Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hotels roll out luxury amenities

Flat-screen televisions, satellite radio, spa treatments, yoga, vials of scented oil on pillows – Rhode Island hotels are spending lots of cash to offer luxury amenities to their guests. It's all about differentiating themselves by offering something that others don't. But the financial rewards of these expensive amenities remain unknown. Hotel managers say they think there is a return on investment of luxury, but don’t have the data to back it up.

"We're not able to measure it," said Stuart Meyerson, general manager at the Hyatt Regency Newport. The hotel does pay attention to guests, he said, but "there are no tools to measure the impact of additional amenities." Robert Kok, associate professor of hospitality management at Johnson & Wales University, said hotels have to add unique amenities, "or you don't compete." Yet there are also dangers in what he calls an "amenity creep," he added: Mid-sized hotels, especially, can lose customers if they increase their room rates to offset the cost of amenities.

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