In my many years in the hospitality industry I had the privilege to work in many hotels!
I was exposed to Leading Hotels of the World, SLH, Boutique properties, Designer hotels, and many other 4 to 5 star properties.
In my career as manager and hotel consultant, I have been involved in close to 30 hotel and resort openings, so, I know that I am in a good position to write down some facts which might help hotel owners, developers and investors here in Thailand and south-east Asia.
The two most important comments – to keep in mind – I want to say right in the beginning!
”Some of the best architects and designers do NOT know ANYTHING about hotels, resorts, about service, operation, comfort, hospitality, work flow etc.”
“Most architects and designers do NOT CARE AT ALL if your hotel will actually be ‘workable’ and ‘profitable’ – they will blame ‘Lack of service’!
Let me give you some facts!
- Fact is that most architects want to design a ‘great looking’ hotel as they want another ‘great looking’ property in their portfolio for their own reputation! – That’s it!
- I have seen deluxe hotel villas build with solid rocks! The look really stunning! But, between the rocks there are now Geckos (small lizards), spiders, eggs of geckos, dust etc. where housekeeping department is facing and up-hill battle to control. The same 5-star had no proper staff canteen, only ONE office, no staff quarters; even the resort was in the middle of nowhere!
- I have seen one hotel where the designers forgot to the kitchen for the restaurant! – What’s the point of having a restaurant I did ask?
- I have seen hotels without staff eating area! – Employees did eat when sitting on the floor in stores!
- I have seen a resort where the kitchen was 60 meters from the restaurant! – I recommend not ordering any hot food or ice cream!
- I have seen a resort where no storage facilities at all have though off. (Not for food, not for beverages, not for housekeeping, not for engineering etc.) – Maybe this place doesn’t like to sell anything!
- I have seen a 200 room hotel (20 floors) with one single elevator and without any maid stations! – Guess the major complaint from guest …. and employees!
- I have seen a hotel where offices have been spread out all over the hotel building, from roof to basement! – What an operational nightmare!
- I have seen two hotels where the suppliers had to bring in food, beverages and all other supply through the lobby.
- I have seen a hotel where all 150 employees had to come and go through the lobby.
- I have seen a resort where the guest had to walk 5 meters distance between bed and first available light switch.
- I have seen a guest room where the guest had to no electric plug at all. – But they had a complimentary hair-dryer!
- I have seen hotel where the guest could not see the TV properly when on the bed!
- I have seen a hotel where it was impossible to read a book because there was no lighting at the area where the bed was places!
- I have seen a hotel without floor drain in the bathroom. Luckily this hotel was under construction and we could add on the drain! But it was done with high additional cost!
- I have seen a hotel where the air-con flow is not adjustable and right above the bed. It did blow straight down from the ceiling and made me sick. – Will never stay there again!
- I have seen a 79 villa resort upcountry where supply could be received only twice a week! But the kitchen had only space for 3 refrigerators without any walk in refrigerators and fridges.
I am sure if I keep on thinking for anther half hour I could come up with 20 more examples of bad designs etc.
People argue: “But this is a boutique hotel, this is a design hotel, this is “bla-bla” concept hotel etc.
My answer – and the fact – is: If there is not comfort for guests and employees the hotel will never work!
The only solution for the hotel owners later on, after high management and staff turnover, and lots of bad guest comments, those poor owners had finally been convinced that the architect was not that good after all!
The owners had to spend again good money to fix the worst issues! However, the hotel or resort will never be as smooth, profitable and comfortable as the resorts of some competitors who did the right thing early on!
Of course, now many people might say that hotel management or an experienced hotelier must be involved from the early stages which are correct and that all this is the hotel developer or owners fault!
In reality it’s not always like this!
In reality, only few owners, developers and investors understand the importance of having expert hotelier involvement in the early stages. Those innocent owners trust their ‘superstar architect and designers” simple because those designers or architects have been involved in the design of some leading hotels and resorts which work just perfectly.
However, the designers will never tell the current project developer or owner that he or she did have many comments on designs that he or she had to accept lots of changes in design because of expert hotelier, hotel group or hotel consultant inputs!
Those leading hotels and resort are special because they have been designed and build in good teamwork, with good communication, and understanding between the architect/designer, the expert hotelier, owners and contractors!
©Klaus R. Rauter