When the first economy hotels opened years ago, they catered to people whose top priority was price.
Their clientele were families on a budget, or business travelers moving from town to town and needing little more than a clean bed and bath.
But as time went on, these hotels began to upgrade. They provided free breakfast, bought better bath towels and duvets and – when the time came – began offering free WiFi. That’s why today’s traveler is expecting more, and often getting more for their money.
And it’s not just hotels. I’ve been advising our bed and breakfast customers for years that they must step up their game to compete.
B&B and country inn properties have always offered amenities, clean and well-put-together rooms, terrific breakfasts, and concierge services. (Innkeepers are very knowledgeable about their towns).
But as time has passed, hotels have also begun to offer breakfast and some amenities. (Although we’ve noticed this doesn’t always extend to bath amenities other then soap & shampoo, unless you ask for them specifically).
So if hotels are offering some of the amenities as bed and breakfasts, what’s the difference between a hotel and a B&B?
In order to compete with hotels, bed and breakfasts, country inns and vacation rental properties are furnishing their rooms with larger and fluffier bath towels, 100 percent cotton sheets, duvets, duvet fillers, luggage racks, and bed scarves (to protect the bottom of the bed from luggage).
Many properties are adding green products and organic sheets and towels and launching water-saving measures to demonstrate they care about the environment.
Guests want more light for reading and more outlets for powering up their computers, tablets and smartphones. Many properties are upgrading their TVs and outfitting their rooms with flat screens. We’ve even found bed and breakfasts buying coffee-makers meant for one or two people for their rooms.
And guests have different sleeping preferences and habits, which is why hotels, vacation rentals and B&Bs are offering pillow menus, better and longer-lasting mattresses, some with pillow-top or down or fiber-filled toppers.
Let’s face it: Travelers can search the internet for properties that suit their style, budget and amenity preferences. They can visit sites like TripAdvisor – and many of them do – to see what other guests said about your property.
That means at the end of the day, we all must be vigilant about our businesses. We all must step up our game. There is a lot of competition in the marketplace, both for us here at InnStyle and for your properties!
We’re here to help. We succeed when you succeed in showing customers the difference between a hotel and B&B. Please feel free to contact us for product advice, cleaning tips or anything else you might need to make your property a comfortable place to stay.