For Better or Worse, Guests Judge a Hotel by its Cover

With the arrival of summer, hotel managers again can focus on what’s known in the industry as “curb appeal:” the first impression guests make when they approach a hotel. A positive first opinion, coupled with welcoming service and a comfortable room, bodes well for a successful stay overall.

The challenge here is greater for older hotels. Buildings that appear out of style or suffer from worn exteriors aren’t likely to appeal to travelers of any age. This is especially true for millennials, with their preference for all things contemporary and stylish. Granted, little can be done about a building cursed by the forgettable architecture of the 50s or 60s.

M&R Hospitality Management is fortunate to operate hotels that either are new or of very recent vintage. “New” usually is good when it comes to aesthetics. But the curb appeal of even the newest hotel can benefit from enhanced landscaping, improved lighting and the addition of outdoor furniture, as space and place permit.

Travelers who research hotels and book stays online can be expected to scrutinize posted images, underscoring the importance of quality photography. It’s just as important for hotels to put their best photographic foot forward as it is for any other online retailer. Who is going to buy a shirt or hotel room online if it’s not available for visual inspection?

True road warriors – the ones who actually drive cars and work outside of the office – typically will seek a room in whatever community they reach at the end of the day. If they see two competing brands – both at the same price point – the appearance of the exterior definitely will play a role in deciding where they will stay for the night.

We continuously evaluate the exterior and interior appearance of our hotels and respond to guest comments on TripAdvisor regarding the perceived quality of our hotels, based on appearance. As a result of those efforts, three hotels operated by M&R Hotel Management currently are upgrading their curb appeal.

The Holiday Inn Express New York JFK Airport Area just finished expanding the porte cochere in front of the main entrance. General Manager Brent Hnatow said the protective outdoor roof gives the hotel more of a “sense of place.” It also serves a function, providing a shelter for guests waiting for the complimentary airport shuttle.

The Days Inn Jamaica-JFK Airport recently installed new outdoor furniture, creating what General Manager Faiza Nadeem describes as “an outdoor room.” Hotel guests already are enjoying this outdoor refuge, even though temperatures have been distinctly more spring-like than summer-like.

The Comfort Inn Midtown West on West 48th Street in Manhattan recently added more flowering plants. General Manager Juan Soto says the investment will be well spent. “Guests tell us that when they come back to the hotel, it’s like a touch of home in the middle of the city,” he said.

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