Back in the 90s, I used to travel a great deal and spent a lot of time in various business hotels. Things that were important to me:
- Cleanliness of room
- Non-smoking room
- Comfort of room, bed, and workspace
- Close to restaurants
- Convenient location
- Lack of distracting noise
- Fitness centers were nice but not a deal breaker
I used to travel a lot to Texas City near Houston. Located next to each other and near our Texas City office were a Hampton Inn and a Fairmont Inn. I stayed at both, ultimately choosing the Hampton over the Fairfield.
Hampton had steam irons in every room and Fairfield did not. It came down to the little tiny things. Someone at Hampton Inn caught on that customers wanted irons without having to call Housekeeping or the front desk. Like an arms race between superpowers, Hampton edged out Fairfield Inn. Later Fairfield would catch up, but for me it was too late. I was loyal to Hampton. I started stayng at Hamptons in other cities as well.
Now Tom Vander Well at QA QnA writes about the quality of coffee offered in business hotels. He’s looking for GREAT coffee, not merely good coffee or lousy coffee.
Once again, I quote former Coca-Cola Chairman Robert Goizueta who said:
In real estate, it is location, location, location. In business, it is differentiate, differentiate, differentiate.
Or, let me put it the way my nine-year old might shout it:
First one to exceed the need wins!
Something like this may seem like a molehill to you, but it can be a mountain to customers. Get feedback from your customers. What are the little things, the tiny adjustments that might help separate your business from the pack of your competitors? If you can identify these, then the additional cost will most likely be offset by your increased sales.