When a guest forgets to bring their toothbrush or shampoo, they don’t tend to worry because most hotels will have them on hand. This is something guests often come to rely on and expect as part of their travel experience. But what happens when a guest forgets something like their cell phone charger, how many hotels have them to hand out? With how attached people are to their mobile devices, not having a charger can turn any relaxing vacation into a stressful one. Big Box retail stores are charging massive markups on these cables, and guests don’t have the time to buy them online at a fraction of the price. So what can hotels do to help guests in their time of need and improve their overall experience?
Thanks to the standardization of charging ports on modern mobile devices, hotels only need to worry about 3 to 4 major charging cables to satisfy the majority of their guests. Most Apple users will be using the new Lightning port, but some older iPhone and iPad users will still be using the 30-pin plug. Android users will almost universally be on a Micro-USB cable. Some older devices and digital cameras may again be using Mini-USB, so it’s essential to include these as well. So what options are available to hotels? Buying these cables in bulk from sites like Monoprice can give hotels an enormous savings over brick and mortar stores, but chances are guests won’t return them, and they will need to be continually repurchased. Selling them at the desk as room add-ons is an option provided hotels don’t mark them up from what they purchase them for, but this adds additional inventories to keep track of. If actual guest demand for chargers is low, this may be a viable option.
Hotels looking for a fixed cost should consider adding dedicated charging stations to their property. Airports and Malls have already had massive success with these kiosks. This is why many of the largest brands are picking up on the trend. A single lobby kiosk can be an enormous bonus for a property but will require guests to stay in the lobby while their phones charge. It will cost significantly more, but adding an in-room charging station in each room can make a big difference for all guests. Unless recently remodeled, most hotel room outlets are obscured behind nightstands or dressers. A desktop charger can be secured to a desk, and most guests will opt to use it since they won’t have to move furniture to access an outlet and run the risk of forgetting their charger when they check out.
For larger properties, or ones not sure if this could work, try small tests on specific room types. If the hotel offers more business-friendly rooms or suites, start there and gauge guest reaction and adjust the implementation accordingly. Independent hotels may look at the costs and dismiss the idea. Still, these types of investments can justify incremental increases in rates to grow revenue once the purchase costs have been recovered. Adding amenities like these may seem unnecessary, but these are the little touches that make hotels really stand apart from their competition and draw customers back.