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Hamilton Beach Commercial Blog


Three Ways Hotels Are Personalizing the Guest Experience

We’re a little weary of the word “curated.” Maybe you are, too. But hotel guests have come to appreciate — even expect — a thoughtfully personalized experience when they stay at a finer hotel.

Hotels have deployed all kinds of tech to meet this demand, including guestroom AI (like Alexa for Hospitality), apps to control room preferences, and the Internet of Things. But guests want more — especially when they stay in luxury hotels, says Wouter Geerts, a travel industry consultant for Euromonitor International: “The understanding of what luxury is has totally changed. We live in a very individualistic world, but people are seeking ways to be part of something.”

Here are three ways that hotels around the world are shaping the guest experience to be more personal, more memorable and more transformative than ever.

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Topics: Featured, guest experience, transformational travel, travel trends

When Is a Hotel Not a Hotel?

Hip London-based hostel brand Generator recently announced that it doesn’t want to be a hostel company anymore. “The moment we call ourselves ‘hostel,’ it limits us in certain markets,” Generator CEO Alastair Thomann said.

So is Generator a hotel company now? No. Instead, it will simply be called “Generator.” More than a hotel branding quirk, the change reflects the widespread convergence in the hospitality industry, Thomann said, in which hostels are becoming more like boutique hotels (aka poshtels) and boutique hotels are offering dorm-style accommodations. These experiments in community-driven, non-traditional hospitality also enable hotel companies to better compete with Airbnb and its cousins.

So, when is a hotel not a hotel? Let’s look at some ways hospitality companies are bending their brands.


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Topics: Featured, hotel branding, hospitality trends, hotel industry trends

The Pros and Cons of Alexa for Hospitality (and Other Guestroom AI)

“Alexa*, close the blinds.”

“Alexa, what time does the gym open?”

“Alexa, can I get some more towels?”

Soon, dialing "0" for the front desk will be an artifact of the past. The latest trend in hotel tech is artificial intelligence for guest rooms: conversational AI systems that can handle guests’ common questions and requests. This innovation is about to go mainstream, as Amazon’s Alexa for Hospitality is being tested at select Marriott, Westin, St. Regis,  Aloft, and Autograph Collection hotels (including the Charlotte Marriott City Center, the hotel innovation incubator we’ve featured.) How does this system work, and what are the benefits of adopting it?


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Topics: Featured, Alexa for hospitality, Hotel artificial intelligence, Hotel tech, Conversational AI

How the Hospitality Industry Is Ditching Straws and Single-Use Plastics

Starbucks is getting rid of plastic straws. McDonald’s, too. But what about the hospitality industry?

Hotel chains, cruise lines and tour companies have lagged behind in efforts to eliminate plastic straws and other single-use plastics. But that’s changing, as major players like Marriott and Royal Caribbean are seeking out new ways to phase out these environmental hazards. Practically speaking, how difficult is it to make this change? And does it really make a difference?

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Topics: Featured, plastic straws, plastic straw bans, stainless steel straws

The 2020 Guestroom: Hospitality Trends of the Future

The future looks rosy for the hospitality industry. Growth forecasts continue to be strong. Tourism numbers are booming worldwide. And as travel becomes easier, swifter and more reliant on technology, hotels are striving to keep pace.  

“What’s happened over the last three to five years, and what we expect over the next two or three, are unlike what we’ve seen in this industry before,” Heather Balsley, SVP of global marketing mainstream brands for InterContinental Hotels Group, said at the 2018 Hunter Hotels Conference. Here’s a look at some hospitality trends that promise to reshape the industry.

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Topics: Featured, hospitality trends, Hotel Trends

How Hotels Can Ease Guests’ Travel Stress

In some ways, travel has never been easier. You can breeze through expedited security. You can rapidly research every place you plan to visit. And you can use your phone as room key, translator and guide.

Yet travel has become even more stressful as people try to navigate a tumultuous and fast-changing globe. Skift calls this the State of Permanxiety: “a near-constant state of anxiety that exists now around the world.”  

Some hotels take a Zen approach to helping travelers relax: aromatherapy, guided meditations, even offering bags of lavender from a lobby cart at bedtime. These little touches are appreciated, but there are also some practical ways to relieve guests’ travel stress. 

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Topics: Featured, Travel Stress, Relaxation

Good Morning! Five On-Trend Hotel Breakfast Bar Ideas

What’s the one thing that can make or break guest satisfaction? It’s not the pillow menu or the fitness offerings; it’s the hotel breakfast.

Because the breakfast bar is often included in the room price, its quality factors heavily into guests’ assessment of value. Limp offerings of off-brand yogurt and underripe bananas dampen the guest experience; surprisingly good coffee and creative combinations elevate it.

How do the best hotel breakfast bars bring guests back again and again? Here are five fresh ideas.


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Topics: Featured, hospitality trends, hotel breakfast, hotel breakfast ideas, hotel breakfast trends

How Extended-Stay Hotels Are Winning Guests’ Loyalty

Extended-stay, today’s your day.

This once-overlooked market segment is exploding across the United States. In mid-2016, more than 40,000 extended-stay rooms were under construction: the highest number in at least 17 years, Lodging magazine reports. Despite another 20,000 rooms opening in 2015, extended-stay rates grew and occupancy saw only a slight dip. Brands such as Element by Westin, Staybridge Suites, Residence Inn and Extended Stay America are all planning significant expansions. 

Of course, all this growth means more competition. What are extended-stay hotels doing to win over guests and keep them coming back again — and again?

Courtyard by Marriott - Earth City, MO (Photo courtesy of Pinnacle South)
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Topics: Featured, Extended Stay, Hospitality

Hotel Trend Watch: The Rise of Poshtels

Hard bunkbeds. Grimy showers. Loud roommates.

For most people, the word “hostel” brings back decades-old memories of backpacking in Europe or surf-bumming around Costa Rica. Savvy travelers, however, know that hostels have a new face. “Poshtels” offer chic décor, fun bars and hotel-like amenities. And they’re making inroads in the United States. Find out how hostels fit into 2017’s competitive hotel market.

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Topics: Featured, Hospitality, Hotel Trends

Hotel Trend Watch: Hands-On Workshops for Guests

The idea of learning something new while on vacation is nothing new. Hotel guests have been perfecting their golf swings and swirling wines for decades. But there’s a new trend among hotels to offer ever more in-depth and hands-on learning. At hotels around the country, you can live your fantasy of becoming an artist, or a British pastry chef, or a master mixologist — even if only for a day.

Here are 10 hotels offering creative, hands-on workshops guests won’t soon forget.

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Topics: Featured, Hospitality, Hotel Trends