Hotels across the world offer guests impeccable amenities: to make them want to take a part of their stay with them.
By Soumya Menon
There is nothing more fantastic than having guests staying over longer at a hotel due to the property’s in-room luxuries. A perfect blend of choice of amenities, personalisation and the uniqueness of products determines the quality of a hotel.
Guests today are looking for personalised amenities and the expectations from any kind of hotel – luxury, boutique, lifestyle, economy or business – is very high. Hotels have increasingly not only collaborated with beauty brands and perfumers to give guests that perfect trip, but also have included customised amenities as part of their brand image and strategy.
“The first thing guests do when they arrive at a hotel room is go into the bathroom and see what products are on offer, assessing whether to stash them in the suitcase and smear that housekeeping replenishes generously or pull out what they have bought with them. Whether it’s luxury, economy, or something in between, largely determines what customers want most in a hotel stay. Though customers in all segments value price, reputation, room quality, and location when choosing a hotel, these basics merely cover the cost of entry in today’s competitive hospitality industry, and they offer no guarantees for winning repeat business. To achieve sustainable, long-term growth, hoteliers develop a deep understanding of the type of customers they want to attract, and hence offer an experience that is tailored to that specific group,” said Shikha Khanna, director of services, Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai.
W Hotels & Resorts is one of the top listed groups in the world for their range of luxury amenities. It does not limit itself to bath and beauty products. It goes beyond the gamut of amenities by understanding what a guest is really looking for when they check into a hotel and provides a home-away-from-home experience. W Hotels & Resorts around the world use Bliss amenities and the signature Lemon + Sage sinkside six range is well-known and popular among guests. It also has exclusive candles with the fragrance of sun-ripened Italian figs entwined with signature notes of jasmine and sensual sandalwood.
“Our bathrooms have been designed with a mixture of ultimate luxury and utmost comfort. Every bathroom has a TV for the tub to ensure a relaxing, pampering session. Our guests expect to be swept away by the destination and what it has to offer,” said Gautam Handa, room director, W Hotels, Goa.
While hoteliers go above and beyond to provide the best amenities in a room from entertainment appliances, WiFi connection, bottled water, purifiers, even scented pillows and stuffed toys, Kindles, sleep masks and earplugs, the most essential amenity for any guest are the bath and beauty products.
Bath and beauty products are amongst the most popular amenities at hotels and the hospitality industry has gone all out to make sure that it is tailored to the needs, comfort and luxury of a guest.
The idea is to associate a beauty brand and a hotel to the products that are available. The complimentary products range from basic amenities such as toiletries, soaps, shower gel, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, hand wash, face wash, bath bombs and bath salts, lip balms, and bath aroma oils, to specific products such as hair tonic, hair liquid, face cleanser, face lotion, foot lotions, hand lotions, night treatment creams/moisturisers/gels, and accessories such as sewing set, dental kits, vanity kits, shaving kits, slippers, toothbrush, hair brush, hair bands, perfumes, and cologne.
At Park Hyatt Hyderabad, customised products are used in the hotel but their name is not advertised on the product. The most liked products are shower gel, soaps and body lotion. “We use one of the best brands when it comes to guest amenities. These are specially designed for our hotel but without our hotel branding on it. The amenities carry their own branding and are exclusive to our brand. Forest Essentials and Kama Ayurveda are two brands that we work with for enhancing the guest experiences,” said Payal Joshi, housekeeping manager, Park Hyatt Hyderabad.
The high demand for certain kind of amenities encourages hotels to replenish them quickly. The more niche or customised it gets, the stronger the company’s strategy should be for supply and replenishment. Many international hotels customise their products basis a regular guest’s room choice, gender and interests, others keep it standard across all categories with small differences in the luxury suites.
Jackson Industries India has been customising amenities for hotels including Hyatt Hotels, Le Meridien, Sarovar Hotels, AccorHotels, Lords, Keys Hotels and The Lemon Tree Company. Talking about this, Namrata Nayyar, director of the company said, “We make amenities according to the guidelines and requirement of that particular hotel chain or brand in their hotel’s name. The best part of this customisation is that we also develop specific aromas for the hotel, which is not used for any other brand later.”
This is an approach that other companies also take. Forest Essentials, for example, has customised products for The Oberoi Hotels & Resorts across all its properties. The exclusive line of amenities that contain lime, tulsi and narangi include 50 ml bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion, and a cleansing butter bar.
Hotels tie up with various brands depending on the type of property and its location, and change the amenities especially toiletries to suit customer needs.
Hoteliers are making conscious choices to pick brands or suppliers that focus on eco-friendly products and packaging. The emphasis is clearly to associate with sustainable practices. Hotels now prefer handmade luxurious amenities, which contain natural aromatic oil, essential aromas and nourishing salts which also provide a touch of sophistication to the bathrooms.
Nayyar too agreed that her company is seeing a growing trend amongst Indian hotels for using eco-friendly and organic amenities. “In the present global scenario, it is natural that the hotel industry cannot ignore the demand for eco-friendly and organic products and want that these be used at their hotel too. Though there is a demand for such products, not all hotels are taking this trend seriously.”
But the amenities suppliers are pursuing with their bit to pursue eco-friendly practices. Kama Ayurveda, for example, has a specialised line of organic products and has tie-ups with a lot of hotels in India. “Hoteliers are gravitating toward lines that resonate with consumers by featuring eco-friendly packaging, and they will continue to embrace opportunities to use sustainable products and reclaim unused products and put it to good use. As packaging is growing in importance, so are the contents within, consumers have become much savvier when it comes to the ingredients in their favourite products. They want to use natural ingredients, not chemical formulations, on their skin and in their hair, and they want those ingredients to be sourced responsibly. Hotels too are becoming accommodating and are offering their male and female customers fragrance-free formulas and products for sensitive skin.
Additionally, a lot of hotels or resorts are providing an authentic yet contemporary India experience to their consumers, they want to feature Made in India brands and amenities which is where we come in,” said a spokesperson from Kama Ayurveda. The award-winning brand for Ayurvedic products has a range of lavender patchouli, mandarin vetiver, and cypress orange products for hotels, with customisable options.
At Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa, the corporate team selects the suppliers who are certified to make customised products for the property. “All our amenities are eco-friendly product, in line with our company’s philosophy for sustainability. We have signature line of amenities by Inara, which is used in Le Meridien properties throughout the country,” said Subhash Chand, executive housekeeper Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa.
Kimirica, which has a tie-up with Grand Hyatt in India for its bath and beauty essentials, has biodegradable packaging for dry room products such as dental kits, shaving kits, loofah, and vanity kits, in line with its sustainable business principles. Kimirica’s THE FRENCH NOTE White Tea collection with eco-friendly tubes contain fresh and sensuous notes of authentic French Lavender and is exclusively designed in France. The eco-friendly amenities for guests from Kimirica contain face and body wash (olive and sugar), body lotion (wheatgerm and olive), shampoo (aloe olive), conditioner (quince seed and aloe), sunscreen, after sun gel, insect repellent in 50 ml recyclable packaging made with PET bottles, the most recyclable available resin, face and Body Bar (shea butter made with fully biodegradable and natural ingredients) and accessories such as shower cap, vanity kit, shaving kit, loofah, comb and dental kit.
No matter the pricing, hotels try and find suppliers who consistently produce eco-friendly products. “The modern traveller expects hotels to have some sort of sustainable element built into their amenity programme. It’s important for hotels to embrace opportunities where green products can be used, such as requesting toiletries in biodegradable packaging and recyclable cartons. A growing trend these days is that guests are concerned that all the bath and beauty products that they use, should be cruelty-free,” said Shikha Khanna.
It is a prerequisite and imperative for hotels to make the right selection basis a list of factors that determine if the brand will go a long way. These are a few that any hotel could consider: keeping in line with the company ethos/values, size and packaging of the products, and the long-term impact on brand image.
A classic example of this is Le Meridien’s tie up with MALIN + GOETZ for most of its locations across the world. “Le Méridien’s promise to unlock destinations for their guests perfectly complements our brand’s ability to stimulate their senses,” said Andrew Goetz, MALIN + GOETZ, co-founder in a press release.
MALIN + GOETZ unisex bath essentials were chosen specifically for Le Méridien, with evocative ingredients and effective formulations that complement any skin and hair care regimen while travelling. The amenity kits include MALIN + GOETZ signature sage body wash, peppermint shampoo, cilantro hair conditioner, lime bar soap, and vitamin B5 body moisturizer in travel-friendly sizes.
Thann International and Marriott International has the exact same understanding of not only synchronised ideologies but also about providing enough and more to guests, especially people who are regular and stay longer. Renaissance Hotels, part of Marriott International, believes that their value of local and indigenous experiences with a high standard is very similar to Thann’s ideology of being eco-friendly and giving people everything from the nature. They use Thann’s signature Aromatic Wood collection of toiletries and have generous portions of it depending on the popularity of the products so that replenishing is not an issue. “Guests like our products from Thann – shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, hand wash and soap. All guest rooms and bathrooms have the same set of products but if there is any specific requirement, we tend to it basis local interests,” said Akhilesh Singh, executive housekeeper, Renaissance Lucknow.
Understanding customer sentiment and changing course based on it is also an important step for hotels. While some might prefer to go with known brands that customers identify with, some chose to introduce newer brands who have niche offerings and be known to be experimental.
A few years ago, Hyatt changed its entire range of bath and beauty products across all its chains and properties of the brand after conducting a customer survey. While a lot of the company’s brands more or less use the same range of products, in various countries they have their own suppliers. In some geographies, Hyatt guest rooms are stocked with complimentary products from KenetMD Skincare, Le Labo, June Jacobs Spa Collection, and Aromapothecary.
For Four Seasons Hotel, the key to selecting toiletries is to know their hotel demographics: young, old, family, more male or female, nationality of your guests, corporate or resort, etc. In addition, the hotel’s destination and season should be reflected in the fragrance selected.
“Sometimes one fragrance does not fit all. One should have an option of fragrance and then considering the factors mentioned above, hotels should decide the right scent but creating a signature experience. In addition, some hotels will be better with bottles or perhaps tubes depending on bathroom design, demographics, and usage. The focus today remains in developing attractive packaging with quality products therefore, quality cannot be compromised at any cost,” said Shikha Khanna.
“It is important that the amenities you choose for your hotel are in sync with its ambience and feel. A hotel like Park Hyatt Hyderabad believes in personalised luxury, whether it’s in service or products that it has to offer to its guests. The fragrance, the quality, the natural feel, the eco-friendly aspect and the design are key to the selection of the amenities you would opt for your hotel. The amenities you select should give a sense of understated luxury,” said Payal Joshi.
The Bliss range of bath amenities is a global standard that is followed across all W Hotels around the world, developed by their teams after careful consideration of the tastes and preferences of our loyal customers and keeping in mind the best quality standards.
“Our guests are our priority always and we try our best to engage with them and excite them through unique offerings and experiences at every touch point from before they book till after they depart and amenities are a crucial part of the in-stay experience,” said Gautam Handa.
Nayyar pointed out that with new hotels coming up, amenities have become an important part of a property’s requirement, just like food. They have realised that nowadays travellers are very demanding and maximum care has to be taken for their comfortable stay and providing quality amenities plays a key role in this aspect. They risk dissatisfying their guest with poor quality amenities in the rooms, a chance they would rather not take. After all, a happy guest is a loyal one, who will keep returning repeatedly – something that every hotelier wants. Some amenities are definitely worth that effort!