Something old. Something new? We’ve heard the saying countless times, and this week I experienced another trend-worthy roundtable devoted to enhancing tired guestrooms without having to invest in a major overhaul. In other words, which products in a guestroom might be deemed guilty “culprits” for aging the space, and what products might a hotel adopt to borrow time?
What’s next? What’s trending? And what should be replaced to improve favorable guest impressions in multiple regions and demographics and within an array of guestroom interiors and conditions where no properties were similar, let alone alike? These were the questions and challenges spearheading the meeting comprised of 22 seats occupied by “the creatives” invited to be at the table. A vocal and energetic think tank, to say the least, inspired endless ideas for immediate transformation.
I am so comfortable with the “buying time before a major renovation” trend I recently coined a term most brand presidents have liked — “Rotox,” a.k.a., a shot of Botox for your guestrooms, which leaves your guests with that “What have they done? The rooms look amazing!” feeling. And the good news is there are unbelievably affordable and effective products, and most “Rotox projects” only need two to three updates to enhance the ambience of a room.
What follows are a few of the in-room culprits I was given permission to share with Trend Whisperer readers. This general list is a portion of what was selected under general consensus to be replaced, and updated, due to their natural and obvious ability to “instantly” age a room regardless of its location or style.
Door hangers with basic copy such as “occupied” or “make up room” (Using door hangers with creative copy doesn’t add costs, and guests truly enjoy them!)
Clear pens with annoying caps (solid metal or plastic pens minus a cap that may have been toyed with by previous guests)
Multiple tent cards (Clutter-free environments generate a cleaner impression.)
Exposed rolls of toilet paper (Either hide the rolls altogether or use decorative wrappers. Ditto for exposed Kleenex boxes!)
Yellowed telephone and switch plates (Instant ager)
Powdered creamer vs. liquid for the in-room coffee and unwrapped stir sticks (Half of coffee drinkers today use liquid creamer, and unwrapped stir sticks stimulate sanitation concerns.)
Wall-mounted hair dryers with short cords (annoying to use since many female guests dry their hair upside down)
Baskets to hold amenities or washcloths (They become immersed in water and add an unpleasant odor once dry.)
Round tarnished door knobs (another instant ager)
Patterned dark bedspreads (There is a reason why most guests no longer use them at home, and for unknown reasons, bedspreads stimulate an underlying question about when they were last cleaned.)
Uneven bed skirts (the first sighting, and impression, when a guest enters the room)
Chipped furniture and hangers (inspires a guest to be on the lookout for wear and tear on other items, thus the reason of a suggestion to equip housekeepers with touch-up pens)
Remember: Improving or refreshing a few in-room basics isn’t about showcasing radical change or implementing highly sophisticated innovation. Employing someone to do the project who understands unique yet basic sourcing so your products are hospitality-friendly yet ahead of the curve so you don’t replicate what everyone else is doing is an art.
If I have missed any of your own “culprits” that instantly age a room, or any “enhancement” ideas you’d like to share, please do so!