Following a record $5.0 billion invested in the U.S. lodging industry in 2006, the industry is expected to invest approximately $5.5 billion in 2007, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' latest forecast. A large portion of this spending will cover amenities that speak to guests' changing needs and priorities.
"Although the maintenance and general condition of U.S. hotels is the best it has ever been, the industry continues to make improvements and offer further enhancements," says Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D. and principal, PricewaterhouseCoopers' Hospitality & Leisure practice.
The 2007 increase reflects continued spending on a variety of items, including: Further in-room technology enhancements including MP3 compatible sound systems and television systems; Continued installation of flat screen televisions, high-speed wireless Internet, self check-in and check-out kiosks and computers and printers in business centers; Continued upgrades of complimentary breakfasts and evening "receptions" (to serve hot food and more diverse menu offerings); Continued installation of lodging-branded bedding and other proprietary furniture, fixtures and equipment; and, Design enhancements, especially to appeal to "Gen Xers" and "Millennials" including: Gathering settings and places; branded equipment, amenities and products; Informal, "fun food", "grazing" and extended hours of operations for food and beverage operations and selections; and hot spots for Internet connections.
Other enhancements that continue to be installed and upgraded include: irons, ironing boards and equipment for complimentary breakfasts at limited service hotels; delivery of faxes to guest rooms; triple draping window treatments; easy-to-use clock radios; new concepts for restaurants, bars and entertainment lounges; in-room exercise equipment (treadmills, exercise bikes, stair climbers); redecorating of lobbies; kiosks and in-room check-out options; quality sound systems (radios and CD players); enhanced quality bathroom finishes and cordless telephones.