We all love cheap room rates and these days hotels need every cent in order to at least break even in their operations as most international travel has come to a screeching halt.
There is a downside to this discounting and local marketing though and that shows when you visit these properties who have recently started dumping their inventory into local markets for “staycations”.
When you go to these properties as a frequent traveler you immediately notice a deterioration of service level and the overall environment because it appears like all of a sudden a 4*/5* hotel has suddenly turned into Disneyland with people roaming around there who usually never visit such a hotel, let alone a branded one.
Throwing together some package deals where an overnight includes things like Club Room/Suite, Lounge and 10pm Late Check-Out such as this example in Bangkok:
Two full days and nights of living the high life and getting filled up to the brim with alcoholic beverages in the evenings, awesome! Or so you’d think because let’s be honest if you book this package as a local then you’re looking for one thing only and that’s VALUE!
Go to any decent bar in Bangkok and paying 150 -200 Baht for a good mixed drink is absolute standard so if you’re a heavy drinker then you can definitely get your money’s worth. Much more so if you’re already an elite member and book an even cheaper rate for 1999 Baht ++.
I stayed at a couple hotels where it was apparent that the clientele isn’t good for the overall environment and quality of the property, let alone the comfort of other guests. You have people who come to happy hour in their sweaty gym outfits, parents who bring their kids down in pyjamas and adults who don’t understand the concept of waiting in line and using tongs to get something from the dessert buffet.
Sure that all happens at the lounge on any given day but while being out and about at these hotels for the last weeks I felt it has become more extreme. The rates are simply too cheap and so is the clientele.
What’s definitely useful is to offer cheap rates and invite locals to stay at the hotel to the point of the hotel operations being able to break even and keep the rooms fresh through regular turnover. Where it goes too far and starts to become detrimental to the hotel environment is when management opens a door for the system to be taken advantage of and these cheap “lounge inclusive” packages do just that.
Even though this type of rate dumping and cheapo audience will disappear at some point I fear that it has a longer lasting effect on the staff, quality and service level at these properties. More often than not you notice the staff stops caring when they feel they suddenly all they have to provide for are a bunch of local drunk maximizers.
You notice the lack of attention to detail immediately when entering a hotel. It’s very hard to reverse that feeling again even when normality has returned to the hospitality industry. As such I think that properties aren’t doing themselves many favors by dumping their rates too much just for the sake of selling a few rooms more.