You can tell the second you walk into a hotel if its going to be a good stay. As corporate travel continues to increase, the concept of hotel amenities are changing to reflect that. At the JW Marriott in Downtown GR, the team has embraced the changes that either are already or will soon be in effect in most destination cities.The lobby renovation is something thousands of hotels have already utilized to assure travelers that they are investing money in the quality of the stay. Many lobbies are increasing seating and meeting space to encourage guests and local businesses to utilize the lobby for easy access to wi-fi and a comfortable public setting. I sat in a comfortable booth to wait for a meeting with Brian Behler, Assistant General Manager at the JW. The lobby boasts floor to ceiling windows that filled the space with natural light, full of guests using the location for meetings, e-mail catch-ups and coffee dates.
All efficiency aside, hotels are definitely paying attention to personal details. With the implementation of staff like the lobby ambassador, the ultimate goal for hotel employees is to be aware of what the guest is there to do. Were a celebrations hotel, Behler explained to me, celebrating whatever is going on in their lives. These ambassadors, as well as front desk attendants, mixologists and valet staff, are all receptive to these celebration cues, aware if a bottle of water or a bottle of champagne is more appropriate when they return to their room after a long day of meetings. Gone are the days of getting just a chocolate on your pillow. Many hotels are choosing granola bars or essential oils in addition to the traditional turn-down service, offering rewards members a choice in their gift. Positions like "Guest Experience Manager" have been
Of course, my favorite part of amenity improvements we discussed were those that blend local goings-on and relaxation. For example, the JW has jumped on the Beer City USA train and is now offering a Brew and Renew line of spa services, including pedicures, body massage and body polishing. Both Founders and Brewery Vivant are participating to contribute to everything from beer foot baths to a complimentary beer while your cuticles are attended to. On site restaurants are using more locally sourced produce and basing the menu on seasonal regional cuisine. Even mixologists are turning to local distilleries and breweries to make the guest experience an immersion into the trends of the city they've traveled to.
At the end of our meeting, I was very impressed with the both the technological and personal direction amenities are taking. With a staff committed to making these changes individual to each guest, I anticipate a cheerful end to 2013, and a very happy new year for both guests and hotel bookings!