Hotels once again try to imitate inns but can’t come close

There they go again! Hotels are once again turning to inns and B&Bs for best practices in personalized service. According to an article in Forbes, a number of hotel chains are moving away from the traditional front desk check-in approach and moving toward “greeters” armed with i-Pads to sit with guests upon check-in. The premise: a more casual and welcoming approach will set the tone for relaxation right from the beginning at the hotels that are implementing this new approach.  Heck, all they would have had to do is ask any of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England about how to put guests at ease and in vacation-mode right from the front door!

It’s an approach DINE inns have been using for years. Enter any of the DINE inns and immediately that sense of “ahhhhhh, I’m on vacation” takes over. Distinctive Inns of New England  innkeepers tell how they can see the stress visually fade from their guests’ face the minute they step in the door.  Add the signature hug, hearty handshake and the big smiles both innkeepers and returning guests have when they come back, and that’s simply something you won’t find at a hotel.

Donn greets guests at Rabbit Hill Inn

Donn, the Assistant Innkeeper at Rabbit Hill Inn, visits with guests.

While front desk personnel come and go, and don’t remember the name of the returning guest, DINE innkeepers are a consistent welcome committee for their guests. And some hotels are taking the service trick to the next extreme, employing the use of robot butlers. Yes, Starwood just unveiled robot butlers and concierge at its Aloft hotel in Silicon Valley. We simply can’t imagine the kind of warm and fuzzy service guests really seek delivered by R2-D2’s clone. Let’s face it, the robot hug simply doesn’t cut it! Let’s take it the next step. Would a hotel front desk person or even more importantly a member of management loan his cufflinks, console a mourning widow for hours, or let a guest borrow his or her car? If you recall, we talked about all the ways DINE innkeepers go the extra mile in our blog entry about Tea & Sympathy.

Bottom line: Hotels can continue to turn to inns and B&Bs for their inspiration. After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery. We at Distinctive Inns of New England are confident in our ability to offer supreme service, unparalleled by any hotel chain – front desk or not. While we’ll concede that hotels offer fine accommodations, we know that they will never be able to compete on the same level as inns and B&Bs for service. There’s a sign that hangs at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina that says “Arrive as Strangers, Leave as Friends”.

While your hotel may be able to encourage you to be loyal, they’ll never be your friend. Looking for friends and management that truly cares? Consider one of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England for your next New England getaway, holiday or vacation.