Africa Travel Week
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6 ways to create a luxurious difference

It is a well-known fact that it’s the little things that make a big difference – especially when you are in the travel industry.  Jean Carmela Lim shares simple tips that make a lasting impression.

When a client’s experience is comprised of its many key components, it’s possible that it could act as the main factor in creating a world of difference. In luxury travel, these small factors do not need to be elaborate in order to have a grandiose effect.

    Malaysia Airlines’ Satay Sticks (in select Business Class flights) What is it about simple, everyday food, that when taken 30,000 feet above sea level suddenly becomes such an indulgent treat? Ice cream is one of them, and for many business class travellers on Malaysia Airlines, it is the Malaysian flag carrier’s satay sticks offered on select Business Class flights. Satay, which is skewered and grilled meats in various sauces (originated from Indonesia), is very popular in Malaysia and has become Malaysia Airlines’ trademark starter for its business class in-flight meal. They have become quite popular and the airline’s catering service prepares as many as 26,000 sticks a day, along with 200 litres of the thick and decadent peanut sauce that is paired with the satay. (Source: Australian Business Traveller)
    Everybody loves breakfast food, but not everyone would like to have it during breakfast hours. Given the varying times people would like to have their breakfast, it may just be a little bit too restrictive to only allow breakfast consumption in a three to four-hour window. Many hotels have already started this service. The Kayumanis chain of villas and hotels in Bali is one of them. Not only do they offer breakfast all-day for no extra cost, but they also allow guests to have the option to have breakfast in their rooms /villas, again without extra charge. By eliminating the breakfast window hours and room service fee, you can almost ensure a repeat visit from guests.
    This kind of service has been around for many years, but it has been associated more with logistics rather than luxury. Yet something as simple as luggage delegation can provide so much relief and luxury when one travels luggage free. Travellers who go on skiing trips are one such market for this service. It saves them from the usual hassles of checking in sporting equipment at the airport. And as the companies deliver the luggage straight to the hotel or accommodation, all the client needs to do is literally show up. This door-to-door service is also popular with those who go on shopping trips, so luxury hotels that tie up with these companies can have a packing service option available with their concierge.
    Unless your specialised accommodation has a very remote location, most urban hotel guests enjoy the ease of having convenience stores nearby. According to this report, only 30 percent of hotel guests use the minibar, and this is on an impulse basis. Many hotels are now offering free minibar service, and some, like the Andaz London Liverpool Street, have done a semi-free minibar, where chips and soft drinks are on a complimentary refill basis. So instead of getting rid of the minibar, which, as per a survey of 20 000 travellers by Hospitalitynet, ranked as the least important hotel amenity, it’s a good opportunity to turn this into something appealing.
    Welcome drinks and treats have become quite the norm in most hotels and almost all resorts. But some hotels, like The DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles Allamanda Resort and Spa take this a notch higher by offering a complimentary 10-minute head and shoulder welcome massage. This welcome amenity is a great way to hit two hospitality birds in one ‘stroke’: Firstly, it’s a very considerate gesture to guests as with the Seychelles’ location, it is very likely that most guests would have come from far away and have taken long-haul flights to get there. Secondly, it’s an excellent way to promote the resort Spa. 10 minutes is the sweet timeframe spot to sample and entice guests to book a treatment as the complimentary massage is done in the Spa lobby. The guests will have absolutely no reason not to book a treatment.
    The DoubleTree by Hilton’s chocolate chip cookies are probably the world’s most famous. Guests who check-in at any of their 500 (and counting) hotels in 40 countries and territories around the world are given a huge warm piece of chocolate chip cookie. Anyone who’s had a bite of those cookies (especially in winter) will know that they alone can stand as good reason to opt to stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Hilton has never officially released a recipe for the cookies, but there are many food bloggers and recipe developers who have tried hacks and copycat recipes.

 All the above products and services are downright simple. Some are as straightforward as taking out the usual charges and fees (room delivery) and some are also as simple as a household kitchen item (a cookie!), but they make such a huge difference in customer service experience.

Jean Lim

Jean Carmela Lim is the voice behind luxury and adventure travel blog, Holy Smithereens. Since a childhood trip to Hong Kong and her first typewriter, Jean has spent a lifetime pursuing her passion of travel writing. With a background in the airline industry and government travel, Jean now creates travel content full-time on blogs and social media, exploring life's unforgettable moments through luxurious travels both near and far.