As the on-the-go business traveller rushes from one meeting to another, spanning countries and checking in at numerous hotels, the industry has come up with a number of initiatives to make the hotel experience as seamless as possible.
First off is to make sure business people have their essential tool for the job – a smartphone. The four Dorsett Hotels in Hong Kong offer a complimentary smartphone for use, pre-loaded with maps and local tourist information which can be taken anywhere by the guest during their stay. International calls to many destinations are free and there is also a free Wi-Fi personal hotspot.
But it’s also all about looking the part – clothes that are clean and pressed etc. That’s where DUFL come in. DUFL is a bag delivery service that also dry cleans, folds, packs and ships luggage to your room. To sign up, users download an app and enter their payment card details. A bag is then sent to their address which they fill with the clothes and items they usually need on business trips. The filled bag is returned to DUFL headquarters where each item is photographed, inventoried, cleaned and stored. The client can then select his items for delivery when a business trip is coming up. At the end of a trip the bag is collected from the hotel’s front desk before being dry cleaned and stored for the next trip.
Some business travellers revisit the same hotel regularly. For those who like to travel light but don’t want to miss out on having their favourite items such as gym clothing, sentimental keepsakes or even indulgent toiletries, Grand Hyatt Melbourne launched a ‘Leave it at Hyatt’ service which allows guests to store their belongings on site until their next stay. All guests have to do is fill out a card with the belongings that are being left behind. The good news for you and reception staff with keen noses is that it’s also possible to get those gym kits laundered before your next visit!
As well as ensuring guests are dressed to impress and equipped with a smartphone, hotels are also paying attention to the busy business traveller’s in-room experience. Dutch hotel brand, Zoku, has fitted out the suites of an Amsterdam hotel with retractable staircases, ceiling mounted gymnast’s hoops and under-bed offices to create a hybrid space for living and work. Instead of a bed, the centre of the home-office hybrid is a four person table that can be used for work, meals or entertaining. A Zoku community is also geared to bringing like-minded individuals together with daily social events like movie nights.
The Residence Inn by Marriott also sees the importance of community for those often-times lonely road warriors and have therefore launched a new evening social programme called the Residence Inn Mix. Currently there are 3 themed social evening events per week. Monday night is called “It’s On” when guests gather for popular TV shows; Tuesday is “Off the Grill” – highlighting local cuisine and Wednesday is also food-themed including “Food Truck” nights and “Just Desserts.”
Breakfast can still be a solitary affair though and here comes a dilemma. How do you go to the breakfast buffet for a second (or even, gasp, third!) time without hotel staff clearing your stuff away thinking that you’ve really had quite enough already? Thankfully The Hotel Icon in Hong Kong saves such blushes. Every table comes with a reversible sign reading ‘Still Eating’ and ‘I’m done’. Another portion of pancakes? I think I just might!
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