10 Innovative Ideas to Transform Your Hotel Guest Experience

Bad guest experiences can quickly spiral out of control, resulting in one-star reviews, costing you customers, and damaging your brand.

But you can deliver on guest expectations and convert guests into loyal customers by surprising and delighting them, and personalizing your service.

Automating the check-in process, offering contactless access, and providing smart in-room entertainment are some of the ways you can leverage technology to create memorable stays. And you can go even further, with innovative hotel ideas that don’t only impress guests, but also create new avenues of revenue generation.

We look at 10 ways you can create better guest and hotelier experiences:

  1. Turn your front desk into a bar
  2. Share digital guides
  3. Use in-app messaging
  4. Personalize your service
  5. Automate temperature control
  6. Implement noise monitoring
  7. Host evenings on your rooftop
  8. Create themed suites
  9. Offer virtual reality tours
  10. Go green

Innovative ideas can win you 5-star reviews and loyal guests. Leverage the latest tech solutions to make better guest and hotelier experiences possible.

7 ways to differentiate your hotel from the competition

Memorable guest experiences create brand loyalty. Whether your guests are on a family vacation or a business trip, they'll be impressed with innovations that give them real value and make them feel special. Here are seven ideas to get you started:

1. Turn your front desk into a bar

The Annex turned their front desk into this wine bar.

As soon as your guests walk into the lobby, the front desk is usually the first interaction they'll have with your hotel staff. And if there are long queues or wait times, it can set a sour tone for the rest of their stay. There's nothing worse than waiting in line to check into your hotel room.

With a hospitality web app like Operto Guest you can offer self check-in, which evaporates wait times and gives your guests the freedom to take control over their arrival. 

It also means you can creatively repurpose your front desk.

So instead of guests arriving to a stressful front desk experience, they could sit down and enjoy a complimentary cocktail. This is what The Annex in Toronto did after partnering with Operto in 2018.

And by turning that space into a wine bar, The Annex was able to create a brand-new stream of revenue, and powerfully differentiate their brand from local competitors.

2. Share digital guidebooks with your guests when they book

Guests love to use digital guidebooks that offer insights into their stay and practical information.

You can share digital guidebooks with guests to provide them with a wealth of information even before their stay begins. Interactive guides can be used to show off your hotel’s amenities, local attractions, and even special events. 

Digital guidebooks are fantastic for getting people excited about their stay, and also give you the chance to share practical information—for example on directions, local transport links, and WiFi passwords—that save your staff from fielding dozens of questions and hours of work over the course of a week.

With a digital guidebook, you can:

  • Strengthen your brand

  • Help guests get more out of your hotel and the local area

  • Promote seasonal services and activities

  • Cut out dozens of calls each day about WiFi passwords

Innovative ideas can win you 5-star reviews and loyal guests. Leverage the latest tech solutions to make better guest and hotelier experiences possible.

3. Use in-app messaging

In-app messaging for your guests makes communication efficient and trackable. With a branded app or web app, you can provide guests with a digital concierge service, make pre-arrival upsells by offering upgrades or in-house services like massage and in-room meal service, or suggest special offers with local partners.

There are immediate improvements to your responsiveness and operational efficiencies with a dedicated tool for guest messaging, but in-app messaging is also fantastic for your branding as you align your hotel with guest expectations on immediacy and convenience.

4. Know your guest’s favorite drink

Tailoring the guest experience to each individual makes your guests feel special and valued. Personalized experiences stay with guests long after they check out, and can turn first-time guests into loyal customers and brand champions.

So also use your guest messaging not just as a tool for booking confirmation and promotions, but to ask questions about your guests so you can learn key information that you can later feed back into your service.

With a short pre-stay survey, you can find out your guest’s favorite drink, their ideal room temperature, and the reason for their stay—then on arrival, surprise them with a complimentary refreshment and perfectly prepared room, and offer upsells catered to their specific needs, whether that’s equipment hire, tours, or use of a conference center.

5. Automate temperature control

You can save energy while also improving your guests’ in-room comfort by integrating your IoT solutions with your PMS. For example, Operto automatically cools or warms rooms before the time of a guest’s check-in. And after a guest checks out, we automatically switch to energy-saving modes so you can remain efficient with your energy use.

6. Implement noise monitoring

In-room noise monitoring gives you oversight over all your units, enabling you to track noise levels by room in real-time. You can also set noise thresholds for each room so that you receive automated alerts if levels exceed those thresholds during quiet hours. This way, you can take action immediately to resolve any issues as they arise.

You can adjust thresholds and track noise levels within the all-in-one Operto dashboard.

7. Use your rooftop for grill-ups and cocktails

Where areas of your hotel aren’t being fully utilized, is there a potential for an additional stream of revenue?

For example, if you have a rooftop, you could use it to host cocktail parties for your guests. This could be an effective guest engagement strategy to make use of that extra space, create unique, memorable experiences, and encourage brand loyalty.

Innovative ideas can win you 5-star reviews and loyal guests. Leverage the latest tech solutions to make better guest and hotelier experiences possible.

Hotel innovations your guests will love

Here are some more ambitious ways to bring innovation to your hotel and add value for guests.

1. Create themed suites

With themed suites, you can transport your guests to another world – whether it's a tropical paradise, a winter wonderland, or even outer space. A Harry Potter-themed suite could include a four-poster bed, magical creatures like Hedwig the owl, and of course, plenty of room for wand storage.

A Game of Thrones-themed room could include a replica Iron Throne, dire wolf fur rugs, and candles galore. Or how about a suite inspired by The Simpsons? It could feature blue-sky and cartoon-cloud walls, Bart and Homer duvet covers, and donut-shaped pillows.

2. Offer virtual reality tours

Virtual reality tours give guests the experience of exploring your hotel before they even book. Great for social media shares, potential guests can see which suite they like most, check out the view, and wander down to the lobby before taking a look at what amenities they can expect to enjoy.

Maybe your virtual tour could include a visit through your kitchen, a look through the menu, and a sit-down by the swimming pool?

3. Go greenery

The Beaumont Hotel in the upmarket Mayfair area of London in the UK used its rooftop to create a stunning herb garden. With a herb garden of your own, you could brand your hotel as truly green, promote that your dishes use up-to-the-minute fresh, on-site ingredients, and even invite guests to pick their own herbs for their meals.

Innovate for better guest and hotelier experiences

Innovative ideas are all around us—it’s often just a case of reaching and taking hold of what most captures your imagination.

And with creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and smart solutions, you can make truly memorable experiences, create new revenue streams, and improve your management and service—all while becoming less dependent on staff and reducing your workload.

Innovative ideas can win you 5-star reviews and loyal guests. Leverage the latest tech solutions to make better guest and hotelier experiences possible.

Frequently asked questions about innovative hotel ideas

How do you make a hotel unique?

The best way to make your hotel unique depends on your specific location. target market, brand, and resources.  Some unique selling points could include unusual or innovative design features, eco-friendly or sustainable approaches, luxurious amenities, or personalized customer service powered by tech-based innovations. 

What are smart hotels?

Smart hotels use technology to improve the guest experience. This can include features like keyless entry, mobile check-in, and in-room tablets. Smart hotels may also use technology to improve operations and staff efficiencies like energy management systems, in-app messaging, and automated reporting.

How can technology help the hotel industry?

Technology can help the hotel industry in a number of ways, including by improving communication between staff and guests, automating tasks, and providing a more personalized experience. This can include using apps to check in and out, providing directions and recommendations within digital guides, and even ordering room service. By integrating your operations with tech solutions, you can automate many of your processes, allowing you to improve service and efficiency without adding to your workload.