When you have guests paying a premium to stay at a luxury property, the last thing they want is to be inadvertently charged for are things like late check-outs. According to the CEO of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, these types of nickel-and-diming strategies will “leave a bad taste” and do not work with this “luxury anti-brand.”
By taking this approach, brands are able to create travel experiences that feel like being at home. In other words, these kinds of properties appeal to affluent people who don’t want the burden of owning a second home.
The challenge is that with these types of guests, there is additional opportunity for high-maintenance guests to be more demanding.
In a related example, Uber launched its low-cost alternative, Uber X, which are non-luxury licensed for-hire-vehicles (FHV). Since Uber users became accustomed to the amenities and services that came with its legacy offering, they become disappointed when they used Uber X – even if the price point is less.
Uber’s main competitor Lyft saw this as an opportunity to create a similar travel experience for its riders – a lower price while still getting people from point A to point B. The outcome was that Lyft’s riders were much less demanding than the Uber users.
While hotel brands may not be setting their guests up for disappointment with this approach, it could cause a world of problems for hotel staff, such as entitled guests can significantly decrease overall employee morale, which could cause service to suffer in the long run.
Of course, it is always a smart business strategy to avoid “nickel and diming” guests. However, there is a fine line where brands like Six Senses could potentially run into the issue of dealing with high-maintenance guests.
The age-old expression that the “customer is always right” will always ring true in the hospitality sector. Luxury anti-brands just need to consider the real costs of this approach.