Anton Fedun, Managing Director of the Ampersand Hotel and the Vintry and Mercer Hotel has offered industry-leading insights into challenges faced by the hospitality industry as it continues to expand and grow more competitive.
Fedun couldn’t stress enough how much guests appreciate something niche, truly unique and different. According to the Managing Director, tourists aren’t just after a hotel: with prices rising and tourism growing, people are after an experience – not just a place to stay.
The Hospitality expert also highlights the importance of having the right staff – a major factor in improving the quality of an individual’s stay. Making sure they are correctly trained, up-to-standard,pleasant and well presented only maximises the quality of a traveller’s stay.
Fedun suggests that the success of his hotels is based upon the fact that they cater for more than just the general UK business traveller. In the restaurant, they offer a wide variety of cuisines, including Indian cuisine and Chinese. This adds to customer satisfaction and improves the quality of their stay.
Fedun stressed the importance of providing ‘the whole package’ to travellers. From the moment they arrive at the hotel, the exterior needs to impress, right through to the lobby, the corridors and then on to the room itself which should be more than just a bed and four walls, but a relaxing haven that is different from other hotels and unique in style and presentation.
The hotel itself must also strive to be different. Fedun says the success of his hotels are due to the ‘secret’ basement bar and the rooftop terrace where guests will come back for the experience of the bar and to take in the city views.
He went on to discuss the competition which continues to grow with the rise of niche market hotels and the rise in popularity of the boutique hotel. Hotels nowadays must compete via online travel agents where more and more people will book indirectly via websites like Booking.com and Hotel Trivago. Hotels must pay a commission to these websites for the boost in publicity. With hotels growing in popularity and posting last minute deals, it is difficult for a hotel to compete in the hospitality industry as it moves online.
Fedun expressed ways in which a hotel can become more popular via environmental impact and decor. Nowadays, the importance of having a small environmental impact is of the utmost importance to many people of the world, including travellers. Having an environmentally friendly experience within a place to stay is definitely an area where hotels and businesses within the hospitality industry can increase their popularity. Also, the use of real plants in lobbies, corridors and hotel restaurants creates a more positive and welcoming area for a traveller to stay in and helps the establishment’s environmental impact.
Not only the hotel itself, but its facilities within have to compete too. A prime example of this is hotel restaurants where a person does not need to be a guest at the hotel to eat there, but when there are so many restaurants and eateries available elsewhere it can be hard for hotels to keep their guests eating in it – never mind bringing in external customers. That’s why Fedun stresses the need for niche. If somewhere provides a more exclusive experience, people will come back, and more importantly they will advertise to other travellers and potential customers.
All in all, Fedun stresses the importance of keeping up to date with what the modern traveller requires, how to compete with rival hotels and promotion online. It is vital now to keep standards at a high and to provide an experience that is more than just a bed and four walls.