3 Ways Hotel Room Amenities are Evolving to Suit the Modern Guest

June 1, 2017 Smart Meetings

Marriott’s Build Your Own Mini Bar

The standard hotel room is changing with the times to better accommodate the needs of the modern guest. Some conveniences travelers have grown accustomed to and take for granted have or will be going the way of the dinosaurs.

Room Service

Room service has been on the endangered species list ever since New York Hilton Midtown did away with it beginning in August 2013, according to The New York Times. Many hotels instead offer a wide variety of grab ‘n’ go options at a convenience store and vending machines. But if you have already changed out of your business attire and don’t want to risk having colleagues see you in pajamas or a robe in the hallway, what are you to do?

Food delivery apps such as Grubhub, Postmates, UberEats, Amazon Prime Now and more can bring you food on demand to your room door, according to Frommer’s. As an added bonus, this will likely come out to a much lower tab than inflated room service of yesteryear and you get the opportunity to taste local cuisine. “[An] increasing number of business hotels will allow food delivery, and I find the best way to sway an undecided front desk is to say I’ll eat my ordered-in meal in the bar with a glass of their wine—no one’s ever refused this request,” said Alexander Lobrano, a Paris-based food writer, restaurant critic and Hungry for Paris newsletter author, in USA Today in January.

Mini Bar

Ever open up the fridge in your hotel room and dislike the options? Problem solved! Marriott announced the Build Your Own Mini Bar in the West Package in May, available at 28 of their properties in California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Guests who book this deal get $20 daily to use towards food and beverage items sold in the hotel’s general store, The Market. Place your order and come back to a room with a mini bar stocked with your personalized selections.

Smaller Room Size

Just as legroom on planes is shrinking, so is the size of hotel rooms. To facilitate the slimmer dimensions, some hotels are doing away with furniture they deemed unnecessary, such as closets, dressers and desks. The removal of these things can cause an inconvenience for business travelers who rely on closet space to hang suits, dresses and blazers.

Marriott International’s Moxy Hotel chain features peg walls in the guest rooms to hang furniture and belongings, so you can customize the flexible room design. Other hotels offer clothing racks or nothing at all. It might be time to invest in the ShelfPack, an innovative piece of luggage with a built-in shelving unit so that you can keep your clothing neatly folded and easily accessible while living out of a suitcase.

People on work trips may have to continue working on their laptops or do paperwork upon returning to their rooms. Desks come in handy, too. The Marriott chain faced backlash after removing desks, so it now has a fresh perspective on the issue. “What we heard from guests is that the solution we provided didn’t meet their needs,” said Matthew Carroll, vice president for global brand management at Marriott Hotels and Resorts in The New York Times in response to the brand’s experiment of swapping traditional desks for tabletop work surfaces. “We responded very quickly. Where we’ve landed is at a place that gives guests multiple points to work within a room.”

In Room Gym

While many things are being eliminated from hotel rooms nowadays, there is one addition. With furniture out of the way, it leaves plenty of floor space to squeeze in an en suite workout. A handful of hotels are now offering exercise equipment, such as stationary bikes, TRX bands, yoga mats and more, along with instructional videos, in the convenience of your room. No more excuses for missing your fitness class while you’re out of town!

At the end of May, Hilton launched its Five Feet to Fitness concept in two hotels and will be rolling it out at several other properties nationwide. “The variety of activity the room enables is motivating,” said Ryan Crabbe, senior director of global wellness for Hilton. “One morning, a guest can decide to roll out of bed for quick guided stretch and yoga poses. Then later that evening, he or she may return from a stressful day and take a brisk bike ride while catching up on a favorite show or the day’s business news. The room is made to suit the varied and evolving wellness habits of our guests.

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