Saturday, August 20, 2011

What makes a hotel green / hotels of the future?

Coming to that article made me remember my last trip, to Cologne, and the decision to start using AirBNB instead of hotels.

What could hotels do to keep up in the competition?

  • Lend out jogging equipment
I wanted to go running in the morning (the hotel had awesome neighbourhood, including some Roman time water channels), but had left my running shorts back home (won't do that again).
Why cannot hotels lend out jogging shoes, shorts and t-shirts and then launder them after the job. No smelly clothes hanging in the hotel room. They wash bedclothes anyways, this wouldn't be so much different. I'd be happy for 7-8 eur, maybe even 10 added for this service. But I need to be able to count on it, ahead of trip (i.e. having the right shoe size available).

Why not do this? Because no-one seems to want it?

Go further. Lend out bicycles (some hotels undoubtably would already do so). Team up with a close by tennis court (which was there). Meet other hotel guests for a play of tennis. Neat.

Hotel chains must pump up their "activism" and "eco-friendliness" in such way.

In the US, one can add healthy breakfasts to the list. At least way back, it used to be sugar only. Naturally, someone should first instruct the Americans what healthy actually means. :)
  • Better booking, preferably a mobile app
Hotels must make finding the right stay as easy as AirBNB has done it. One of my favourites is the "I need the room THIS NIGHT" button topmost on the AirBNB user interface. Though I'd never actually use that button, simply having it there gives me confidence that I'm in good hands. Ever tried to find a hotel room for the next night? Might be a failing endeavour.
  • Get a face
Instead of call-in numbers and queueing, have a real person contactable over mobile chat, SMS or otherwise. Again, like AirBNB beautifully does.

So - in short I would argue future of hotels is already here. It's got a name and a business model. It's AirBNB.

Note: I wrote this before having taken a single trip with AirBNB, yet. I may change my mind.

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