Sunday, July 7, 2013

How small can guest rooms get?

One of the most frustrating customer kick-backs that every motelier dreads after faithfully describing amenities, unit options and tariff is a one-liner retort: "All I want is a bed".

I was interested to learn about Whitbread PLC, the UK’s largest hotel group, that announced the launch of its new accommodation concept, ‘hub by Premier Inn’ that is a new generation of compact, city centre hotels.

The room offer is very compact at 11.4 square metres and will appeal to those "All I want is a bed" folk!

The tiny floor space obviously means that the hotel is able to cram more customers into an inner-city commercial building that may be sitting on high-value land. The selling proposition to overcome the cramped space on offer is to highlight the funky/contemporary room design, excellent connectivity, use of technology and good value for money.
"The new concept will target major UK city centres such as London and Edinburgh, with the first ‘hub by Premier Inn’ to open on St. Martin’s Lane in London in summer 2014.

Innovative room design has every centimetre optimised with a desk that folds into the Hypnos pocket-sprung bed, luggage storage under the bed, an en suite bathroom with power shower, free wifi and a 40” inch smart screen TV.

‘hub by Premier Inn’ will be the UK’s first hotel with its own app, letting customers control their hotel experience.  The ‘hub’ app means customers can book and check in online, as well as  pre-select their room temperature and light settings. They can even choose which TV or radio channel they want playing in their room when they arrive and stream content from their phone or tablet direct to their TV.

When it comes to drinking and dining, ‘hub by Premier Inn’ will have its own deli-style restaurant with plans to source produce from local suppliers.  Guests will be able to pre-order breakfast using their ‘hub’ app.
Over two years in the making, ‘hub’ has been shaped by customers.  Since June 2012, five prototype rooms have been on sale every night at the Premier Inn Kings Cross and during that time 1,825 guests have given individual feedback on everything from having two showerheads, (one on the wall so customers can avoid getting their hair wet) to the high absorbency, fast-drying micro fibre towels meaning no more soaking wet towels hanging around the bathroom for hours.  The result has been seven iterations of the ‘hub’ experience to ensure it reflects all key customer needs."
 A touch-screen control panel by the bed lets guests control light and heat. They can also do this even before checking in. Using an app, customers can preselect light settings, room temperature and what television program or radio station they want to be playing upon arrival.
 No surprise, the concept is being marketed to people ‘who value price, location and design over space.’ The goal is to have close to 40 of the hotels open or in the works by 2018.
 In order to maximize space, the bed performs triple duty. Besides a place to sleep, it also serves as home to luggage storage and a foldaway desk. And it’s the best spot from which to view the 40-inch television.
The new hotel concept ‘hub by Premier Inn’ is set to launch in London next summer. What sets it apart: rooms that measure just 11.4 square metres.
 The bathroom is equipped with a ‘power shower,’ fast-drying microfibre towels and dual showerheads.
If the room size sounds small, it’s still bigger than the six square metres (64 square feet) you can stay in at the Earl’s Court easyHotel in London. Rooms start at just £35, but you’ll pay extra for a window, television use and housekeeping services.
 And hey, things could be worse. Consider the capsule hotels popular in Asia. At this one in China, pods measure two metres long, one metre wide and slightly more than a metre high.

Source: The Globe and Mail

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