Hotels, well most hotels, have come a long way since the days of a tiny bar of Dial soap being the only in-room amenity that a traveler could routinely count on being there. Remember “travel irons” and “travel hair dryers” that you had to take along?
Fast forward to 2018 and more and more people are travelling for work or pleasure and hotels have responded to their needs. For the most part. I argue there are still areas needing attention, especially those areas that matter to women who travel, especially those of us who travel for work. While this may be a generalization, it seems to me that the hoteliers making these decisions (based on what I see as the decisions) are primarily men. So, hoteliers out there, consider the following:
1. The hair dryer. Sure, I’m glad it’s provided, but let’s shoot for a quality that will dry my hair better than having someone blow on it like it’s birthday candles. Seriously. Hotel chains could partner with hair dryer makers to provide commercial quality dryers branded for that particular chain. Think “Dyson for Marriott” as an example. And I can tell you that if I have a good hair dryer experience, I am more likely to seek out that brand for my personal use.
2. The iron and ironing board. First, make sure you provide this. Second, let’s go for a quality that’s not like you fished it out of the sale bin at the local thrift store. An iron that spits while you’re trying to iron a blouse on a rickety ironing board does not make for a positive experience. Like the hair dryer, let’s consider branding. “Rowenta for Belmond” has a nice ring to it. Full disclosure, I have a Rowenta at home and love it.
3. The full-length mirror. To get an idea of how my outfit looks, I need to see the entire outfit, including my shoes. Sure, I can stand on the bed and look in the mirror over the dresser or desk (and I have done this many a time), but you can make my life much easier by putting a mirror on the inside of the closet door that faces into the room when opened. Why the inside? So I can open the door and get back far enough from it to really assess my ensemble.
4. The “shaving mirror” in the bathroom. While we’re on the subject of mirrors, I love it when I check in to a hotel and there’s one of those lighted, magnified-on-one-side mirrors in my bathroom. The problem is frequently they are mounted too high on the wall. I get it. They’re “shaving mirrors” for men, who tend to be taller then women. But women like those mirrors, too, and we call them “make-up mirrors” and if they’re too high they do us no good. And climbing up on to the bathroom countertop is not only uncomfortable, but could be dangerous. Remember, a taller person can lean down a bit. The shorter person is just that, shorted the opportunity to use the mirror.
5. The bathroom amenities. As I said before, hotels have come a long way with amenities. Nicer soaps and lotion. Shampoo AND conditioner. Sometimes a nice body wash. What stands out for me is if there’s a little kit of essentials that I may have left behind. Simple things like Q-tips, cotton balls, a tiny sewing kit, an emery board. Men many not care about these things as much, but women, women care.
6. Finally, the closet hangers. Please make sure these are real hangers and not those horrific rings that you have to work a nailhead-like protrusion into. I like to hang several items on hangers off of one main hanger to get an idea of how the entire outfit will look. I need real hangers to do this.
Keeping these things in mind, hoteliers might consider talking to actual women who travel for work when considering how to outfit their rooms to be of maximum comfort to all travelers, women and men. Heck, even consider putting some women on your payroll to handle this for you. I guarantee it will be worth the investment.