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Luxury through little Things that Make the Difference

July 12, 2010

Breakfast at the Palm Whispers Hotel, Australia (photos: Palm Whispers, Shizen Hotel)

I write a lot about hotels adding value through spas, guest room amenities, and even butler service – luxury coming from experiences, uniqueness and details and not  only from fancy designs & expensive tea china service.

I recently heard from my good friend Susi Weistman, a travel agent dealing with very upscale clients, when she recently returned from a trip to Florida with her grown daughter. She was most impressed by the cookies and warm milk they got late at night when they returned to their guestroom. A simple nice service gesture is what made a difference and the reason why Susi will return to this particular hotel.

During the recent Nabucco event in Masada, hoteliers in the Dead Sea got a chance to show real hospitality to high end guests, both from Israel and abroad.

The major production was at Masada, but the hotels knew that they did not need a major production: through services such as culinary surprises, great food events and spa options, they were able to conquer potentially returning market. Again- luxury facilities that these opera goers must have seen in other destinations – was compensated here by great service standards.

The food amenities platform is an excellent way to make a difference. They can be mixed and matched depending what’s in season and the different yearly seasons. Some examples:

Shizen Hotel, Israel

1. Energy bars with small mineral water bottles at the entrance of hotels – before guest go out for their exercise run.

2. A welcome cocktail at check-in: freshly squeezed juice or fruit shakes, or if late – maybe hot dark or white chocolate drink

3. Small cupcakes of all flavors, or chocolate dipped strawberries – besides the traditional fruit basket in guestrooms (by the way –cupcakes seems to be the next hotel`s trend).

4. 15 different flavors of coffee in the lobby (variety adds luxury…)

5. Churros sweets with five different syrup dips.

6. Organic options, such as eggs for breakfast,

7. Milk & chocolate cookies with a small poem at night, or an ice cream sundae!!

Shizen Hotel, Israel

8. Little take away for the day trip (children boxes – with a snack).

9. Sangria and tapas (for a fee) in the middle of the night, or popcorn for kids.

10. Surprise small birthday cake.

It’s hard sometimes to think about new ideas when the general mood is of cutting costs in a slow economy. We tend to copy the competition rather than saying “I have a new idea”.

And yet – there is another way (see for example the unique bar at kimpton hotels).Innovation can yield great results and can indeed be related to the bottom line. A guest that says “I will be back” is a success story. It’s all about attitude and culture to create experience and not just a venue…

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