"Breakfast in the morning is on us..." A simple offering from a boutique hotel operator is one of many small nuances designed to disrupt their bigger mainstream competitors. And once traditional business models have been disrupted - and Pandora's box opened on a new way to service clients - it will be harder for businesses losing clients to win those clients back. In essence - disrupt or die!
I had to travel interstate for work to complete a course and see clients, and naturally was going to need to book somewhere to stay for the week, a few days in a hotel and a few with friends. The easy option would be to stay at the big corporate hotel in Perth's CBD where the course was to be held, but I decided to look online on wotif.com and see what else was available within walking distance. And then I saw this place...
It looked like a boutique hotel so I thought I would check it out, as it was only an 8 minute walk away from where I would be working. Rate wise it checked out as cheaper than the mainstream competition, included breakfast and WiFi, and looked like a pretty cool place to stay once I checked out the hotel online. So I booked it and thought hopefully it is as good as it looks.
So when I did arrive and checked in after a full day of flying from one side of the country to the other, I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was pretty impressed. Friendly staff, good directions for local places to eat, where to grab a drink, and what was available service wise to access in the hotel. And the room - it was pretty cool...
Once settled and before heading out to dinner I checked out the obligatory hotel guide, and it was the first key indicator that this place is not only special, but approaches doing business differently.
Here's a few inclusions that the bigger, more expensive, mainstream competitors all charge extra for:
Breakfast: included in the standard room rate. My expectations were low for an inclusive continental, but I was pleasantly surprised. Homemade muesli, fruit, muffins, fresh yoghurt, juice, a selection of breads, plus tea and coffee. Plus if you wanted a proper coffee, you could ask and the barista would make it and add the $4 to your room tab.
WiFi: included in the standard room rate. No limits, no poor download speeds, no additional fees.
Cable TV: included in the standard room rate. Choose from free to air, or a wide selection of on-demand movies, no additional fees.
Phone: All landline calls in Australia free and no time limit. Mobile calls at 15cents per minute.
Free bottled water in the rooms. Refilled daily, no additional fees.
Too busy to head out to dine - ask the staff and they can arrange dine in delivered to your door.
An Honour system bar: As it sounds, pour yourself, bill yourself, cool as!
Work spaces & chill out spaces: from tables in common areas where you can spread out and work, or find a quiet place to read (from your book or their wide library), to a meeting room on the roof and an amazing roof top terrace (which is a great spot to eat takeout and have a beer while taking in the city lights).
Bottom line, all I could think about during my stay, was why aren't there more hotels like this. Old fashioned all inclusive service at a reasonable price. And in being different, and disrupting their traditional competitors, I would definitely not only stay again but next time I travel interstate, I would actively look more broadly at what other hotel options are available. And as for the bigger competitors who charge higher rates and where everything you would reasonably expect during a stay is "plus, plus, plus", then you can expect recurring business to die as a result of the disruptors...
Disclosure: This article is based on my own observations and experiences, and I have received no remuneration or payment for writing this article. I simply think that good operators and disruptors deserve to be singled out when they offer favourable alternatives to mainstream business models.
"Disruptive innovation is a term in the field of business administration which refers to an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products, and alliances."