Let’s take a step into the past – about 50 years ago or so. After a long, tiresome trip, you’ve finally stumbled upon a “motel” for the night. A bellhop greets you with a bright welcoming smile, to which you return the favor, and you stroll past the concierge and to the front desk. You are handed a small key from a wall full of key boxes and you proceed to your room so that you can finally rest. You unlock the door, set down your aqua leather Samsonite luggage, and kick off your penny loafers, feeling the harvest gold shag carpet between your toes. As you lay down, your eyes follow the design of the wallpaper and you admire its avocado hue, contemplating pulling out a quarter and having your day massaged away by the vibrating bed. These hospitality industry trends may be outdated now, but for decades they were key to hotel guest satisfaction.
1. The Mini Bar. When your stomach is rumbling at night and you just have to have a Snickers bar, it’s nice to have a mini bar in your room for easy access. But paying $5 for candy seems a little ridiculous. Today, many hotels are ditching the mini bar concept because they are losing money using them. Every day, employees go to each room and restock the mini bar, tossing any items that have expired, which seems like a waste of time and money. Now hotels are opting for hotel pantries instead, providing guests with a convenient shop where they can purchase their favorite snacks and beverages at a more reasonable price.
2. Toilet Seat Bands. It was always reassuring to go into your hotel room bathroom and see the strip of paper wrapped around the toilet seat that tells you that it is, in fact, clean. But is this practice necessary? When a guest checks out of a room, an employee promptly cleans the room from top to bottom – changing the sheets, vacuuming, disinfecting the toilet, and so on. Unless the hotel as a whole appears to be unsanitary, there should be no reason to doubt that the toilet is clean, toilet seat band or not.
3. The Guestroom Phone. The guestroom phone doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for now, but their role has altered to the consistently-changing needs of hotel guests. Today, guests bring their personal mobile devices wherever they go, so in order to work with that, hotel owners are providing guestroom phones that incorporate features like charging cables for cellphones, clock radios, and even audio players. Some hotels are going as far as having calls coming into the hotel forwarded to the guest’s cellphone number. Long gone is the sound of the rotary dial and the live operator who actually took your wake up call!
4. Keys and Key Boxes. It may sound like a hassle to have to hand in your room key to the front desk any time you leave the hotel, but years ago that was the normal thing to do. Behind the front desk you would find a wall full of key boxes, one for every room, and it would get tedious having to locate the right box any time a new guest would check in. Today, you just program a card to open the door to your room and you were ready in no time. Jiggling the knob while unlocking the room door is a thing of the past – just slide your card and the door to your lovely room is open.
5. The Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed. You either loved the massaging sensation of this vibrating bed, or you thought it was really weird. Magic Fingers was a device that was mounted onto the bed and would shake the mattress under you. Simply drop a quarter into the coin slot at the head of the bed, and allow the deep buzz of the device bring you to complete relaxation (that’s how it was supposed to work, anyway). This seemed like a nice feature for hotels to offer, but the operation eventually failed in the 1970s. Dealers in the late 1970s spent too much time and money repairing Magic Fingers units because people would pry open the coin box and steal the quarters.
Whether you’ve been in business for decades or are opening your doors for the first time, Best Western MarketPlace is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends to provide you with the most cutting edge solutions and keep you current in the hospitality industry.