When it comes to guest satisfaction, nowhere matters more in an establishment than the bathroom.
While anywhere in a guest room is subject to gradual wear and fading, as long as the room appears clean, guests will have at least some degree of tolerance.
But a bathroom exposes them to more intimate issues. It is natural for human beings to feel much more sensitive when their bare skin is exposed, as it inevitably will be with showers, baths and toilets.
And because of the nature of bathrooms, where steam and running water will take their toll on any surface and where the moving parts of taps and faucets will inevitably deteriorate, regular cleaning will only suffice for so long.
Cracked tiles, leaky faucets or any sign of mould will instantly leave guests with an unfavourable impression of inadequate standards – not what any hotel or motel manager will want them to go away with.
Depending on the type of property, clean and well maintained bathrooms might not be enough on their own if they are little more than serviceable. Guests are very likely to have a high standard of fittings in their bathrooms at home and will expect even more touches of luxury when they are paying the rates charged in a good standard of hotel or motel. This means bathrooms can present their management with a chance to impress. Shiny new fittings – perhaps something different guests may not have seen before – can leave a lasting good impression.
Everyone enjoys at least the occasional experience of opulence. Installing good quality bathroom fittings will not only give those who use them that feeling of being pampered, but in spite of what might be an initially higher price tag, prove more cost-effective in the longer term.
Quality amenities, towels and accessories can add more sumptuous touches. Colour can achieve so much. If there is anywhere in a property for a certain amount of guest indulgence, the bathroom is where it is likely to pay off the most.
Accom Management Guide obtained comment from senior executives in two companies which supply products to the New Zealand market – Methven and Nuovo Group.
What quality means
Managing director of Nuovo Group, Russell Poole, says quality can mean different things to different people: “As a business traveller, a refreshing start to the day might be high on the list with a generous walk in shower and a minimalistic space for the obligatory shave and teeth brushing and a good sized mirror to see how sharp I look.
“For a person on holiday it might well be a soak in a generous bath, and space to make myself look glamorous for my night out. Either way, a bathroom fit for purpose and of a good quality is high on the list of achieving the ‘wow’ factor that brings customers back time and time again.”
Mr Poole says guests’ good first impressions of a hotel when first entering the lobby can be quickly overturned if they find their bathroom looks tired and dysfunctional.
“Whether it be climbing over high sided baths to squeeze under a low shower rose, patch repairs to long past their use-by date tiling or chipped, flaky and small vanities with nowhere to put my bathroom essentials, these things make a significant impact on my happiness factor.”
Methven has a long history of elegance, durability and innovation in bathroom products, including a wide array of showers, taps and mixers for the bathroom and kitchen.
A New Zealand success story, the company began in 1886 when George Methven first started as a producer of brass and iron hardware in Dunedin. Since then Methven products have become a household name in New Zealand, and increasingly in other parts of the world.
Some of its better known ranges are Waipori, Maku, Kiri, Koha, Tahi and Aio. While it might have a long history, Methven is always looking at developing something new. Aio tapware, for instance, is crafted with ecobrass, which the company calls a “revolutionary” high quality, high strength material.
“At Methven we like to make things better, so we spend a great deal of time and effort on research and development to improve on conventional hardware solutions,” said Consumer & Trade marketing manager, Marek Koliandr.
Nuovo Group’s Russell Poole says: “In any project, my first step is to define my customers’ key requirements and then to design to them. If you have a mix of business and holiday guests, perhaps look to have an appropriate number of bathrooms suited to the business traveller and others to the holiday maker,” he said.
“Equally as important is the ongoing cleaning and upkeep – ensure the room is designed using products and a layout that make the daily cleaning as efficient as is possible.
“Low/level entry glass framed showers on a vinyl base are an example where both boxes are ticked. Wall hung vanities not only look smart and make the room feel more spacious, they also make cleaning the floor easier.”
“We can assist with advice by knowing the full range of products available. Working with these every day enables us to firstly find the right solution for the room(s) in question. From there, our in-house team of builders and our dedicated team of subcontractors can get to work.
“At the end of the day there’s little value in dressing up the bedroom/lounge if your guests are then going to walk into a dated and scruffy bathroom – in fact the difference in quality only magnifies the poor state of the bathroom,” Mr Poole said.
At Methven, the emphasis on research and development has led to the development of a completely new type of showerhead, the elegant Aurajet, which the company promotes as ‘turning conventional showering on its head’. Methven says the unique halo-shaped showerhead delivers a highly efficient, luxurious showering experience.
“Aurajet uses hidden nozzles which generate individual jets of water that collide against precisely angled surfaces within the contours of the showerhead,” said Marek Koliandr. “At that moment of collision, the water travels across the surface edge and lodges out from the channel, creating stunning fans of water in a wide, even spray, enhanced droplet density, increased overall coverage and maximum warmth. It not only looks amazing but delivers a wonderful, luxurious shower experience.”
Consumer research really was at the heart of Methven’s Aurajet development, from concept through to delivery, he said. “We carried out research in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom to ensure that as Methven went through the development of the product, we delivered a great consumer experience.
“From the outset, our research clearly guided us in terms of what people felt was important when they were selecting a shower for their bathroom, and what their key considerations were when making this important purchase. It also guided us in terms of providing key insight into what people feel makes a good showering experience. This led us to the revelations of what people really want out of their shower time,” said Mr Koliandr.
“It made us at Methven realise just how important the experience is to people and that in many instances, the shower is the only place of sanctuary for them amidst their hectic lives.”