased spend in spa, F&B and other facilities,” Dicker said, “So in the end, overall return on investment is higher than expected.”
Amenities are ultimately experiences
Matt Aspiotis Morley, Founder of nature-inspired gyms Biofit Health & Fitness, says he is lucky to be working in a niche market where he is often called early on in the design process of a hotel. “More often than not, we manage to design the gym in a way that brings together the different proposals of the owners, investors and operators,” Morley said.
However, it is not easy to make the investors think of amenities as an experience as sometimes amenities are devalued and tagged as “non-important”, he said.
While, in general, there is more awareness of the importance of F&B’s role in hospitality, panel discussion moderator and F&B strategist Heleri Rande said an important factor to consider is that F&B is a nimble, changing market.
“It’s true that F&B makes 40% of the income of a hotel, but there is still a lot to work on it,” agreed Jose Antonio Castro, Director of F&B at Hotel Investment Partners.
“Everything should be consistent; every hotel should have a coherent, unifying F&B strategy,” he said, highlighting that the concept must draw from the history of a location and also from the amenities.
Wanted: coherent thought & strategy
Sonal Uberoi, Founder & Wellness Director at Spa Balance Consulting, shared that a lot had changed in wellness and spa industry over the past decade. For one, hotel developers are finally thinking of spas at the right stages of hotel development.
“Spas are expensive to build and if badly executed there is no return on investment. That is why now we get called in early,” says Uberoi.
“Once the amenities are properly installed, and the right personnel are in place, spas are very well received by guests. The challenge is that the concept needs to be well thought-out,” she added.
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