Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wow Hotels & Resorts - Tomorrow Comes Today!

With technology getting obsolete by the seconds, one wonders if there is any relevance to the future. Especially for the trendy hospitality industry, where the race is to compete in fulfilling guest expectations. These expectations are related to the product, its character and personality. Hotel chains spend a tremendous amount of time and money in researching user-friendly technology to remain competitive. Hotels are going hi-tech in every area of guest experience.

A quick review of the use of technology in hotels reveals an interesting conclusion. Hotels, which do not keep pace with technology, may lose their guest base while at the same time, a traveller who does not keep himself updated with technology may feel out of place in hi-tech hotels. Most city hotels are well equipped with latest, state of the art technology. The future hotels might see hotel rooms with much more advanced technology. For example, hotels are now adopting biometrics technology. This technology uses voice, fingerprints or retina scan for personal identification, replacing the room key and combination safe in the rooms. One has to glare at the door to get it opened or, touch the biometric sensor to open the safe.

Practically all good hotels have high definition television sets, but with the advent of 3D revolution, hotels will have to switch to new technology sooner than later. The same technology will also be useful for telephonic and video conferencing.

Touch screen telephones, compressor free mini bars, in-room environment control, electronic do not disturb signs etc, have now become as part of granted features in the rooms. The introduction of Control l4, is going to further revolutionize the hotel systems. Imagine walking to the door of the room, the system detects you, turns on the lights, TV, sets temperature of the room, and awaits your arrival at the door. The TV starts to play a welcome message or introduces the room features as you enter the room. The system also manages the wake call and do not disturb process.

Future hotels are going to use room window glass as a TV screen. A switch will make the glass opaque and a projection system from the ceiling will start your favourite programme on the screen with surround sound digital speakers.

Today, hotels offer high-speed wireless broadband internet connectivity in the rooms with interface to the TV. Some hotels however, offer wireless internet in the entire hotel, in every nook and corner. One can use the laptop anywhere. Hotels also offer colour-printing facilities from the laptop at a central printer in the Business Centre.

Room motion sensors detect motion and body temperature, and set the room parameters to suit your body needs. If no motion is detected beyond a specified period, it turns off the air-conditioning, lights and TV. Timer settings are crucial for success of this system.

For those who need to relax their muscles, hotels offer an electric massage chair in the rooms. No need to go to the spa for time strapped guests needing a quick fix.

For satisfying a demanding hi-tech traveller, the art is to anticipate needs and tailor the product with such elements that satisfies these needs and wants. A few years back an hotelier could not have imagined a guest carrying his virtual office in his laptop, or his music collection in his i-Pod or MP3. Well, today he does. Hotels are therefore providing connectivity of these gadgets to the TV and sound system. Hotels are also providing connectivity cable to connect digital camera to the TV. The guest can view the quality of pictures in the privacy of his room.

The bathrooms in hi-tech hotels are a delight to the eye and experience. Most hotels have frost-free mirrors, Multiple Volt shaver sockets, temperature controlled Jacuzzi. Rain shower and aqua massage systems. Heated seats for water closet and bidet are provided for additional comforts. A small colour TV at the foot of the Jacuzzi and extension of room telephone. What one would see in the future is that the mirror will double as a computer screen and one could watch mails while soaking in the bath tub, sounds interesting!.

The biggest challenge for the hotelier is to keep pace with technology. Implement technology in a cost efficient manner and to know where to draw a line. While being Hi-Tech sounds good, the concept also has a feel good factor, one must understand what and how much should be adopted in a hotel.

This is just a glimpse of different shades of technology being used or about to debut in hotels across the globe.

The ultimate quality of the experiences and degree of satisfaction of hundreds of guests and visitors depends upon judicious and right use of technology. The smallest glitch in the system is enough to ruin the experience. The art is to anticipate the needs of tomorrow and provide them today, leaving one to wonder what happens the day after.

You have permission to publish this article without any change what so ever electronically, in print, in your e-book, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author by-lines are included.

Ram Gupta is a management professional with specialisation in hospitality, real estate and product and digital marketing. He has over four decades of experience in Asia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has been associated with over two dozen hotel projects. His web site can be viewed at and can be contacted at

Boutique Hotels-The Trendy And Fashionable Hotels

Boutique hotels, the term in vogue now, but what exactly it is, is it the small size or is it the facilities or the location? Well it is a combination of all these factors and many more. The concept of boutique hotel first surfaced in America in 1984, with Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager opening their Morgans Hotel in New York. It then slowly spread to other cities and countries.

There is no single accepted definition of the term, in simple and layman's language, these properties are, "non traditional, unconventional, small, trendy, chic, life style hotels with high degree of personalisation in service and guest interaction and offering a unique experience."

Boutique hotels perform the same functions as the regular hotels or offer the same product to its residents, guests, customers and patrons yet they are quite different from the regular hotels in many ways. These differentiations make them unique and they are able to extract equal if not higher, per room revenue.

Location plays the most important role for hotels success. Boutique hotels require a metro city, down town location for maximising returns. Resorts boutique hotels also require prime location. This fact explains the concentration of boutique hotels in New York's Manhattan area or in central London area.

A hotel could be called as a boutique product if it has 3 to 150 rooms. However, some in the industry feel that the size of the property should not be over 100 rooms, but with the entry of large international chains in this segment, the size factor has been diluted largely. Now we see chains like the Hilton, Starwood, Kempinski, Four Seasons, Le Meridian, to name a few who offer boutique products. This is in addition to the regional chains like the Amanresorts, Oberoi, Dusit, and Banyan Tree and in India the Ista and Park group.

The success of a boutique product depends largely on the quality of experience it offers to the guests. This experience is the resultant feel of all your senses, i.e., what you see, what you hear, what you taste and what you feel. More explicitly, it must evoke the "Wow" factor right from the first point of exposure. This aspect of development of a boutique property is perhaps the most difficult one. It entails creating a mood, an environment and an ambiance, which will add uniqueness to the experience.

The designer, the executer and the operator have to work together to define every element of the product, ensuring that it adds to the exclusivity of the property and enhances the experience. While working on the experience enhancement objective, the team can not loose sight of other essential elements of the product. It has to be ensured that the final product is "chic" and "trendy" exuding a high life style.

Decor plays a very important role in creating ambiance and adds to the evolution of style of product and service. The hotel must become the preferred happening place in the city and the location for the local and visiting celebrities, a place where people want "to be seen around" and "to be seen with", with local media eager to cover each celebrity visit. Visiting the hotel must be seen as a bonus as it offers an opportunity to be seen in the local print media.

Boutique hotels are very trendy with state of the art technology. City boutique hotels boost of high speed Wi-fi internet connectivity, dimmer switches in all areas including guest rooms, multi-plug sockets, LCD or Plasma flat screen TV with remote control, telephones with voice mail, message display and follow-me system and DVD players in rooms. The bathrooms are no less in furnishing, fittings and technology. Most bathrooms have bathtubs cum Jacuzzi as also rain shower, frost-free mirrors and multi-plug shaver socket adjustable to different voltages.

While all these technological features and gadgetry is installed, it is also ensured that every thing is user friendly and does not offend the user, the guest. There is no end to imagination, the seed for innovation and evolution. Development of boutique product is directly influenced by creative and practical imagination or visualisation by its creators.

A boutique product is not complete with out providing its guests stylish entertainment. The entertainment in these hotels includes the pleasing experience in its restaurants and bars. The atmosphere in the restaurants is created in a way that the visit is mentally and physically entertaining and pleasing. The atmosphere, food, and style tickle not only the taste buds but also stir the sight, the smell and the feel scenes. The overall result is enthralling and exotic. While this type of experience could also be enjoyed in the restaurants of a regular hotel or a stand alone restaurant, what make it so special in a boutique hotel is the fact that here it is the continuity of an experience flowing from the rest of the product. In addition to the restaurants, most of the boutique hotels have a chic lounge serving choicest of beverages with live music and a club atmosphere. The hotel becomes an entertaining fun place.

The food in boutique hotel is trendy too; most hotels have very innovative menus. The term fusion cuisine is synonymous with boutique hotels. The selection of crockery and table ware is hip with fine bone china to reflect quality. Table setting complementing the decor, interiors and the mood. Service friendly and inviting. Since boutique hotels normally have one or two restaurants only, they rely on tabletops, table setting and lighting to create different moods at different times of the day, changing the experience at the three meal times.

The soul of the property comes from its people. People - who on one hand are its residents, guests, visitors and patrons and on the other its employees and managers who play such an important role of fueling the hotel with brilliance and bringing it to life. The staffs is professional, well trained, well groomed with positive attitude towards hotel guests, able to anticipate the needs and wants of the guests and never allow these to become demands. Their attitude towards the guests is very positive, friendly and courteous.

Boutique hotels today are just 26 years old. They were born in 1984. In this short period of existence, they have made a mark in the industry and carved out their own niche. Their growth has been phenomenal, to the extent that Google lists boutique hotels under various segments based on their size, location and user groups. These include luxury boutique hotels, chic boutique hotels, designer boutique hotels, spa boutique hotels, romantic boutique hotels, beach boutique hotels and small boutique hotels. In countries like India there is yet another segment that has become extremely popular with the leisure traveller - The Heritage Boutique Hotels. These are old forts, palaces and havelis converted into boutique hotels. These hotels offer a product with colonial architecture, ultra modern and chic facilities and services and a unique and unmatched nostalgic experience of luxury at its best.

The future of boutique product is very promising as an investment and business proposition. Travelling public today knows what they want and how to get it. They are willing to pay the right price for the right product. There was a time when the marketing mantra used to be 'sell what you have," today however it has changed; you to "produce or make what sells". The sooner we understand this changing demand dynamics; the better will be our chance to compete. With the opening of Armani hotel in Dubai recently, it is only a matter of time that we will be stepping into boutique hotels with life style product brands like the Cartier, The Mont Blanc, The Ferrari to name a few.

You have permission to publish this article without any change what so ever electronically, in print, in your e-book, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author by-lines are included.

Ram Gupta is a management professional with specialisation in hospitality, real estate and product and digital marketing. He has over four decades of experience in Asia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has been associated with over two dozen hotel projects. His web site can be viewed at and can be contacted at

Houseboat Hotels - Unique and Blissful Experience

The last four decades have seen the world go around in so many ways. One wonders that at this pace where the next generation would reach. An ever-evolving technology, needs and demands growing fast, and, innovation offering one surprise after the other. I distinctly recall that in the 60's we had only a couple of hotels, mainly in the metros. Foreign tourists and big corporate guests used to frequent these hotels.
When we compare the scene today, we have hotels in varying types and sizes, the brands are baffling as there are so many. We have resorts, city hotels, luxury hotels, budget hotels, inns, motels and floating hotels, and God knows how many more categories. A couple of years back we had stayed and experienced the joy of a short vacation in a houseboats in Srinagars Dal Lake, these were floating luxuries anchored in the lake for the tourists on a vacation. These houseboats were stationary and normally did not move in the lake.

What amazed me recently in Kerala, a state in southern India, was the sight in the backwaters - the floating hotels. Beautifully crafted house boats with two to three bed rooms, bathrooms, living rooms, sunbathing deck and a kitchen giving a 2-5 nights back water ride to couples and group of friends.

The houseboats are very tastefully furnished with the use of local materials and equipped to take care of the guests as if one is in a 5-star luxury hotel. It is self contained with its own power generation with silencers, split air-conditioners, flat screen plasma TV, DVD players and a wireless internet connection. Mobile phones, I understand, are also available on request although they work only in areas where the net work is available.

Houseboats are manufactured locally in Kerala with fibreglass, an eco friendly material. Traditional houseboats were made with Ainee or Anjili wood. The boats are 75 feet and up to a maximum of 120 feet long. The sides are glazed with clear or tinted glass to protect the air-conditioning and offer a 360-degree stunning view of the lush green backwater shores on both sides of the boat. The glazing has bamboo curtains called the chicks creating the overall ambiance very appealing. Floors are covered with thick coir carpets. All boats are equipped with life jackets and first aid kits. Portable fire extinguishers are also fitted.

The staff on board is trained in many skills. They know the waste management and its disposal and also food preparation and service, housekeeping and life saving techniques in case of an emergency. The cuisine on board is traditional and on request, served in traditional style, "meal on the leaf". Some boats have alternate source of energy through solar panels.

The capital cost of a good boat with three bedrooms would ranges under US$ 175,000. A two night-three days trip, in a deluxe boat, with all meals and taxes would cost around US$ 450 for a couple. That looks reasonably cheap. Investment in a boat hotel venture makes sense as a sound proposition.

What one is left wondering with is the fact that there is no end to creating products and packages to meet the ever-changing demands of the guests. This willingness to innovate a product that satisfies the "needs" helps keep one ahead of the competition.

The best way to enjoy and experience nature is to live in it and becoming a part of it. This is what exactly the experience of a backwater boat ride makes you feel. Good experience makes a holiday perfect, filled with fond memories, and if that experience is in Gods own country, you must be blessed!

You have permission to publish this article without any change what so ever electronically, in print, in your e-book, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author by-lines are included.

Ram Gupta is a professional hospitality consultant with over four decades of experience in Asia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has been associated with over two dozen hotel projects. His web site can be viewed at and can be contacted at

Inns-The Evolution Of Hotels

There are so many versions on the evolution and history of Inns that, at least for me it is difficult to say hey, this is how it all started and this is when it started. However, logically and analytically speaking, one found many facts hidden facts between the lines of history. It is left then to your judgement to draw conclusions.

The need for travel must have triggered the demand for overnight sleepover places. Where the traveller could rest his horses, wash himself, eat good food with a drink and have a sound sleep before embarking upon the journey further the next day. The history so implies. Alehouses used to serve the travellers with home brewed beer and allow him to sleep in the barn or the kitchen. Inns would offer primarily room or dormitory accommodation with attached or shared bathrooms initially and as demand grew, rooms were provided with attached baths.

The rules governing the stay of the traveller were framed by the innkeeper and were quite strict. The main door of the inn would close at a certain hour and after that, one could not enter even if you were a guest. Since travel conditions those days were tough, people normally would travel alone. Many Inns would therefore not allow travellers with families to stay. One had to eat the fixed breakfast prescribed by the Inn Keeper and on shared tables. Yet the Inns enjoyed good occupancy and business in the absence of any alternative.

From those medieval days to the present day, the Inns have covered a lot of ground, seen enormous developments and embraced changes in the product, style and operations of modern day Inns. Even the traveller has changed to guests who no longer arrive on the horse back; he is a jet set traveller with totally fresh set of demands and expectations. Inns are now full service hotels, meeting the demand criteria of the guests. The brands command a price premium as the demand for rooms are quite high.

The factor that used to characterise the early day inns are, they were mostly or generally located on the intersection of two major roads, or at the entry of a city or near the railway station no more holds good. Today one finds Inns anywhere and everywhere. Airports, down town, city centre, beach or resort location, specially on ski resorts and golf resorts or for that matter even as part of a mixed development.

Since Inns are perceived as budget hotels, offering economical rates for its rooms and food and beverages, they normally attract the bulk of mid market segment and enjoy a relatively higher occupancy. Inns also have a much lower operating overheads and therefore even after lower revenues, are able to generate a healthy contribution to the bottom line. This cost benefit advantage of the product has prompted most of the big hotel chains to enter the Hotels Inn segment. It is a profitable business niche from investment angle.

Some of the big ticket Inn sign boards would read like the Fair Field Inns by Marriott Hotels, Days Inns & Quality Inn, Holiday Inns by Intercontinental Hotels, Premier Inns, Residence Inns, Park Inns, Hampton Inns and Suites, Sleep Inns and the list goes on. The advantage of big corporate launching Inn brands has been many folds. It gives a quality stamp to the Inn product and offers the opportunity to the Inn tag to ride on the back of upscale tags like the city hotels, down town hotels, luxury hotels etc.

Today, some hotels inns are as good in product development and quality as any luxury hotel or a 5-star hotel. They have good sized and well-appointed guest rooms, two to three gourmet restaurants, bars, pubs, discotheque, business centre, health club with a well-fitted gym, swimming pool. Meeting spaces and the works, yet they are shy to drop the "inn" tag afraid to loose the special status they enjoy. Inns would not like to get drowned in the deep ocean of the hotel world and loose their identity. Inns are a different world. Inns remind you of the nostalgic time journey of hotel evolution.

You have permission to publish this article without any change what so ever electronically, in print, in your e-book, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author by-lines are included.

Ram Gupta is a professional hospitality consultant with over four decades of experience in Asia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has been associated with over two dozen hotel projects. His web site can be viewed at and can be contacted at

Resorts-A Vacation Package

Vacation with family or friends and romantic sojourns has been a human need for decades. The only difference between a vacation trips in say, early 1900 and today is that these needs have become more focused and defined. A vacation traveller used to accept an "as available" product in the past, but today, he knows what he wants. He has multiple choices of products and destinations to choose from, and that too in different vacation packages.

Resort development demands a thorough knowledge of users vacation habits, his wants and needs on one hand, and, the ability of the location to match them. There has to be a total synergy of needs and profile of the resort. The task presents further challenges as there are various types of resorts depending upon the location and nature of development.

There are resorts that are a destination by themselves; they offer a composite and comprehensive product and vacation deals to the holiday seeker. Hotels, serviced apartments, self contained luxury villas for the families or group of friends, restaurants, bars, night clubs, discotheques, wellness centres, entertainment, sports, shopping and the works. Once you enter the resort, you need not look outside the resort for any thing during your stay.

On the other hand, one could develop a resort hotel in a popular holiday destination. The hotel could be in any category depending upon the profile of the destination and developers target clientele. The resort hotel provides rooms or apartments with a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, wellness centre, business centre and other basic services. The guests can visit other service providers in the location like pool bars, billiards, sports, nightclubs that compliment the hotel. In either case, the destination as a whole ensures that there is enough activity in the location to keep the guest busy, entertained and happy, while developers investment remains to resort hotel only.

Resort development strategy will largely depend on what type of resort one wants to develop. Different types of resorts are classified based on location and core activity possible in the location. The most popular type of resorts are beach resorts, hill resorts, ski resorts, golf resorts, lake resorts, luxury resorts, spa resorts, tropical resorts, to name a few. Each type will require different and specific planning and development considerations and inputs for its success.

Resorts are generally located in far-off and remote locations, as they can be where nature provides the activity and atmosphere. Connectivity and availability of good infrastructure therefore becomes a major issue for the planner. Presence of an airport or rail connection in the near vicinity, say around 90 minutes drive, or connectivity by a good road is essential for the success of the resort. Similarly, availability of water, sewerage and electricity is crucial. Resorts in popular destinations in most countries are therefore developed with the active support and involvement of the local or national governments, as the amount of investment required for infrastructure development could be sizable.

Resorts are largely seasonal in nature. Therefore, the planners have to give serious thought on creating a product, which will reduce the seasonality threat to the bottom line. One of the ways is to provide good conference and meeting facility to market the resort as a corporate conference destination in lean period.

Resort development is a highly specialised area requiring serious and thoughtful consideration on a number of key issues. The task requires professional skills and experience. One must find right and financially viable answers to all these factors and issues before undertaking the venture.

You have permission to publish this article without any change what so ever electronically, in print, in your e-book, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author by-lines are included.

Ram Gupta is a professional hotel and resort consultant with over four decades of experience in Asia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has been associated with over two dozen hotel and resort projects. His web site can be viewed at and can be contacted at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spa Hotels And Resorts-Ultimate Wellness Destinations

The emergence of spas is not recent. Earlier spas were located near a natural spring offering holistic wellness treatment to the visiting public. The term is more than often referred in conjunction with healing and curing than wellness. Spas got a make over from the Roman royals. They developed spas with a touch of class and a feel of luxury. In fact, they started using spas more or less like wellness centres, soaking in spring water, taking steam or hot air bath in a marble clad chamber, giving the body the luxury of soft massage, taking a cool dip in spring water and finishing with a relaxing drink.

Present day hectic pace of life, a busy social lifestyle of the lap top carrying corporate executives has created a profitable business opportunity for the hospitality industry - wellness travel. The concept of wellness is quite different than curative or medical travel. Wellness is for healthy people wanting to live healthier, whereas medical travel is for patients wanting to get well. This fine distinction makes wellness travel or spa tourism an interesting marketing proposition.

The term spa is derived from its Latin origin - salus per aquam, literally translating as water gifted health. No wonder then that the earlier wellness spots were located near natural springs as aqua therapy is considered mother of all detox therapies. The German health destinations like Baden Baden and Bad Neunehar, to name a few, have the prefix Bad, meaning spa or literally bath. Spa hotels and resorts today offer holistic wellness, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual in luxurious surroundings and atmosphere.

According to the first ever spa report published by Christine Tetreault at the 2008 Global Spa Summit in New York, the global spa economy stood at US$ 250 billion. This confirms the fact that the economic slow down had no impact on wellness business.

Spa business has come of age generating employment opportunities by millions. It has become very focused, specialised and professional. Spas can be classified into three categories - the day spa, offering a specific therapy, destination spa- as the name suggests, these are spas where guests stay, get healthier, have an entertaining time as the spa offers a whole range of body pampering treatments and therapies, and finally the medical spas which are more on clinical and medicine based treatments. The industry thrives on day spas in the city hotels and destination spas in resort hotels.

Spa planning for a luxury city hotel and a spa resort is a very complex exercise. Since wellness is the main marketing tool, the planning and implementing team must be fully aware of various processes and procedures, the flow of activity, space planning, knowledge of latest spa, gym and therapy equipments, technology, lay outs etc. The spa planning and executing team normally consists of a technical resource, interior decorator and the facility planner.

Staff in a spa plays an important role. They are educated and well trained in various therapies, processes and operations. These include massages - Swedish, Thai, deep tissue etc, water therapies like flotation, water dance, Jacuzzi etc. Most spas offer yoga sessions and various alternate therapies like Chinese, Egyptian and many more.

Wellness being the focus of the entire concept, beauty therapies become an integral part of a spa. These are available for both men and women. The beauty segment includes areas like hair, facial and body treatments. Food and nutrition counselling is part of spa management for the resident and day spa users.

A well-planned spa hotel or a spa resort has all the essentials of a luxury city hotel or a luxury resort hotel. Wellness becomes the core activity for the guests as well as the management. Well appointed guest rooms, state of the art fitted bath rooms, a wow lobby, gourmet restaurants, bars, discotheque, lounges, business centre, swimming pool and sports complex etc make the product complete.

As we look ahead, we must remember that enjoying good health and well being is the most desired wish of humans, the demand for a luxury, upscale spa hotel or spa resort will always remain high, it is an evergreen business niche. Forget get well! Keep well! is the mantra for a beautiful and enjoyable life.

You have permission to publish this article without any change what so ever electronically, in print, in your e-book, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author by-lines are included.

Ram Gupta is a management professional with specialisation in hospitality, real estate, product and e-marketing. He has over four decades of experience in Asia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has been associated with over two dozen hotel projects. His web site can be viewed at and can be contacted at

Beach Hotels-Vacation Paradise

Creation of a beach hotel is a very complex exercise. It has to take into account a number of factors and find suitable and marketable solutions. Unlike city hotels, where the prime motivator of the guest is to visit the hotel for business or transit, the motivation of the visitor in a resort hotel is to spend quality time on a vacation or a holiday. Normally a person takes a vacation with the family; hence, one has to plan the hotel in a way that it full fills the holiday expectations of all, the husband, the wife and the children.

As the name suggests, a beach hotel is either a beach property, located on a beach or have a beachfront across the road. A hotel in the city with a famous beach will not qualify as a beach hotel. As the prime factor for people to come to these hotels is leisure, the hotels are planned to offer a relaxed, holiday mood and atmosphere with a host of leisure activities to keep the visitors occupied all the time.

The rooms or apartments in beach hotels are large and airy and often sunny too. Good beach hotels have rooms measuring 45 square meters up wards. Luxury beach hotels offer family suites, which are as large as 200 square meters with separate living, dining and bedroom spaces. Beach hotels offer plenty of sun and sand, therefore good beach hotels provide either a balcony or a private sun deck with the room, for people to soak the sun in their own privacy. A very popular concept now a days is to have part of the hotel as beach villas with their own private beaches.

The accommodation in a beach hotel offers choice of queen sized or king beds. For children they offer either provision of extra beds in the room or have a pull out bed in the sofa placed in the rooms. The hotels normally have enough interconnecting rooms for those who want an additional room for the children. The bathrooms have long baths as also a walk in shower. All rooms have a hair dryer, satellite channels on the TV, mini bars, bathrobes and slippers. Hotels also provide wireless internet connectivity through out the premises to allow guest to communicate via mails.

Beach hotel planners pay special attention to create adequate facilities for their junior guests, the children. This keeps the children busy and entertained under hotels care while the parents are enjoying the sun or the surf. These are facilities like playrooms, video games parlor, table tennis, and kiddies' pools etc. Beach hotels also have a well-planned and attractive food menu for the children. Successful planning of children facilities would normally result in profitable marketing.

For the senior guests, one has to plan a host of activities where they can spend their time and money. Water sports like sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling, water skiing are quite popular. A well-fitted gym will further compliment the leisure package. A very popular activity now a days is offering wellness treatments through a well-known and branded spa. People love to spend time in a spa and be rejuvenated.

The success of a beach hotel depends on the variety and quality of restaurants, the cuisine and the entertainment they provide. Bars and lounges for the guests to sip a long drink before dinner compliment the atmosphere. The bars and restaurants create a very romantic atmosphere in the evenings and also have provision for live music. These activities add further challenges to the planners and the developers. The ultimate quality of experience is more than often decided by the taste buds.

These are a few important aspects of what one must consider when planning a beach. There are many more aspects like oceanographic considerations, swimming pools - out doors and in doors, entertainment zones, water parks, back of the house area facilities and technology etc. that need serious deliberations, thoughts and satisfactory resolution for the success of the beach hotel project.

You have permission to publish this article without any change what so ever electronically, in print, in your e-book, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author by-lines are included.

Ram Gupta is a management professional with specialisation in hospitality, real estate, product and e-marketing. He has over four decades of experience in Asia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has been associated with over two dozen hotel projects. His web site can be viewed at and can be contacted at

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Green Hotels And Resorts-Need Of The Hour

The issue of global warming and its impact on our lives and the lives of our grand children is a serious one, with unbelievable consequences for our planet earth, the universe and all those who breathe on it. While man had started playing with nature for centuries, it took an ugly turn since the so-called industrial revolution. We started emitting huge quantities of carbon and other harmful gases in the atmosphere, dumping solid industrial waste in our lovely and pure rivers and created a web of daily comfort materials and gadgets with polluting raw materials. All this started having negative impact on the ecological balance system. Today, it is obligatory on every one of us to act and do things to reverse this cycle, if not completely, at least to an agreed and acceptable level. Immediately.

Hotel industry has a big responsibility in helping the cause of global warming and has responded by promoting the green hotel concept, which is fast gaining popularity with the travelling public. In most countries, the town planning authorities approve a hotel building plan for a new hotel, only if it complies with eco friendly design standards. This will ensure that the hotels and resorts of the future will comply with prescribed environmental standards; the challenge is to ensure that the old hotel buildings adapt measures that will reduce their carbon footprint. The exercise is not only physical that one changes plants, machinery and equipments with more energy efficient ones, but it also means that people working in the hotels become an integral part of this process for its success.

Hotel and resort architects, interior decorators, systems consultants and others who form the core team for hotel development also have to have a thorough knowledge of the green concept. The building design and layout has to be energy efficient. Only sustainable materials to be specified to the extent possible and available which would allow emissions within permissible levels. Above all the team has to have a total commitment and faith in what they are doing fully realising their responsibility towards the well-being of the environment.

The main areas where the hotels and resorts have to concentrate is efficient use of all forms of energy, be it electricity, water, gas, coal or wood. Plugging all sources of energy waste like keeping lights on when not needed, flowing taps, overflowing tanks and cisterns, excessive pressure in gas burners, waste of recyclable heat and the list goes on. Another area is to tackle temperatures in the air-conditioning system, hot water temperature monitoring, laundry a source of maximum water and steam consumption, kitchen where the potential could be in three areas, water, gas and steam. External illumination is yet another area where saving potential exists.

Hotels and resorts must look at savings in energy and materials through the hotel guests. There are hotels that have successfully made hotel guests as their partners in conservation programmes. Example is lighting, linen change, material use to name a few. These measures, while aiding in hotels commitment to the environment conservation also add their share to the bottom line.

Hotel as an enterprise and an hotelier as a responsible member of the society have no option but to go green. Luckily, we are in an industry where we have educated, intelligent and understanding clients who if not more, are at least equally responsible members of the society. The task therefore becomes a joint venture. In this struggle to save and preserve our planet earth, there are no geographic boundaries, no religion and no colour, the planet belongs equally to all of us.

Go Green, Be One, Make One!

You have permission to publish this article without any change what so ever electronically, in print, in your e-book, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author by-lines are included.

Ram Gupta is a management professional with over four decades of experience in Asia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has been associated with over two dozen hotel and resort projects. His web site can be viewed at and can be contacted at the venture.

Luxury Hotels - A Class Apart

How does one define luxury? Luxury cannot be a necessity, if it was it would lose its charm of some thing that is not available commonly or to all for that matter. Luxury is something way beyond necessity or essentials; it is something that caters to the desirability thirst of the human being. This is precisely what luxury hotels fulfil- thirst and desire. They provide the guest with a relatively higher quality experience. Luxury hotels could be beach hotels, resort hotels or city hotels.

With the availability of surplus spendable income in the pockets of travelling public, the industry saw an explosion in the expectations of guests. The scenario provided a window of opportunity to exploit, as the people were willing to pay a premium for an exclusive and exciting product. This acted as a catalyst to the emergence of the concept of creating services and product beyond the expectations of a guest. Luxury hotels surfaced.

The industry saw chain as well as independent hotels create an exclusive niche product for this specific user segment and termed it as luxury hotels. To distinguish luxury hotels from the regular hotels, they were classified as five Star Deluxe Hotels or Luxury hotels.

While physically, the product remains almost the same as a five star hotel but it is qualitatively far more superior in product standards and style. The lobby is warm, rich and inviting with a touch of class, the elevators are well decorated in mahogany with rich inlaid Italian marble flooring. Floor corridors become more cosy and intimate and the hotels room- well, very plush with rich carpets, luxurious fabrics and high-end fixtures and furniture. The rooms are provided with TV's, music, electronic do not disturb and clean my room signs etc to list a few.

The bathrooms also get a make over. Luxury hotels provide a minimum of 5-fixture bathrooms fitted with ultra high end and branded fittings and fixtures. Most bathrooms have the provision of a bathtub and enclosed shower cubicle. The floor is adorned with expensive granite or Italian marble and so are the walls. The bathroom also have a HDTV and speakers for music.

The super fine linen, on the bed and in the bathrooms, enhances the quality of comfort. Branded amenities are provided to reinforce hotels commitment to quality, winning guest's appreciation and confidence.

Luxury hotels and resorts have at least one specialty cuisine fine dining restaurant in addition to an upscale coffee shop. The Bar is relaxing and soothing and generally have a club lounge atmosphere with finest labels on the shelf and in the cellar. The qualitative aspects are reflected in the service and presentation style of food and beverages. The attempt in a luxury hotel is to attain perfection with continuous improvement and evolution.

Staff of a luxury hotel is very well trained in not only their technical traits but also in the guest interactions. Courteousness, care and compassion are virtues that they practise and perfect. They are trained to address all guests by their names, making the interaction personal.

The emphasis in a luxury hotel is to ensure that the guest gets a real good and memorable experience of his stay in the hotel, something that will make him feel nostalgic. As we walk ahead, the definition of luxury keeps on changing, forcing industry to constantly redefine the term adding further luxuries to luxury.

You have permission to publish this article without any change what so ever electronically, in print, in your e-book, or on your web site, free of charge, as long as the author by-lines are included.

Ram Gupta is a management professional with over four decades of experience in Asia, Far East, Middle East and Europe. He has been associated with over two dozen hotel and resort projects. His web site can be viewed at and can be contacted at