Dutch hotelier Eric Toren on providing a 5-star experience

Plus: The role of the general manager today

Today, you’ll find:

  • How Eric Toren’s Amsterdam hotel provides a 5-star experience

  • What the CEOs of Sonesta, Remington, and Outrigger have seen on changing guest expectations over the past 6 months

  • The role of the general manager today (hint: it involves self-care)


Dutch hotelier Eric Toren on providing a 5-star experience

Going above and beyond for guests is what drives award-winning Dutch hotelier Eric Toren on a daily basis. No request is too large or small for his handpicked team at TwentySeven Hotel, an opulent oasis on Amsterdam’s picturesque Dam Square.

To me, luxury means personalization, and following scripted procedures should never be a part of this. Some guests might prefer to be greeted with “Your Royal Highness”, while others might feel most at home when being greeted with “Good morning my friend.”

Because expectations evolve so quickly, continuously understanding guest satisfaction is a valuable source of inspiration.

Instead of simply asking, “How was your stay?” during the departure of our guests, my team shows its passion and dedication for hospitality by asking, “What did you feel when entering your suite for the first time”, or “What could we have done to make your experience even more memorable?” This is the level of engagement that enthuses me and my team and supports the endless journey to perfection.

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Hotel CEOs at NYU: guest expectations are quickly rising

This week at the NYU Hospitality Investment Conference, industry leaders discussed what they are seeing in their hotels when it comes to guest expectations.

Carlos Flores, CEO of Sonesta, said that while in the beginning of the pandemic guests were very understanding, as the pandemic continued, they began to raise their expectations in terms of service and other areas. “Their expectations are radically different than what they were just six months ago.”

“Customer expectations are back in full and above where they were in some cases pre-COVID,” said Remington CEO Sloan Dean. “You have a consumer who was pent-up in their house. Coming to a hotel, they want an exceptional experience. They want someone to come in the middle of the day to take out the trash and give them new linen.”

Outrigger CEO Jeff Wagoner said that when Outrigger was creating its 2021 budget, it budgeted less than in previous years for housekeeping, thinking guests wouldn’t require it. “Then we found out before the year started that there was a 90% take rate for housekeeping. Guests said, ‘I really want those services in a resort environment. I paid a lot of money and want a resort vacation.’”

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The role of the general manager today

Speaking during the 2021 Boutique Lifestyle Leadership Conference, Sergio Maclean described the general manager role at the properties his company manages as a "details manager" and "innkeeper."

According to him, boutique hoteliers must not lose sight that their properties are a gateway to the communities they are in. That starts with the general manager creating a sense of place and teamwork.

Doing this requires being mindful of their own well-being and temperament.

"We're all by nature just so focused on our team and our guests, but all of that stems from that general manager, make sure you're taking care of yourself. It's been a big thing for me the last six months to really be more mindful in myself and it's had tenfold results on the team," he said.

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