By Elaine Sahlins, MAI, CRE, Managing Director, Hospitality & Gaming, Valuation & Advisory
Many times, a hotel’s greatest challenge is offering a reliable and consistent experience yet meeting the individual expectations of each guest. Hotel brands need to offer recognizable physical facilities and deliberate service levels, at the same time, more and more guests are anticipating hotels to offer special experiences that reflect the destination and a guest’s particular interests.
Hotels are expanding their amenities both in type of services and in their branding. Guests want to have it their way, but better, and be provided with food and beverage and wellness offerings that are as attractive as the guestrooms. Star-yoga-instructor-led classes, classes with mixologists, personalized excursions and tours are some of the offerings sought after by guests. Some hotels are reinventing their properties into cultural meccas with artists in residence programs and regular events and concerts featuring local performers. Service is back in style, and the role of the concierge is being revived as the availability of unique
experiences becomes an important part of a hotel’s appeal.
The proliferation of brands is both a stimulus and a concern for developers and operators. With the completion of the Starwood merger, Marriott now provides 30 brands and has solidified its dominant positions in many primary and secondary market. This range of available brands for different markets and price points, and the consolidation of the loyalty programs, positions the lodging giant as an even more attractive option for many developers. Other hotel companies are promoting their differentiating assets to attract both developers and guests. Luxury brands are emphasizing the uniqueness of their assets
and locations and their interest in customizing the guest experience. More value-oriented brands are looking for edges to gain loyalty based on pricing, attracting guests to book directly for discounts and rewards from their first reservation. Brand identity, guest loyalty and loyalty programs are evolving topics as millennial travel and technology continue to influence hotel design and operations.
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Elaine Sahlins, MAI, CRE is a Managing Director in the Hospitality & Gaming practice of Cushman & Wakefield where she provides appraisal and consulting services for hotels and casinos. With over 25 years of experience, Ms. Sahlins has performed valuations and market and feasibility studies of hotel and gaming properties throughout the United States relating to financing, feasibility and other real estate issues.