Who doesn’t love a good book? While you have read one of our many other editorials espousing technology, and its myriad benefits for increasing revenues plus ramping up team productivity, sometimes a great hotel differentiator is a bit more ‘lo-fi’.
As one can intuit from the word’s constituents, bibliotherapy defines the act of finding joy, healing, bliss, or holistic meaning from reading books. Important for the here and now, the pandemic has led many to bibliotherapy as a way to cope with the loneliness of isolation and the anxiety induced by a scaremongering media engine. As such, this world event has unquestionably made us more introspective; one that’s more willing to open a book and discover its wisdom within.
To swim with the flow of this trending river, a heightened presence of physical books around a hotel may therefore find a receptive audience. Either as a point of differentiation in the guestroom or as part of a dynamic public space like a library living room, the objective here would be to amplify guest satisfaction to drive loyalty as well as give your marketing team one more feature to play with to lure in new customers.
Just as before the pandemic, you need to give people a reason to stay at your property versus your comp set. In that sense, the presence of books isn’t in the same pedigree as adding a second golf course or building a new signature restaurant, but they can work in more subtle ways to foster brand endearment.
As an example, we recently stayed at Crockford’s at Resorts World Las Vegas. In our room was a strategically placed, coffee table book on oriental carpets. The room was perfect, the TV set huge, the amenities exceptional. The book provided a touchstone and was well-read.
As an in-room amenity, books can help fill an idle hour or two as a guest unwinds in the evening or elects to stay sequestered to avoid the lobby crowds. Or for the abovementioned living room concept, stacks of books foster interactivity with the space where the intent is to have a ‘third place’ vibe with quieter social dealings mixed with solo business guests.
In deciding between physical books and tablets or e-readers, our vote is decidedly with the former because they add colorful visuals to a space while offering a more tactile, pleasurable reading experience. Related to this, one other concern is that of COVID-19 and fomite transmission – that is, a non-living entity (in this case, a book) acting as the infectious agent. In March 2020, this was a legitimate fear, but we’ve since learned that fomite cases are non-existent, and they shouldn’t be consideration.
On that note, how does one start? For one, the cost of going all new may be prohibitive, so consider used bookstores or other auctions. Then you can go guestroom by guestroom, theming each as the books come in. Alternatively, a public space such as an onsite library requires more advanced planning and critical mass of inventory.
While not an outright revenue builder, appealing to the bibliophile within us may serve more passive ends towards asset growth. As such, bibliotherapy should be one more potential initiative to keep in mind when planning the next physical upgrade to your hotel.