We’ve heard this a lot over the past year: customer expectations are shifting. People want more from their brands — more personalization, more digital offerings, more customer support.
Across the hospitality industry, we’re seeing businesses respond to this shift by investing in smart technologies, finding better ways to communicate with hotel guests, and offering new and innovative amenities.
Luxury guests expect the best hotel amenities
Luxury hotels have a role to play here. Their guests also have evolving expectations, and they’re looking for the brands they patronize to meet or exceed them. Turndown service and a full continental breakfast are delightful treats, but they don’t quite cut it anymore.
So, as the hotel industry as a whole continues to do the work of meeting evolving guest expectations, how can luxury hotels keep standing out? Below, we’ve taken a look at seven luxury hotel amenities that might just do the trick.
1. Starting at the beginning
Making a positive first impression is really important for luxury hotels — it sets the tone for what guests can expect for the rest of their stay. Using the information you know about your guests (e.g. where they’re from, the purpose of their trip, who they’re coming with), you can set up personalized welcome baskets or gifts in their rooms that show you’re listening.
Offering personalization is critical for luxury hotels to stand out and stay competitive. In fact, 87% of travelers are more likely to choose travel brands that personalize their experience and 36% will pay more for a tailored stay.
2. There’s value in customized experiences
Everyone loves to receive something they can say is uniquely their own. It’s why customized offerings are considered top hotel amenities, even if it’s just a small component of the guest experience. Little things can make a big difference.
For example, Xcaret Arte hotel has an aromatherapy bar in their spa where guests can create customized aromatherapy blends. Clients who have booked a massage at the spa get to experience an apothecary-like vibe as they choose the scents that most appeal to them.
Plants and animals
You may have heard of high-end hotels offering their guests a pillow menu, but the Halcyon hotel in Denver has taken things one step further with a plant menu. Travelers can choose which plants they’d like to have in their hotel room during their stay. Once delivered, each plant has specific directions on its care and where it should live in the room.
And customization opportunities don’t end with human guests. Hilton received media attention for their dog menu, Bone Appétit — a fantastic way to say "thank you" to the pets who kept their owners company throughout COVID-19 lockdowns.
3. Same drink, different setting
The in-room minibar is practically table stakes in most types of hotels, and that opens the door for luxury hotels to have a bit of fun and provide a memorable guest experience.
The Landmark Mandarin Oriental has a “Cabinet of Delights” in each room that’s filled with boutique wines that people can access whenever they want. The Woodlark in Portland has matcha-making kits so that guests can create their own matcha concoctions.
Other hotels have gone a step further, hiring mixologists to make custom drinks at an in-room cocktail station or in the elevator.
4. A different approach to wellness and fitness
Have you thought about delivering your fitness offerings in a different format?
Not everyone is comfortable working out or stretching in a public setting like a hotel fitness center, and they might prefer the option of exercising in the comfort of their own room.
New York City’s Dream Downtown hotel, partnered with a health and wellness platform founded by Melissa Wood, a certified yoga and Pilates instructor and wellness coach. Together, they bring on-demand workouts and guided meditation to in-room televisions. Other hotels have put Pelotons in their rooms.
These are all ways to show your guests you care about their personal preferences without having to make a big investment.
5. Bringing guests into the fold
Another way to enhance the luxury experience is to encourage guests to peek behind the scenes by offering them insights into something not a lot of people know about.
Do you have a favorite dish in your hotel’s restaurant that you could teach your guests? Could your decorator demonstrate how they create the floral arrangements for your lobby? Perhaps you are located in a historic building and can give guests a guided tour. These are all things that will make your hotel stand out.
At the Oberoi Rajvilas Jaipur, the hotel’s chefs have weekly "spice talk" sessions in which they walk guests through the spices used in Rajasthani dishes. Over the course of one hour, the chefs talk about the secrets of herbs and spices used to cook in traditional cuisine — lessons people can take back home with them.
6. Explore the idea of unique amenities
Depending on your hotel’s location and the reasons people choose to visit you, it might make sense to add some local flavor or deliver thematic experiences that draw more people in. This can add a unique value proposition to your property, while also creating a new experience for guests who already frequent your hotel.
The Hard Rock Hotels, for instance, have a “Sound of Your Stay” program. Guests can borrow a Fender guitar and a Mustang floor amplifier (with headphones) and rock out in their room. They can also get exclusively curated playlists and DJ mixing systems sent to their room.
For car aficionados, the Gateway Canyons Resort in Colorado has a “Driven Experiences” program. Guests can choose from a curated selection of high-performance cars — including the Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, Mercedes-Benz SL550 and Ford Mustang Shelby GT — and drive them through the desert.
7. Keeping guests connected
For many travelers, it’s important to stay connected with home — or the office, in the case of business travelers — when they’re on the road. Having a phone plan that accommodates international travel can be expensive, and some hotels are stepping up to mitigate those costs by offering complimentary mobile phones.
The Dorsett Mongkok hotel in Hong Kong, for example, gives their guests access to free smartphones with unlimited data, a personal WiFi hotspot, and the ability to make free local and international calls to nine countries.