There are amazing features we could introduce into the small room and spend thousands on installations and technology, but would it be worth it. If you asked me, no. Let’s consider 5 easy ways you could orchestrate a quick win in business with no more than your toilets.
In all our cultures around the world, the toilet is held in a strange air of necessity, fear, inspiration and disgust. One hotel should take every measure to tame this fear or it erodes our luxury and sales.
The toilet experience is surrounded by a history of shame, disgust and great fear. A lot of this is unconscious and has to do with our instinct that coded us to be wary of excreta as a strategy to protect us from plagues. In chasing this instinct, man seeks out some private space around the bushes and a snake bites him…
Hotel managers must therefore appreciate that there is a complex interplay between structures and culture. How substantially this interplay bears on the overall customer experience, no amount of marble and smiley attendants will compensate for a dark corner deep into a leaky and nasty alley.
I have been to a big hotel and yet, in the washrooms, I felt claustrophobic.
A standard toilet should be about 15 square feet (5’ length by 3’ width). But you don’t aim for “standard”, do you? That’s why we left our homes and paid a fortune to enjoy premium. Make it twice as big. Give it a spectacular view. Play around with ornamental plants, floor tiles or tissue holders. Surprise us with the lighting. In all, sell the feeling of luxury and show how you intended it just for your special guest.
I speak to both manager and client. You have once opened a toilet door and immediately felt inspired to fast for a week?
You can’t keep cleaning the toilets after every guest, right? Wrong! It is in this very room, where great memories will pivot, memories of excellence, corporate image, value-for-money and concurrence with the star-rating.
Somehow we all know the dark spots: door (knobs), floor, toilet seat and basin and walls. The ceiling is… uhmmmm, yeah, the ceiling (not critical), but clean it.
Rule of thumb_ spotless. The doors, floor, seats and walls should also be dry. Invest in cleaning agents, personnel and where possible restricted entry to keep-off the dirty colors: reds, greens, browns, yellows and bugs.
Provide sufficient toilet paper, soap and a tap running with water. Supply a hand dryer or paper towels. Ensure your toilet can flush clean. It is such an unsettling feeling to have an impossible toilet to flush when other users are standing in line.
Have a trash-bin for cigarettes, tampons condoms or pampers. These should be serviced at reasonable intervals and should seal properly to ward off flies or prevent leakage. Lastly on clean, create a matching scent. Lemon and caustic (chlorine, bleaches etc) smell clean.
It’s still a good ethic to separate women’s toilets from men’s. Nonetheless, the labeling ought to be clear. Have a general sign for directions to washrooms and then distinguish wo/men, people with disabilities and kids. For men, go further and include a urinal but (emphasis) space them well. We love minding our own business.
Be mindful to also separate some toilets from bathrooms, there are so many people I know who find the open-plan toilet completely unsightly. As general practice, also keep the cleaning materials separate for hygiene of course.
Back to the ultra-modern technologies and fittings. How sure are you that your guest can operate the taps, flush, soap dispenser etc? If not 100% sure, then avoid the complex stuff or provide an easy guide somewhere within easy view.
For the hotel manager, custom is good but that’s all. Whenever it breaks down you have to order parts from oversees and run Skype with the only technician in the world. That’s not simple? Avoid upholstery and try ceramics, they are easy and cheap to install and clean, last long and, should you bump onto a good choice, they give a very powerful visual appeal.
Finally on simple, make feedback easy to get. Yes, MAKE. The human mind is a slave to distractions. I know that your guests can remember but will they share the luxury of a good toilet experience?
Here’s how. Once you have made your preparations, brag about it, “For housekeeping, in keeping with our culture of excellence, we have taken every care to provide you with clean, well lit and very private toilets (best in the world) all you have to do is follow the easy signs along the alley… let us make your stay fun and memorable”.
When others fear the topic of toilets, turn it into a statement of leadership and let your toilets do the bidding.