The hotel industry is adapting to shifting travel habits

Food and Fun

POSTED: Saturday, February 18, 2012 - 1:50pm

UPDATED: Saturday, February 18, 2012 - 2:04pm

The face of the business traveler has changed dramatically.

It's a lot younger and there's a mad dash in the hotel industry to do more than just "accommodate" them.

The entire industry is going through some pretty dramatic changes.

For one, those bulky housekeeping carts are on the way out.

They're being replaced by smaller, more nimble caddies carried directly into the room.

"The guests never see a room being cleaned, with the door propped open with a bag or a cart in the hallway," says Robert Morgan, Senior Manager or Renaissance Charlotte Suites.

So the days of raiding the carts are ending, as are those small bottles of toiletries.

They're being replaced by refillable dispensers.

They're just a few of the changes the hotel industry is making to be more appealing to the younger business traveler.

"They want to socialize, so all these hotels are changing the design of the lobby where now, it's very warm, where you have couches where you can plug in your iPad," notes Adam Weissenberg of Deloitte & Touche.

Weissenberg says research the firm commissioned shows over a third of the business travelers these days are between 18 and 44, an age group that doesn't like sitting in hotel rooms.

"We're really trying to provide that space for them to work so that they don't have to stay in their room," says Kris Horacek, general manager at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites.

Many of the the changes are already in place there, most notably in the lobby.

"We have a place to plug in everywhere, every table has a plug-in. In this courtyard we have plug-ins, so it really is about staying connected," she says.

They've also changed the staff.

"We don't have maids. we have stylists. They style the room and they do personal styling of the rooms for all our customers," Horacek explains.

In addition to the disappearing housekeeping carts, something else hotels are doing away with is bathtubs.

Weissenberg says nobody takes baths anymore...they're all about getting in and out of a quick shower.

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