GUEST SERVICES HANDBOOK

What's the next big thing in guest services? Is it bigger TVs with more available content? Free and faster Internet access? Or perhaps it's found in the bathroom in the form of plusher towels or better soaps and lotions?

Every hotel brand and individual property constantly seeks that set of amenities, facilities and services that not only meet guest expectations, but perhaps exceed them. The one-time rule of thumb in the hotel business mandated that owners equip their guestrooms with the ff&e and amenities that match, or slightly exceed, what guests have in their homes. As innovations in home electronics and personal technology appear at an ever-faster rate, it's difficult for hoteliers to keep abreast, let alone ahead, of in-home trends.

By reviewing the product offerings listed in the Guest Services Handbook and product announcements from hotel companies in all segments, it's clear that a number of guest products and amenities are now, or soon will be, standard in properties at all price points:

  • Flat-screen TVs, with screen sizes of 40 inches or larger in guestrooms and even bigger in suites;

  • Enhanced Internet access, often with a choice of wired or wireless, with enough capacity to allow computer use beyond e-mail, simple web surfing and office tasks;

  • Improved entertainment content to match what consumers have available in their homes;

  • Sound — everything from clock radios (with simple controls) and built-in MP3 players to high-quality CD players;

  • In-room safes with electronic combinations;

  • Plush bed linens with a wide choice of pillows;

  • Refreshment centers and upgraded coffee service;

  • Bathroom luxury in the form of large shower stalls, multiple showerheads, curved rods and premium personal care products;

  • Self-service options, particularly self check-in and -out;

  • Business services, from fully staffed business centers to self-serve modules, all with the ability, among other things, to print airline boarding passes;

  • Community spaces, lobbies or f&b areas where guests can gather, socialize and order coffee, drinks and light snacks.

SPENDING PATTERNS

Last year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the hotel industry spent $5.5 billion on capital upgrades, much of it for amenities, services and systems that directly or indirectly affect guest service. CapEx 2007, a study of capital expenditures in the lodging industry, provides a glimpse at how that money is spent. The report was published by the International Society of Hospitality Consultants with assists from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation and the Hospitality Asset Managers Association. It previously was done in 1995 and 2000.

On average, a typical hotel owned by a public company spends 5.5 percent of annual revenues on capital expenditures. For privately owned properties, the outlay is 4.7 percent of revenues. To put it into context, a 100-unit rooms-only hotel with 70-percent occupancy and a $100 room rate generates about $2.5 million in annual room revenues. A five-percent CapEx budget amounts to around $125,000, or $1,250 per room. That slim amount requires some sharp planning to keep guestrooms up to date, given the costs of many of the guest-pleasing amenities required in today's competitive marketplace. The study estimates that in a select-service hotel, the cost of replacing bedding, guestroom technology and TVs (with a flat-panel set) can cost about $1,700. CapEx monies must also be spent to upgrade public spaces and back-of-the-house areas, as needed.

However, hotels don't typically spend CapEx money in each year that it is budgeted. Spending on replacement and upgrading obviously is insignificant in the early years of a hotel's life. However, spikes in expenditures occur when hotels typically undergo soft or hard renovations. According to the study, for example, CapEx spending spikes at full-service and luxury hotels during the sixth or seventh year of operation (spending goes to around nine percent of revenues, reflecting a hard-goods renovation) and during years 14 and 15, when spending reaches six or seven percent.

Around years 23 or 24, on average, spending soars to nearly 25 percent. Often, this represents spending requirements associated with a sale of the property and, more likely, a product improvement plan mandated by a flag change. As study co-author Alan Benjamin of Benjamin West says, “I believe the next study (slated for 2012) will report even greater spikes as more hotels change flags, names and PIPs every few years.” And, as hotels change flags, it's nearly certain that they'll be required to add enhanced ff&e items like luxury bedding, flat panels and upgraded bathroom products and amenities.

For select-service properties, CapEx spikes are seen more frequently than in full-service hotels. For select-service, expenditures typically rise around years 7, 10, 13, 17 and 20. The first two are typically hard or soft renovations, while the latter represent flag changes and the PIPs they mandate.

How CapEx dollars are spent also differs by property segment. For all types of hotels studied, except select service, rooms and corridors consume the largest portion of CapEx expenditures. Full-service and luxury hotels spend 37 percent of these monies in this area. At extended-stay hotels, it is 50 percent, while within select-service, it is just 21 percent.

Not surprisingly, full-service hotels allocate nearly 20 percent of the budget for public spaces, including meeting rooms and f&b outlets. Much as guest needs in guestrooms change quickly, so do tastes and expectations in restaurants, lounges and lobbies. The trend toward lobby spaces that are more community-oriented and designed for multi-uses (working, socializing, eating, drinking) has been a catalyst for a lot of capital expenditure allocations in recent years.

THE HANDBOOK

This year's edition of Lodging Hospitality's Guest Services Handbook makes it easy for lodging owners and operators to find the vendors who offer an array of guest-pleasing products and services. The handbook is arranged by broad product categories — guest services, bathroom amenities, in-room amenities and in-room entertainment — and specific product types.

Advertisers in the issue are listed in blue, and all companies have reader service numbers. Use the reader response card to receive information from any of the companies in the handbook.

GUEST SERVICES PRODUCTS
ATM machines Check-in, check-out kiosks Online check-in, check-out Onsite business centers Public space high-speed Internet access (wired) Public space high-speed Internet access (wireless) Other
Applied Media Technologies — Circle 165
ATM Systems — Circle 166
ATM USA — Circle 167
Brother International — Circle 168
Business Express by USA Technologies — Circle 169
Cisco — Circle 170
Ethostream — Circle 69
Fire2Wire — Circle 171
Galaxy Hotel Systems — Circle 172
Global Business Center, GBCblue — Circle 63
Guest Direct — Circle 64
Guest-Tek Interactive Entertainment — Circle 65
Hospitality Safe Corp. — Circle 66
Hotel Information Systems — Circle 67
iBAHN — Circle 68
Life Fitness — Circle 70
LodgeNet Entertainment Corp. — Circle 71
Minibar Systems — Circle 72
nSTREAMS Technologies — Circle 73
NXTV — Circle 74
Penfield's — Circle 78
Road Runner Business Class — Circle 76
Roomlinx — Circle 75
Saflok — Circle 77
Teledex — Circle 79
Telkonet — Circle 80
USA Technologies — Circle 81
Vertical System, Inc. — Circle 82
Wayport, Inc. — Circle 83

IN-ROOM ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTS
Basic TV programming Folio review High-speed Internet access (wired) High-speed Internet access (wireless) On-demand movies and programming On-screen checkout Premium TV programming Televisions Video games Other
Bartech Systems — Circle 124
DirecTV — Circle 148
ESPN, Inc. — Circle 149
Ethostream — Circle 69
Extenway — Circle 128
Fire2Wire — Circle 171
Fox Cable Networks — Circle 150
Guest Supply — Circle 98
Guest-Tek Interactive Entertainment — Circle 65
Home Box Office — Circle 151
Hotel LCD TV / RoomConX — Circle 162
Hospitality Safe Corp. — Circle 66
iBAHN — Circle 68
InfoValue Computing — Circle 152
LG Electronics — Circle 153
LodgeNet Entertainment Corp. — Circle 71
Mill Distributors, Inc. — Circle 109
NBG — Circle 136
nSTREAMS Technologies — Circle 73
NXTV, Inc. — Circle 74
Panasonic's Broadcast & Television Systems — Circle 154
Petters Hospitality & Entertainment Group — Circle 155
Philips Business Display Solutions — Circle 156
RCA — Circle 157
Roomlinx — Circle 75
Samsung — Circle 158
Sharp — Circle 159
Sony — Circle 160
Star Linen & Hospitality Supply — Circle 117
Showtime Networks — Circle 161
Teledex — Circle 79
Telkonet — Circle 80
Wayport — Circle 83

BATHROOM AMENITIES PRODUCTS
Bathrobes Curved shower rods Hairdryer (mounted) Hairdryer (standalone) Nightlights Personal bathroom mirrors Personal care products Premium bath linens Premium showerheads Scales Slippers TVs Other
A-1 Textiles — Circle 84
Amerisafe Industries — Circle 85
Andis Co. — Circle 86
Baci by Remcraft — Circle 87
Classic Coffee Concepts — Circle 88
Colgate-Palmolive Co. — Circle 89
Courtesy Products — Circle 90
Cypress Hotel & Spa — Circle 91
The Dial Corp. — Circle 92
Erwyn Products — Circle 93
Essential Amenities — Circle 94
ETL — Circle 95
The French Reflection, Inc. — Circle 96
Green Suites International — Circle 97
Guest Supply, Inc. — Circle 98
Hamilton Beach — Circle 99
Harbor Linen — Circle 100
Hospitality Safe Corp. — Circle 66
Hotel Amenities Resource — Circle 101
Hotel Technologies — Circle 102
Jarden Consumer Solutions — Circle 103
Jerdon Products — Circle 104
Kimball & Young, Inc. — Circle 105
Lather, Inc. — Circle 106
Lissadel by Aquarelle Towels — Circle 107
Lodging Technology Corp. — Circle 108
Mill Distributors, Inc. — Circle 109
Pineapple Hospitality — Circle 110
The RobeWorks — Circle 111
Room ConX — Circle 112
Room Service Amenities — Circle 113
The Sharper Image — Circle 114
Springs Industries — Circle 115
STA Elements — Circle 116
Star Linen & Hospitality Supply — Circle 117
Sunbeam Hospitality — Circle 118
Symmons Industries — Circle 119
Wessco International — Circle 120
Westpoint Home — Circle 121

IN-ROOM AMENITY PRODUCTS
CD players Clock radios Coffeemaker/coffee systems Cordless/corded telephones Daily newspaper Electronic locks Fax machines High-end sound systems Ice buckets/glasses/trays In-room computer systems In-room fitness equipment Irons/ironing boards/systems Pens/pencils/writing supplies Premium bed linens Refreshment centers (minibar) Refrigerators Safes Turndown amenities Other
Andis Co. — Circle 86
Bar-Maid Corp. — Circle 123
Bartech Systems — Circle 124
BIC Graphic USA — Circle 125
Bittel USA, Inc. — Circle 122
Boyd Coffee Co. — Circle 126
Brother International — Circle 168
Classic Coffee Concepts — Circle 88
Courtesy Products — Circle 90
Cypress Hotel & Spa — Circle 91
Dometic Corp. — Circle 127
Energy Eye, Inc. — Circle 163
Erwyn Products — Circle 93
Extenway — Circle 128
FSR, Inc. — Circle 129
Global Business Center, GBCblue — Circle 63
Godiva Chocolatier — Circle 130
Green Suites International — Circle 131
Guest Supply, Inc. — Circle 98
Hamilton Beach — Circle 99
Harbor Linen — Circle 100
Hospitality Safe Corp. — Circle 66
Hotel Technologies — Circle 102
Inn-Phone — Circle 132
Jarden Consumer Solutions — Circle 103
Jerdon Products — Circle 104
John Corby Limited — Circle 139
Lancaster Colony Commercial — Circle 133
LOC International — Circle 134
MicroFridge — Circle 135
Mill Distributors, Inc. — Circle 109
MiniBar Systems — Circle 72
NBG — Circle 136
Onity — Circle 137
Pineapple Hospitality — Circle 110
Phone Suite — Circle 164
RoomConX — Circle 112
Roomlinx — Circle 75
Safemark Systems — Circle 138
Saflok — Circle 77
Scheibe — Circle 140
S&D Coffee, Inc. — Circle 141
The Sharper Image — Circle 114
Starbucks Coffee Co. — Circle 142
Star Linen & Hospitality Supply — Circle 117
Sunbeam Hospitality — Circle 118
Teledex — Circle 79
TeleMatrix — Circle 143
True Fitness — Circle 144
USA Today — Circle 145
VingCard Elsafe — Circle 146
Vertical Systems, Inc. — Circle 147
Westpoint Home — Circle 121

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