For many hotels, five-star hotel status is elusive. The first and most obvious reason is that various awarding bodies have different standards of excellence. According to the Forbes Travel Guide (formerly known as the Mobil Travel Guide), which has been awarding hotels their stars since 1958, five-star hotels “are outstanding, often iconic properties with virtually flawless service and amazing facilities.”
Meanwhile, the website for the AAA, which awards diamond ratings to hotels, had this to say:
“[Five diamond] establishments reflect the characteristics of the ultimate in luxury and sophistication. Accommodations are first class. The physical attributes are extraordinary in every manner. The fundamental hallmarks at this level are to meticulously serve and exceed all guest expectations while maintaining an impeccable standard of excellence. Many personalized services and amenities enhance an unmatched level of comfort.”
These requirements are a little vague — after all, what constitutes flawless service and amazing facilities? — but to further add to the confusion, many hotels in many countries are awarded their star status by their respective governments or the various OTAs that distribute them. Clearly, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to attain five-star hotel status, but we’ve come up with a few ideas that may help you get there.
Flawless guest care
Service is the most important factor in achieving five-star hotel status, according to the Forbes Travel Guide team. It isn’t enough to merely greet the guest with a pleasant smile. Your front-line team members must treat each guest as if they are personally invested in the guest’s experience. More than that, five-star hotel status is about anticipating what your guests want, and when they’ll want it, and responding to your guests in a timely manner when they approach you with a request.
The Broadmoor Hotel and Resort in Colorado Springs is renowned for its unparalleled service, so much so that it has achieved five-star hotel status from Forbes Travel Guide for a record-breaking 56 consecutive years. Needless to say, its employees know a thing or two about how to create an exceptional guest experience. The resort’s tips for five-star hotel status include:
- Offering continuous training for front-line staff;
- Hiring genuinely friendly people who can be trained in hotel processes; and
- Not allowing a single guest interaction to slip between the cracks.
Service in every area of the hotel must be prompt and courteous. According to the L.A. Times, five-star service means “arriving guests are greeted and assisted curbside within 60 seconds of arriving” and “refills at restaurants are offered within 30 seconds of the guest’s beverage being empty.”
Clearly, speed of service is as crucial as the manner in which it’s delivered. It isn’t easy to provide speedy service when managing hundreds of guests, but there are tools out there that can make it easier. Such tools can also track the average length of time it takes for front-line staff to respond to guest requests and deliver data that can help managers continually enhance service.
The best amenities
Your hotel’s amenities should provide guests with the most comfort they’ll experience anywhere. Availability of amenities will vary from one location to the next, of course, but there are a few things that guests expect to receive when they stay at a luxury property. These include:
- Valet parking and luggage services;
- A dedicated concierge that attends to guest questions and requests;
- Around the clock reception and room service so that guests may check in and order meals at any time, day or night;
- A top-tier health club and luxury spa; and
- At least one gourmet restaurant on site that caters to guests for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It can be a challenge for hotels to keep up with the breakneck pace of technological innovation, but to reach five-star hotel status you have to be dedicated to giving guests the latest tech on the market. Technology is everywhere these days, and luxury guests will expect to have the same conveniences at a hotel that they would at home, if not better.
Uninterrupted, high-speed Wi-Fi is just the tip of the iceberg here. Hotels aspiring to five-star hotel status have to think bigger — as in keyless room entry and automated lighting bigger. And how about, as noted in Forbes, glass in guestroom shower stalls that change from clear to frosted with the touch of a button? Or maybe mirrors that have televisions in them, so guests can watch the news while they brush their teeth or soak in the bath?
High-quality toiletries and guestroom items
The products you use to stock your guestrooms will convey if you have five-star hotel status. From the snacks in the minibar to the complimentary coffees and teas, to the shampoos and body gels you put in the bathroom, you’ll need to supply your guests with the best good around if you want to be five-star hotel status.
Let your guests pamper themselves in luxury with products such as Hermès and Oscar de la Renta. Some of the more unique minibar items the Forbes Travel Guide team has come across include gourmet popcorn, local liquors and beers, and even a tank of oxygen for high-altitude rooms. This is the perfect opportunity for hotels to bring a touch of local to their properties, as well.
Do you have a five-star hotel status? How did you get your five-star hotel status? Let us know in the comments, or on social media: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.