Tourism Training: Accommodation Services

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Lee Perlitz Training Consultancy

Tourism Training Resource – Accommodation Services

Accommodation is a basic requirement in anyone’s travel arrangements. No matter where they are going, they will need accommodation of some sort.

The type of accommodation you arrange for them will depend on why they need it—will it be merely a place to stay or will the accommodation form part of the holiday destination in itself (for example, with a holiday resort).

Accommodation is a very broad term which can be broken down into rough categories as follows:

  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Camping
  • Home stays
  • Budget

These categories themselves can be further divided into a number of different property types, each of which has something particular to offer the traveller. Let’s take a closer look at each of l the above categories and their sub—categories.

Hotels

Hotels fall into a variety of classifications

  • Boutique Hotels
  • Five Star Hotels
  • Resort Hotels
  • Chains
  • Apartments
  • Tourist Hotels
  • Landmark Hotels

BOUTIQUE HOTELS

These hotels do not, generally, belong to a chain or group of any kind. They do sometimes form a consortium of properties and appoint booking agents such as Small Luxury Hotels of the World or The Leading Hotels of the World to represent them.

They often have a uniqueness about them and a special quality that makes them stand out from the crowd. Boutique hotels will almost always have a certain feel to them from ‘olde’ English manor house complete with suits of armour, wood panelled rooms and dungeons to cottage—style accommodation. They will also vary in size from small properties offering 10-15 rooms to much larger establishments offering both rooms and suites.

Like their ‘chain’ cousins, they often also have available a number of services to the traveler; such as:

  • Room service
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Gymnasium and swimming facilities
  • Lobby shops

These properties make a wonderful alternative to the glass and steel of most modern hotels and make the holiday for your customers just that much more special. Prices will vary depending on the location and grandeur of the property, but are often not as expensive as you might think.

As mentioned earlier, boutique hotels usually appoint booking agents such as Small Luxury Hotels and The Leading Hotels of the World to represent them. It is through these booking agents that you can make reservations and pre—payments at the various properties. Brochures and booklets are available through the agents, giving details of each hotel, including location, prices, services and facilities etc.

Useful websites

Small Luxury Hotels 

Leading Hotels of the World

FIVE-STAR HOTELS

A five-star hotel is at the top end of the accommodation market. It is a luxury hotel that offers only the best of everything to its guests. Five»star hotels will usually be located in prime locations, such as the best shopping streets, opposite the best parks, in the best part of town etc. They also offer a range of different rooms starting with single, double and twin rooms and then move from standard rooms to executive suites. The prices at a five-star hotel are quite high, but then so is the quality.

RESORT HOTELS

Resort hotels are normally of a very high standard—often five-star—and are for the most part situated either in the outer areas of a city or in a completely remote area. They could be located along a coastline with sparkling beaches just metres away, or in lush forest/bush areas. Proximity to a city is not particularly important as most resorts are fully self-contained and are ‘the holiday destination’ in themselves, offering all conveniences to their guests. They will often have several swimming areas in fabulously landscaped surroundings and a variety of:

  • Shops
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Dance clubs
  • Kids clubs
  • Sporting and recreational facilities including:
    • Tennis
    • Golf
    • Horse-riding
    • Water sports etc,

C H A I N S

These hotels are generally found all over the world and can be located from city centres to airport

areas. Some of the major hotel chains today are:

  • Sheraton Hotels 8c Resorts
  • Marriott International Inc
  • Ramada Hotels
  • Park Royal Hotels
  • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
  • Holiday Inn Hotels Sc Resorts
  • Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts
  • Mercure Hotels
  • Novotel Hotels
  • Radisson Hotels
  • Renaissance Hotels International
  • Westin Hotels & Resorts

As with most hotels, they often offer a range of services including:

  • A variety of restaurants and bars
  • Swimming pool, sauna, spa, gymnasium etc.
  • Boardrooms, meeting rooms and convention facilities
  • Access to office equipment and secretarial services
  • 24-hour service desk
  • Room service
  • Laundry, dry cleaning and valet services
  • Sightseeing/tours booking services
  • Small lobby shop(s)

Quite a few of these hotel chains are part of the airline frequent flyer clubs and staying at these properties can earn you points towards free travel etc. Many of the chains also operate their own loyalty clubs. For example, staying at a Sheraton Hotel wherever you go will earn you points towards free room upgrades, extra nights, meals and other things.

A P A R T M E N T S

Apartments are a handy form of accommodation, particularly if your customer is travelling on holidays with the family. They give the traveller total independence. They are usually fully self- contained, offering one or two bedrooms, living room, bathroom, kitchen and laundry facilities.

Apartments are offered as:

  • Self-catering—look after your own cleaning etc.,
  • Serviced—a maid will clean up and change linen etc.

Apartments can be found in many of the world’s major cities now and can be rated one through to five.

T O U R I S T

Tourist Hotels fall into a number of categories—these are referred to as ‘star’ ratings. One to five stars are awarded to a hotel, depending on the type of facilities it offers, the quality of the rooms and appointments, its location, the services it offers, the quality of its food and so on. We discuss the star rating system later in this chapter.

Tourist class hotels normally have between one and three stars and while, as is to be expected, they are not a luxury hotel, they are clean, offer a good range of facilities and are, above all, affordable to the average person. They will generally offer a number of different room types, from single rooms to triple or even family rooms, designed to accommodate adults and children.

LANDMARK HOTELS

There are certain hotels around the world whose names conjure up images of luxury, style, elegance and history. Hotels that the discerning traveler will stay at when only the best will do!

As a travel professional you may not book customers into these hotels on a regular basis but you should certainly be aware of them and what they have to offer. There are quite a few of these hotels available around the world—too many to list in detail here. So we will give you an overview of some of the best.

The Ritz (London)

The Ritz Hotel first opened in 1906 and was described by its founder, Cesar Ritz, as ‘a small house to which I am proud to see my name attached’.

It is a privately owned hotel with 131 rooms and suites and decorated in the opulent manner of Louis XVI of France. Its dining room has been described as one of the most beautiful

dining rooms in Europe. The famous Palm Court in the centre of the hotel is a must for High Tea in the afternoon—but you must book well in advance to take part in this most civilised of traditions! The Ritz Hotel is located on Piccadilly, overlooking Green Park and is easily accessible from both Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

The Dorchester (London)

The Dorchester has became a  home away  from home for many of the world’s heads of state, celebrities and industry leaders. The highest level of personalised service is offered with three staff members per   guest room. This hotel is one of the most sought after  addresses in London. The Dorchester has 195 rooms, recreational facilities and much more. lt is located on Park  Lane, London.

The Savoy (London)  

The Savoy Hotel has wonderful views over the Thames  River and is located on The Strand which is in the heart of World London’s theatre district. It is also the nearest deluxe hotel to the city’s financial centre. The hotel has been recently restored and now combines respect for its past with advanced technology and high levels of comfort.

The Pierre (New York)

The Pierre Hotel is located on Fifth Avenue, New York and has been a fabled landmark of the city for over 65 years. It has recently been completely restored and is recognised by its international clientele as being in the perfect location—directly on the prestigious Fifth Avenue and overlooking Central Park. For those customers who want quiet, unobtrusive service, the Pierre offers the utmost in service and refinement.

Raffles (Singapore)

The legendary Raffles Hotel was established in 1887. Raffles is one of the few remaining ‘grand’ hotels in Asia. It is a name that captivates the imagination of travelers the world over and has inspired writers such as Coward and Conrad. Painstakingly restored to its former glory, guests can now relive the splendour of a bygone era.

The Peninsula (Hong Kong)

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong is one of the world S legendary grand hotels. It is conveniently located in the heart of Kowloon on the corner of Salisbury and Nathan Roads. It is consistently ranked as one of the  world’s top hotels and has also recently been completely renovated and refurbished. The Peninsula offers  excellent facilities and spectacular views. It has 246 rooms and suites and features Rolls-Royce and   helicopter transfer services.

The Oriental (Bangkok)

Over 100 years old, the Oriental in Bangkok has been consistently rated as one of the great hotels of the world. All of its 362 large and luxurious rooms have river views. The Authors’ Lounge is steeped in historic memories of the famous writers who once congregated there. Located on Oriental Avenue, it is set by the river and surrounded by terraces, gardens and pools and is close to the best shopping areas.

Motels

Motels are a relatively recent development in the accommodation industry. They were designed to provide easily accessible accommodation to the business traveler and tourist travelling by car. They are generally operated as an independent business but many belong to major franchise groups such as:

 

Australia: Overseas:  
·       Flag Inns ·       Howard Johnson’s (USA) ·       Knight Inns (USA)
·       Best Western ·       Super 8 (USA) ·       Day Inns (USA)
·       Country Comfort ·       Parkside Motor Inns (USA) ·       Minotels (Europe)

Flag Inns is the largest accommodation group in the Southern Hemisphere, with a listing of almost 500 properties. They provide a large range of accommodation in all areas of Australia. The properties are independently owned and operated and each retains its own distinctive character. Flag properties offer quality and service, each property being thoroughly inspected before it is admitted into the Flag group.

Many of these chains have a central reservations area-—one call to them will allow you to make reservations at any of their properties world wide. They also print excellent directories, listing each of their properties and giving details on location, facilities, room rates etc. and are available to anyone for the asking.

Motels are usually found on, or near, major highways. They also provide a range to suit all budgets from tourist to deluxe. Facilities available in most motels include breakfast service, either delivered to the room or in the dining room (if they have a dining room), restaurant, car parking, pool and, sometimes, recreational rooms.

Camping

Camping also gives us a number of options, although most of these will be found in local area camping grounds:

  • Cabins—these are usually fixed but can also be of the mobile variety
  • Caravans—can be onsite or your own
  • Tents—can be onsite or your own
  • RVs-recreational vehicles

Camping grounds are found all over the world, interestingly enough in some of the most beautiful countryside next to beaches, in mountain areas, forests and around and in cities. The facilities they offer include:

  • Communal shower/toilet facilities
  • Communal kitchen/laundry
  • General shop
  • Electricity and gas outlets

Home Stays

Home stays incorporate a number of different accommodation types.

  • Guesthouses can vary in size from small privately owned and operated establishments with a small number of rooms to larger establishments with 20 or more rooms, They offer a variety of standards and facilities such as full board, shared facilities etc., depending on the standard.
  • Bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) offer exactly that, a bed for the night and breakfast. B&B establishments are more often than not private homes and may or may not offer private facilities. B8cBs have become very popular in the last few years, as they make travelling around the country on holidays a much more personal experience.
  • Farm/ranch/station stays also offer private accommodation to the tourist and will often as part of the ‘deal’ include participation in the daily farm activities.

Budget

ln addition to the many budget hotels and motels available, accommodation for the seriously budget-minded can take the following forms:

  • Backpacker hotels
  • Hostels
  • Youth Hostel Association (YHA) establishments
  • YMCA/YWCA

These offer a range of facilities at extremely reasonable rates. However, it is a good idea to check with the individual properties as to what is included. In some instances you may need to provide your own linen etc.

Room Types

As shown in Activity 1.1 there are many different types of customers——each with their own special needs. In order to accommodate these needs, hotels offer a range of room types, including:

  • Single room – For one person the room contains one single bed.
  • Twin room – Two people in the room with two separate beds.
  • Double room – For two people the room has one double bed.
  • Triple room – For three adults the room usually contains one double bed plus one
  • single bed.
  • Family room – Two adults and two or more children—these rooms usually have one double bed and two sin le beds. If needed a ‘rollaway ’ bed can also be supplied.
  • Bungalow-These will normally be found in resort hotels and are individual small buildings which are separate from the hotel. They might also be called cabins or studios.
  • Suite – Several rooms that essentially form an apartment.  lt is fully self-contained and is usually more luxurious than a normal hotel room.
  • Interconnecting rooms – Two rooms, next to each other, with an internal connecting door.
  • Adjacent rooms – Two rooms next to each other, but not having an internal connecting door

Meal Plans

Meals are not normally included in the ‘rack rate ’quoted by the hotel unless otherwise stated. Once again customers’ various requirements and expectations need to be taken into consideration, so hotels do offer a variety of meal plans;

  • Room only—no meals are included
  • Bed and breakfast—breakfast will be included but can vary between a Continental breakfast (fruit juice, toast or roll and tea/coffee), an American breakfast (full buffet breakfast with juice, fruit, cereal, hot food, toast or roll and tea/coffee) or an English breakfast (similar to an American breakfast)
  • American Plan–accommodation and three meals a day (sometimes also includes morning and afternoon teas)
  • Modified American Plan—accommodation and two meals a day (breakfast and one other)

Room Tariffs

Room tariff (or rate) is the amount that will be charged for the room. Rates can be applied in a couple of different ways:

  • Price per room: this is the cost of the room per night regardless of how many people are staying in it
  • Price per person (or twin share): this is the price that each person staying in the room must pay

The full price that a hotel charges for its rooms is also known as a rack rate and will vary greatly depending on the standard of the property and several other factors including:

  • Services offered by the property
  • The location of the property—central locations will incur a higher charge than ones outside the main areas
  • Type and location of room. The larger the room, the higher situated and the better the view—the more it will cost
  • Facilities provided by the property including sport and recreation etc.
  • Inclusions in the tariff (i.e. meals, late check out etc.)

The rack rate is the basis on which all discounted rates are calculated. Once again there are several factors to consider in the variations on these rates.

  • Seasonality—summertime is usually high season and therefore costs more
  • Wholesalers—often negotiate special discount rates for customers buying one of their package products
  • Group rates—apply when larger numbers of people are involved
  • Corporate rates-for large businesses

ln most instances, accommodation booked directly with the hotel at rack rates will be a per room price. Most holiday packages, however, booked through a wholesaler or airline will usually be a

twin share or per person cost. Rates for children will vary from property to property and it is important to check before quoting prices.

Classifications

Hotels are generally classified depending on the standards they offer. This refers to the standards of

  • Service
  • Facilities
  • Ambience
  • Location etc.

Classification can be given in two ways:

  1. Name classification (i.e. deluxe for top of the line, first class, tourist, budget for the more cost- conscious etc.)
  2. Stars:
  • five star—deluxe accommodation of an international standard
  • four star—first class accommodation
  • three star—tourist class accommodation
  • two star—budget accommodation
  • one star—very basic but clean

These ratings will apply to hotels, motels, resorts etc. It is important, however, to differentiate between the type of property being considered for your customers—a five-star motel will not have the same facilities and qualities as a five-star hotel.

Booking Agents

There are many thousands of hotels, motels and resorts available for your customers to stay in around the world. It is literally impossible for all of these properties to have offices or staff in each major city in every country. In order to maximise their worldwide sales, most properties are represented by a booking agent who may indeed be an agent for hundreds of properties.

Some of these are:

These agents will generally have at least one office in each country and can be contacted to make reservations in any of the properties they represent world wide.

Utell International, for example, represents over 7000 hotels world wide and offers a choice of more than 1.25 million rooms in more than 1 80 countries. The Utell International portfolio includes small independently owned hotels, regional and international chains, tourist class properties, and many of the world’s most luxurious addresses.

International Accommodation

As mentioned earlier, many of the larger hotel chains have hotels all over the world. It is possible (through their Australian reservation centres) to make reservations for any of their properties. In most instances, however, these will be at rack rates. Another option available to customers travelling overseas is to take advantage of the many offers available through international airlines and wholesalers who negotiate excellent rates with some of the world’s largest and best hotels.

These rates are available to customers who pre-book and purchase their accommodation before leaving Australia. Conditions will sometimes apply to these offers including;

  • Must travel with a certain airline
  • Must travel with a certain tour company
  • Travel must be at a given time of year etc.

In addition to the major hotel chains, there are also a number of major motel chains overseas that offer excellent value for money. One of these is Howard Johnson International—founded by entrepreneur Howard Dearing Johnson as an ice—cream stand within an apothecary shop in 1925 in Quincy, MA. The first Howard Johnson hotel opened in 1954 in Savannah, GA. The hotel chain was later acquired by Cendant Corporation in 1990. Howard Johnson offers mid—price lodging facilities under two tiers: hotels and inns.

Accommodation Passes

Accommodation passes are ideal for the independent traveler, the traveler who wishes to be unfettered by date and time restrictions and who is free to move at leisure and yet still have the advantage of package price.

The customer purchases a certain number of ‘room nights’ prior to leaving home. They receive a booklet of pre-paid accommodation vouchers and a list of participating properties in that country or area. It is then up to the individual customers to structure their holidays as they please—no deadlines, no set itinerary—complete freedom to move around as they please.  Although reservations do not have to be made in advance for all hotels they will be staying at, it is usually a good idea (particularly in the summer) to book ahead one or two nights.

Accommodation passes are available in most areas of the world.

Activity

  1. A family of four; mum, dad and two children (6 and 10). are travelling to Queensland for a seven-day They go on holidays every two years and, while they are not wealthy, they have saved hard for this holiday and therefore do not have to penny pinch. They do not necessarily want to do the usual ‘tourist things, but would rather lay back in relaxing surroundings and enjoy being spoiled. Having said that, they would like to do some browsing in shops etc. and need to make sure that the children    will not get bored. What type of accommodation would you suggest for them?
  2. Joe and Ellen Brandt have just got married and they are off on their honeymoon. They are a well-offprofessional couple who are widely travelled and have high expectations. They will need two nights accommodation before they leave on an overseas trip. What type of accommodation would you recommend?
  3. Jack and Melanie have just arrived from the U.K. They plan to hire a car and travel along the Eastern Seaboard of Australia. They have one month to spend and want to get a “feel for the country”. What type of accommodation would you suggest?

 

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