Monday, October 1, 2012

Best Hotel Chains

Recently a not so subtle shift has taken place in many of the high end hotel gift shops.  Hotel chains have made the discovery that their guests not only need to purchase necessities like toothpaste or shaving cream while on their trip, they also want to purchase more desirable items such as a designer dress, a chic pair of sunglasses or a fabulous new beach bag.  With this in mind, it really isn't any surprise that hotel chains are putting the necessary products behind the counter and creating a boutique like setting in the property shops that sell fashionable merchandise and souvenirs.  As most women will tell you, it really is all about the shopping. 

Not even a year ago Rosewood Hotels and Resorts brought in an employee to help with this new phenomenon.  This in-house buyer was told to create an environment in the hotel gift shops that better suited the needs of the hotel's clientele.  Each location had to offer exclusive items that were suited to the type of guest that frequented the different resorts.  While some shops might target the conservative buyer, other sites might entice guests to purchase something flashy and colorful.  Each hotel and resort has its own identity and so each store needs to be unique and reflect that personality. 

The Waldorf Astoria Park City is located at the foot of Utah's largest ski resort.  This lovely hotel is a perfect example of this gift shop shift.  The stunning shop, called Palette, was once a ski-gear spot where toiletries and snacks were sold.  Today it showcases a new name and a new charm.  This boutique is luxurious, displaying name-brand shoes, accessories and designer dresses.  Guests of the Waldorf Astoria can still purchase sunscreen or AA batteries, but these less than fashionable items are hidden behind cabinet doors. 

Ritz Carlton has taken to this trend a step farther.  The Ritz has opened more specialized stores.  The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island in Florida has a shop that is dedicated to salt.  This boutique, called The Salt Shop, displays 29 different varieties of salts to use for cooking or smoking meats.  The Ritz is also looking into providing stores with children's clothing and toys to some of their other amazing sites. 

Four Seasons is also getting in on the gift shop turned fashion boutique action.  Since recreating the look and upgrading the merchandise, Four Seasons has seen an escalation in sales in their on-site stores.  Four Seasons Resort Hawaii at Hualalai has even found that their male shoppers are in the mood to spend, so they have recently added to the male oriented merchandise.  Four Season Maui is the home to three amazing shops, Ports, Cabana and 22 Knots.  Each provides the hotel guests and even non-hotel guests a fine shopping experience.  Knowing that people are relaxed while on vacation and tend to spend more money, Four Seasons has discovered having desirable product in an attractive setting is a must.

Hotels and resorts are inviting their guests to have an unforgettable vacation by providing top-notch services and amenities with beautiful surroundings.  By creating a quality shopping experience on the hotel grounds, guests are spending more time and more money at their resort.  An upscale boutique instead of the standard hotel gift shop seems like a win-win scenario for both the resort owner and their customers. 

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