The genuine host approach

Hotel Design Consultant - LVO Associates

The modern day traveler’s quest for something new and different has inspired hotel management to offer settings with an intimate atmosphere, home style meals, personalised service and a unique experience.

With that, the hospitality industry has come full circle with a modern breed of sophisticated and charismatic boutique hotel owners redefining the small-inn experience that goes back several centuries.

These modern day inns are small cosy establishments offering family-like congeniality with a strong attention to personalised service, creating an environment that makes guests feel genuinely welcomed while catering to their every need. Understandably the operators of such establishments like to refer to themselves as “genuine hosts”.

In essence, a “genuine host” tries to downplay the business objectives of the establishment while emphasizing and building positive human relationships and emotional ties, creating an individual experience the guest will hold close to heart and seek to return to again and again.

Some of the common traits or qualities of these establishments:

Distinctive locations

“Small inn” establishments are often located off the beaten track giving greater intimacy and feeling of adventure while encouraging exploration and local interaction. The remoteness does not detract from the high level of comfort and service expended on guests.

Unique experiences

The inn-type establishment provides good potential for guests to up-scale and exceed what they expected from their vacation or stay.

Exciting design and decor

The focus on hotel design and decor bring variety and life to the interior. Here there is no cookie-cutter interior design fit out; here each room is different from another, just as it would be at someone’s home.

Great options

Modern technology and entertainment are important features, contributing to the lively atmosphere appreciated by modern travelers. Targeted use of features, design, colour, lighting, choices in music and art displays attract hipsters and millennials.

Great service

Total personalised service is what makes the genre stand out, as the goal is to make every guest feel special. Today’s manager of a small boutique hotel is the modern day innkeeper from the past offering a fully customized experience including personalised service, heartwarming comfort, complete privacy, ultimate care and home style cooked meals.

For boutique hotel management considering a step into the small-inn model, it is extremely important that the employees of the establishment must first have the following qualities:

Observant and considerate

The simple act of noticing little things goes a long way, offering a personal tour of the premises is a good opportunity to get guests settled in. If guests want to go to their room right away to relax, then tell them a few of the essential things they need to know on the way to the room, and offer further details on anything by calling you directly.

Thoughtful and courteous

Take note of the guests’ do’s and don’t’s, all comments that you receive from a guest can be used during the rest of their stay and for any future stays to make their experience even more enjoyable. Did they comment about the bedding, do they prefer a certain type of pillow; do they have dietary restrictions, what is their preferred aperitif before dinner. All these details can be kept in a guest history file and add to the personalised level of service.

Solid work ethic

Being the genuine host requires a strong work ethic coupled with a dose of calmness. Be prepared for working long hours, everyday seven days a week.

Strong team spirit

It is critical to find competent, reliable staff with high standards of devotion to blend and thrive within such a close-knit environment. Once you do find them, nurture them like your family!

With numerous mega mergers that have transpired recently, there is a strong demand for the real innkeeper/boutique hotel manager host concept for this ever growing niche market. The genuine host will do everything possible to make sure guests have a pleasant experience during their stay. This of course increases the chances of having repeat visitors (and making new friends).

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