Small gestures in hospitality september 2013


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With the publication of “Small gestures in hospitality” we want to provide hospitality entrepreneurs with hospitable gestures that are usable without having to make large investments. An example that we once encountered is, an “Easter Specialty” that appeared in our hotel room during the Greek Easter period, with a little card at which the manager explained its’ symbolism. This felt like a personal gesture and it’s always interesting to get an understanding of local holidays.

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Small gestures in hospitality september 2013

  1. 1. Small gestures in hospitality Publication: September 2013 This is a free publication of Van Spronsen & Partners horeca - advies
  2. 2. Preface Let us introduce ourselves.. Van Spronsen & Partners horeca-advies Van Spronsen & Partners hospitality consulting is part of the Van Spronsen & Partners group. This group consists of three more independent companies; hospitality payroll administration, hospitality administration and hospitality training. Our slogan is “think different, act different” and we are active in the hospitality and leisure market for 26 years. Our approach is to put our client and his/her goals first. With the publication of “Small gestures in hospitality” we want to provide hospitality entrepreneurs with hospitable gestures that are usable without having to make large investments. An example that we once encountered is, an “Easter Specialty” that appeared in our hotel room during the Greek Easter period, with a little card at which the manager explained its’ symbolism. This felt like a personal gesture and it’s always interesting to get an understanding of local holidays. Within our hospitality consulting we mainly focus on performing feasibility studies, company audits, efficiency improvements, development of hospitality concepts, giving management support and creating marketing and communications plans. A while ago I read an article about a hotel manager that invited his guests for a tour through the city once a week. This way he showed them the city in a personal, off the beaten path kind of way. Nice gesture and a good response to the rapidly expanding market of private room rentals. This market seems to be expanding mostly because guests prefer the personal contact, maybe you could grab this opportunity to make a connection between your guests and local hotspots. Which is especially important with the rising trend of Food Sherpas in big cities. Besides these activities we publish new industry studies monthly, where we reveal more depth information about the different sectors within the hospitality industry in the Netherlands. Check for previously published studies. As you are used to by now, this edition also features examples of fellow entrepreneurs that you can use as inspiration. Personally I enjoy surprising hospitality the most, that’s where you really get to feel the spirit of the establishment. If you believe your hospitable gesture is inspiring and you would like to share, please let us know. We would love to post it to our website and spread the news via our social media channels. For more information on our other companies check;, and Marjolein van Spronsen 1
  3. 3. Food Alcohol free beverage and food pairing Restaurant 'In de keuken van Floris' in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, provides a great example. They treat their guests, because of their 7 year anniversary, with a free wine pairing during their nine-course dinner. For those who do not drink alcohol, they serve a freshly squeezed juices arrangement. Non-alcohol beverages / food pairing? Why not? With Father's Day my daughter of 14 years got a glass of non-alcoholic wine served at restaurant Merlet (Schoorl, The Netherlands). A nice gesture from the restaurant, to give another taste sensation for those who don't drink alcohol. Those guests who do not drink alcohol, often drink water during dinner. Because you don’t want to spoil the taste of the dish. Meanwhile we can see a growth in the market of non-alcoholic beer in The Netherlands and we see lunch & sandwich shops that offer non-alcoholic wine at lunch. With this information in mind, there is certainly a great opportunity for gourmet restaurant to upsell and offer non-alcoholic beverages pairing. Especially for the designated driver of the culinary party, it’s a nice gesture. Food Sherpas There are more and more Food Sherpas in touristic areas. Food Sherpas are local people who receive tourists and show them the city. Unlike tourist agencies, the Food Sherpas lead you to local restaurants where you normally wouldn't come as a tourist. They take you on a local culinary discovery tour and not only tell you where to go, but also what to order in restaurants. For example Food Sherpas can be found in Paris, where they guide tourist to the not so touristy Paris. Hotels could set up an agreement with local people to guide the hotel guests through the most local hotspots. This as reaction to the deployment of an AirBnB host, because the success of this concept is that tourists can stay at and meet local people. And again it’s a great gesture to your guests. 2
  4. 4. Food Original Restaurant San Pau, owned by 3 star chef Carme Ruscalleda, in Sant Pol de Mar, Spainm serves the “cookies with the coffee” in a small set of trains. Nice symbolism since the restaurant overlooks the Mediterranean sea with the disruption of a train passing by regularly. There is no noise pollution whatsoever but you get to see a train every now and then. By making it come back at the table the restaurant makes this into part of the experience instead of an annoying characteristic of the location, people can’t wait to come back for the train now! Napkins In fine dining restaurant the waiting staff often refolds the napkins when guests leaves the table, which is a hospitable gesture. At Le 7, Bistrot Chic of Anne Sophie Pic they have chosen a more practical and creative approach, here you can hang your napkin on a small hook attached to the table. Family fun all in one We published an article about the ‘Pizza-burger’ by ‘Boston Pizza’ on our website We did mention this burger on horecatrends in April (kind of a April the 1st joke) but the burger is launched on the menu in September. Children at the Boston Pizza receive a mini pizza box by entering the restaurant, containing coloring pages, games and crayons. Nice small gesture, that can be taken home of course. 3
  5. 5. Surprise Surprise! Towel folding In our last publication “Royal hospitable gestures” we showed how towels folded in different shapes, an old craft, is appreciated by the young and old. The Airport Hotel Rotterdam took the examples of Ratilanna Riverside Spa Resort in Chiang Mai as inspiration. They have started to fold their towels in different shapes and got a lot of positive responses from their guests, we especially liked their dog! Fifty Shades of Grey goodie Hotel Mainport in Rotterdam is putting in a lot of effort to separate themselves from competition, they even specialized their mini-bar assortment. That’s why they are now offering the Fifty Shades of Grey goodie bag. Another personal touch in the room is the travel diary where you can document your travel experiences. Vouchers Upon arrival at the Dylan Hotel in Amsterdam every guest receives a homemade welcome drink. This varies from an interpretation of ice tea to refreshing lemonades. During “turn down”-service every guest receives a cooled bottle of water and a personal mix of nuts or chocolate. Guests that stay longer, get to enjoy the “long stay program” where they are surprised with a new small surprise everyday. Think of a voucher for an ice-cream or tickets for one of the museums of Amsterdam. 4
  6. 6. Extra service Hotel allows guests to shop 24-7 The Mark Hotel in New York recently agreed to an exclusive partnership with fashion store Bergdorf Goodman that will allow its guests to shop at their store at any time. The hotel guests will have 24/7 access to the fashion store with a personal shopper. A hospitable gesture, that’s for sure! Spa Happy Hour The Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston has introduced a Spa Happy Hour. Guests and locals can get USD 30 off at a 60 or 90 minutes massage, facial or body treatment from Monday through Thursday from 12:00 to 6:30 pm. They can also choose a special Happy Hour menu that includes free Spa cocktails and snacks. The promotion continues until December 31, 2013. A new kind of happy hour other than your typical happy hour at a bar. Hotel offers self cooking boxes Boutique hotel Affinia Hotels has started a partnership with US online grocer 'FreshDirect' to offer their guests an extra service. The rooms at the Affinia Hotels are equipped with a kitchen, separate dining area that allows guests to cook in their hotel room. Therefore the hotel offers meal packages by FreshDirect, such as the Healthy kit or the Business kit. The boxes are filled with food like fruits, vegetables, biscuits, dairy products and chips. Guests can order these boxed when they make the reservation for the hotel room or during their stay. 5
  7. 7. The Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam The Manhattan Hotel in Rotterdam offers its guests small hospitable gestures before they come to the hotel. The Twittering concierge Lesley Klavert informs the guests through Social Media and they have a personal pickup service from the train station. Twittering concierge The Manhattan hotel in Rotterdam is going along with tweeting habits of their clientele. The hotel is the first hotel in The Netherlands with a tweeting concierge, Lesley Klavert keeps hotel guests posted on touristic attractions, restaurants, nightlife and events every day between 8 AM – 8 PM. Via twitter account @conciergeRTM hotel guests can also pose their questions, this way the hotel can be in touch with their guests even before arrival. Personal pickup service from the train station Doorman Donald welcomes the hotel guests at Rotterdam Central Station with a smile, he takes their luggage and accompanies them to the hotel. The most famous person Donald has picked up so far is Jean Paul Gaultier when he arrived from Paris by Thalys to open his exhibition in ‘the Kunsthal’. VIP treatments in style The Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam is involved in many events like Rotterdam Unlimited, City Racing Rotterdam and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. To ensure that all services are in style, the hotels’ VIP treatments become theme focused. For example during the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament they served yellow/green macaroons. Personalized bath amenities for VIP guests The VIP guests of The Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam are pampered extra with personalized beauty products of the hotel shop ‘Bibou Organic Products and Treatments’. The products of Bibou are made in their own laboratory and are made with passion, animal-free tested and produced. For special occasions the bottles are personalized with names and pictures, to surprise the hotels’ guests. 6
  8. 8. Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna The Palais Hansen Kempinski in Vienna offers its guests the opportunity to rent special “Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna Bikes”. These city bikes were especially made by the hotel for their guests. The bikes are rented to the guests for free. This way the hotel offers their guests the perfect way to discover Vienna, healthy and sustainable. Furthermore they have their own iPad entertainment system. In every room an iPad is provided with no additional costs. Guests can use the iPad to order room service, discover the hotel virtually, operate the lightning or the television. Obviously it can also be used to surf the internet. The lobby also boasts two iPads for external guests and the two restaurants use iPads to present their wine lists. 7
  9. 9. Hotel Des Indes & The Pulitzer hotel The hospitable gestures a company provides have to match the image of the hotel. Hotel Des Indes, an original city palace, has welcomed many royals, aristocrats and celebrities since it’s opening as hotel in 1881. They use a symbol from the past to show their sense of hospitality. Every room is furnished with an authentic pineapple chandeliers to provide all guests with a warm welcome. This is based on the fact that in the 1800’s it was custom to put a pineapple on tables as a token of hospitality. The Spaniards discovered that the pineapple symbolizes friendship and hospitality because pineapples where normally found at the entrance of villages. Also linen, napkins and carpets were illustrated with pineapples to show the hospitality of the host of hostess. Hotel Des Indes beautifully reinstated that symbol in their hotel. From the Pulitzer hotel we received as a “small hospitable gestures” a description of their Pulitzers Bar. A gesture that is super easy to incorporate in your company. Just be awarded the best in town. They divided their bar in three separate spaces, the Blue Bar where guests can chat at the bar, the Johnny Walker Black Label Lounge for a good glass of whiskey and the Red Room for a nice view on the beautiful Keizersgracht. Ultimate hospitality, the Pulitzers Bar was recently declared “best five star hotelbar of Amsterdam 2013” by the newspaper “Parool”. The Pulitzers Bar is run daily by three passionate barmen; Wajeeh, Nils and Turgay. In hospitality it’s vital that your staff carries out your vision. Because in the hospitality is a combination of beautiful space, quality products and the personal contact and service. 8
  10. 10. Social media as sales element Instagram hotel After the Twitter hotel in Majorca, the first Instagramhotel has now been opened in Australia. Hotel 1888 has 90 rooms decorated with photos taken by guests and is fully dedicated to Instagram. When you have more than 10.000 followers on Instagram you get a free stay at the hotel and the guest/photographer of the Instagramphoto (of the hotel) of the month also receives a free additional stay. The hotel has a special room where you can take photos of yourself and guests are guided through the environment by an Instagram map. Smart use of Social Media These days we see more and more hotels that use social media in a smart way. The Four Seasons for example uses Pinterest to get in touch with their guests before arrival, they bring their travels to life with Pin.Pack.Go, a new travel planner on Pinterest. Via Pinterest the guest can create a Pin.Pack.Go board and show which Four Seasons hotel they will visit. You can start following the specific hotel on Pinterest and they will follow you back, from that point on that Four Seasons hotel can start recommending you touristic attractions, restaurants and shops via pins. Basically the hotel plans your ideal travel route from beginning to end via Pinterest. Because of your Pinterest profile they know your interests and can personalize all information. An interesting and renewing way of informing guests before arrival and it definitely creates more fun anticipation! 9
  11. 11. References Check our inspiration on Alcohol free beverage and food pairing Food Sherpas Family fun all in one A burger wrapped in a pizza Hotel allows guests to shop 24-7 Instagramhotel Pin Pack Go travel planner Spa Happy Hour Four Seasons Hotel offers self cooking boxes Twitter concierge Towel art Trendpresentations for entrepeneurs and students On a regular basis we supply trend and inspiration sessions about the (inter)national developments within the hospitality, marketing, leisure, retail and experience economy. We have experience in giving presentations for different audiences, from students to board of directors. Would you like to apply trends in your own company? We can look at your current communication channels, provide an inspiration session, together we determine what is attainable and we will help you with the execution! For more information, send an email to