For years large hospitality brands such as Marriott and Hilton have allowed customers to replicate a bit of the luxurious feel of their properties by purchasing the same linens, pillows and toiletries provided in the hotels for use in their homes.
Now Nordic Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel groups in Scandinavia with 200 properties, is enhancing that concept with a pilot project dubbed “Hotellkänslan,” or “Hotel Feeling” in English.
Since October, Nordic Choice has invited a small set of members of its Nordic Choice Club loyalty program that live near the Clarion Hotel Amaranten in Stockholm to have housekeeping services in their homes with duvets, sheets, pillows, towels and luxury bathroom products provided by the hotel.You haven’t signed up for our daily bulletin?!
“We have been thinking what would be the next step for our industry and what can we do with our guests especially around loyalty,” says Christian Lundén, director of future business at Nordic Choice Hotels.
“We realized we are spending quite a lot of time focusing on the guest nights – loyalty in our program is built on how many nights you spend with us. But that’s a very short time of a guest’s everyday year that we are actually in contact with them.
“If our most frequent guests are visiting us maybe 60 days a year – that’s a great frequent guest – what happens with the other 305 days? How can we become a bigger part of our guest’s life in their own town and not just when they are traveling?”
During the pilot, Nordic Choice has partnered with a local housekeeping startup, L2Go, which is providing an app that loyalty members use to schedule their cleanings and the staff to do the in-home work.
Along with the cleaning and products, subscribers earn loyalty points and receive two vouchers for free breakfast at the hotel and discounts for meals in its restaurant.
As the “Hotel Feeling” project develops – Lunden says it has been very well-received and he’s confident it will continue beyond the pilot – the idea is to add additional benefits.
“We are already in their homes so what else could we bring to our members when we are there? What about the hotel restaurant making lunch packages that we can bring and put in the fridge and they can have for work the coming week,” Lunden says.How can we become a bigger part of our guest’s life in their own town and not just when they are traveling?Christian Lundén – Nordic Choice HotelsShare this quote
“And then we can have partnerships. If you want to have flowers, we can bring flowers in the apartment. If you like to have every month new socks in the drawer, we can have a partnership with a clothes company to bring things like that into your home. If you are going to have a nice dinner on Friday, we can go there and prepare that for you.”
And along with bringing perks into the home, Lunden envisions adding benefits to entice guests to visit their local Nordic Choice property, such as discounts for the spa and use of the fitness facility and business center.
“It’s like they don’t see the hotel when they are home – they see it as something they travel to. But if I am a member in Nordic Choice Club, why shouldn’t I get benefits with my membership when I’m home?” he says.
Lunden says the long-term plan is still in development, but he expects it will expand to other Nordic Choice properties throughout Scandinavia and that eventually the hotels will use their own staff to do the cleaning, since that can fill gaps when the properties are not fully booked and can ensure the services are identical to what is provided in the hotel.
There are also multiple sustainability benefits, says Lunden, for example if the hotel can provide a single delivery of services that would otherwise be done by multiple vendors it will help to reduce emissions. And allowing customers to order home delivery of food from the hotel’s restaurants can cut down on food waste.
During the pilot, the cost has been around $60 per visit for the basic at-home cleaning and $90 for an enhanced service with more luxurious products. The long-term plan for pricing is still being developed.
“We would not like to be the cheapest one – we don’t want to compete with low margin cleaning services that do nothing else – but we don’t want to be a luxury, not available for the masses either,” he says.
Nordic Choice Hotels has about two million members in its loyalty program. The pilot program has been used by about two dozen members who live near the Clarion Hotel Amaranten, but the company has a waiting list of people from throughout Scandinavia that are interested in participating once it expands.