In today’s world, with hotels customized and suited to a target segment, it is but important to categorize hotels as it is impossible to categorize all under one term- hotels. Hence keeping in mind certain factors, a general categorization is done based on the following:
- Food Plan
- Type of Guest
As per luxury
Luxury hotels- are those that have a star rating. Hotels are given a 5 star -1 star rating by a classification committee with members from the state tourism department, hospitality industry and educationists. Based on a checklist of factors & standards, the raring is awarded. For example for a hotel to be awarded a 5 star rating, it has to have a minimum number of rooms, each room being spacious in area as per set standards with a bathroom attached as per standards. Facilities of running hot & cold water with separated shower area and amenities as laid down. Even the guest room has to have amenities as laid down. The hotel must have 24 hours functioning room service and coffee-shop, a bar and restaurants, swimming pool, and other facilities that an international traveler is used to having. Based on such guidelines, the hotel is awarded the star rating it deserves. Star rating is one of the finest ways to categorize a hotel as it involves a checklist to verify. Very clear. For a, five star rating, the hotel has to have central air-conditioning, swimming pool, health club and shopping arcade. These norms change with time.
As per Size-
Size is determined by the number of rooms a hotel has . A 100 room or less hotel is termed small. A hotel with 100-300 rooms in today’s parlance is considered medium. In the 1960’s a hotel with 100-300 rooms was considered large. Today a hotel having 300- 600 rooms is considered large. The hotel having more than 600 rooms are termed very large. But, remember by 2040, these the terms small, medium, large and very large may change.
As per location
As per location, hotels are defined as:
Downtown/ Commercial/ City/ Business Hotel- They are located the heart of the city, in the business area. Land, being very expensive, they are vertical structures, optimizing every inch of space. Hence, even the services offered are very expensive. The typical guests who check-in here are those who come on their company’s work or business. The location of the hotel being in the vicinity of their work reduces their local travel time. For such guests, time is of utmost value. Normally such hotels witnesses a very high occupancy from Sunday evening to Friday mornings with the. weekend occupancy low. The guests who stay in these hotels travel with a fixed agenda to complete their work in a limited time period. From Sunday late evening, they start checking -in or early Monday morning. The average length of stay would be 2-3 nights or 6 nights from Sunday to Friday. Daily they leave for their appointments for the day, having their lunch wherever their work takes them. Not, for them, the luxury of returning to the hotel to have lunch. They may stay back to host a client or a government official for breakfast/ brunch/lunch. Otherwise they return in the evening after the day’s work is completed. With many restaurants and fast food outlets in the same location, the guest has the choice of eating out along with the pleasure of enjoying a movie in the multiplex nearby. The reason for downtown hotels to have a food plan of room rate and breakfast. It is common to see such hotels serving a buffet breakfast in the coffee-shop. This not only gives the guest an opportunity to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast from a variety of choices offered as also do away ordering breakfast from room -service. Awaiting the waiter, which may delay the guest.The hotel too, benefits as they not only know the previous evening itself, the number of guests for breakfast. Since buffet breakfast is termed complimentary, offering a wide variety of choices, all the guests prefer that then to order through room service and pay for it. Though, they are aware, the cost of the breakfast is factored in the room rate ! For the F& B Manager and the Executive Chef, this is welcome as they need lesser human resources during breakfast times. A majority of guests are repeat guests with payment of bills being cash earlier now replaced by credit/debit card or ‘bill to company’..
Suburban Hotel – As the name implies, these hotels are located in the suburbs. With land costs not high, such hotels have the luxury to be spacious in comparison to the downtown hotels. They are used by HR Heads of corporate companies to conduct their training & development hotels as well as seminars for their employees. As the costs of transporting employees is also reasonable, such hotels have conference halls for such purposes. In addition to corporate guests, the suburban hotels may also have the typical downtown hotel guests who would prefer to stay here away from the city, yet close to it. As the room rates are reasonable, and normally the the airport located nearby. The traveler in transit and layovers as well as the cabin crew may be housed here. The average length of stay of a guest would be maximum about 2-3 nights for an HR program guest, For the layover passenger and the traveler in transit, a night or two. The cabin crew at times for a night only or at most 2 nights. With the cities going beyond the earlier set territorial boundaries, the suburban hotel have in a manner of speaking, become a city hotel, but having a twin advantage of being in the city yet in close proximity to the airport. Thereby, reaping the benefits of being preferred over downtown hotels due to their room rates. Food plans are fixed according to the profile of the guest. For a residential HR program guests, the American plan is offered. The in- transit and layover guests are offered as per the guidelines of the airline while the business guest prefers the Modified American plan. The food plans are flexible as per the guest profile. A breakfast buffet and lunch buffet in the coffee-shop is normally the trend.. For the company’s HR programs, the bill is paid by the company, the business guest paying with a debit/credit card.
Transit Hotel- A transit hotel is located near the airport. They are ideal for passengers in transit who have to wait for some hours to catch a connecting flight, and for airlines to house their layover passengers and for their cabin crew. With such a guest profile, transit hotels, charge the guest on the number of hours they have occupied the room. The emphasis is on the comforts than the luxuries; a 24 hour room service and a 24 hour coffee-shop is a must. For in-transit and layover guests the airline settles the bill as with the cabin crew. Centaur hotel .
Apartment Hotel are also known as Service Apartments are a new trend. It comprises of a large & spacious hall, well furnished, with bedrooms and attached that are also furnished.. A kitchen may or may not be an integral part. There is a caretaker who either serves food outsourced from vendors as per the guest’s choice or prepares it for them. Housekeeping services are generally outsourced. The guests who refer apartment hotels are families, a group of company executives or even individuals travelling on work or leisure. As there are individual bedrooms ensuring privacy and a common living room, it suits all type of travelers since, the hotel is located in he heart of the city, is economical a compared to a city hotel.The average length of stay is normally 3-4 nights.
The food plan in Apartment hotels is flexible with Bed & Breakfast being the norm with those wanting lunch and dinner to pay extra.
Motel- Motels are to to motorists today, what serais were to traders on the silk routes .As the name suggests are hotels located on motor-roads/ highways. They are spacious, providing ample parking space for cars and buses to be parked. They are normally single floor buildings with about 20- 50 rooms. In India, the increase in incomes after liberalization in 1991 along with the increase in the double income families (both husband and wife working), has seen the increase in the purchase of cars). This has resulted in families taking a weekend break by driving to a scenic place outside the city, to enjoy with family.
When the family takes their annual holidays, normally in India, they prefer to go back home- their ancestral households in the village or in another town or, to stay with a sibling/ relative/ friend. They leave early in the morning,to enjoy their breakfast at the motel en-route. The motels en-route, stopping over for lunch tea and dinner if need be as well as to stay over for the night, if need be. For the motorists to start off early morning to their destination. Motels shall have a 24 hours room service with one large dining hall to cater to the guests.
The average length of stay normally is for 1 night or 2 nights. Some families may schedule a family outing with other families to drive to a good motel to spend the long weekend there. Motels charge room night charges on an hourly basis. There is no fixed check-in or check-out time as the guest is charged on the number of hours the room is used.
The mode o payment is restricted to cash or debit/ credit cards.
The increase in the number of motorists on the highways has seen the mushrooming of motels along the highways. Today’s motels not only offer guestrooms with bathroom attached. In addition, they may also have facilities of ATM, a shop selling OTC drugs, sanitary napkins, mineral water bottles, biscuits etc which the family may require on their journey.
The food plan offered is European plan.
Resort- Resorts are located in places with natural settings. For example: beach resort, hill resort, jungle resort etc, far from the city limits.
Tourists and holidaymakers form the majority of clientele, but today, companies, to motivate their employees conduct their HR programs in resorts. The service is relaxed with the hotel staff usually wearing the resort’s branded T-shirts as uniform instead of the formal wear one is used to seeing in hotels.The building is normally spread out with very spacious guest rooms,and very spacious public areas too. The rooms could be in the form of cottages or villas or in a row house pattern.
The guests normally if they are on holiday may choose to rest and rejuvenate as also go out to enjoy the natural beauty. Since the resorts are in an areas far away from human habitation, there would be no possibility of any restaurants nearby. Hence resorts normally offer an American Plan. There would be a 24 hours room service and a multi cuisine -restaurant . Dinner might be ‘al- fresco’- on the lawns or near the artificial waterfalls to offer the guest a different experience.For HR programs, theme dinners are planned with the theme changing daily.
Camp accommodation- It’s a trend today for people living in cities to enjoy a different experience. Camp does that. They travel outside the cities, fora trekking expedition Their vehicles are parked in a spacious area meant for parking. They leave early in the morning to trek carrying essentials to return by early evening to refresh themselves for a high tea., enjoy a ‘campfire’ experience weather permitting, or sit around resting their limbs sharing their experiences singing songs, to tuck in an early wholesome dinner. They sleep in the protection of weather-proof tents. These locations are safe from wild animals and hooligans as the organisation managing this property undertakes this responsibility. The food served is normally from the local produce, wholesome and varied. Youngsters form the clientele. Nowadays HR programs for leadership, team building and induction of new employees also form a growing slice of the clientele.
As per Ownership
Proprietorship- A hotel owned by an individual/ family is a proprietorship hotel. It would normally be a stand alone hotel, of medium size. Such hotels run into a problem, when they want to expand from a stand alone hotel to a chain. Then they face a paucity of funds.A single owner proprietorship without a proper grooming of the next generation to take over usually finds itself into problems.
Partnerships- happen when more than one person join for a common business objective. Each could be be an expert in their own areas. For example One partner to manage finance, one to overlook marketing and likewise. As each partner brings in her/his funds, partnership firms have more resources than proprietorship hotels. But, unless, the partners work in coordination without any friction, the objective of managing a successful hotel as well as expansion too, shall be smooth.
Private Limited Company- In this venture, shares of a company are privately owned; could be business acquaintances, family members or friends. Usually the person who has he highest number of shares becomes the Managing Director and the others Directors. Unlike partnerships the Director’s liability is limited to the amount they have invested. Private Limited companies need a formal arrangement with the company to be registered with the Registrar of companies. This enterprise has more resources than that in a partnership.
Public Limited Company- In this venture, the shares of the company are offered to the public at large as the company is listed on the stock exchange. Depending upon the company’s perception by the individual investor and institutional investors, the venture’s shares may be oversubscribed or sink with out a trace. It is the people on the board who make the difference in a positive perception or otherwise. Such ventures enjoy the luxury of huge funds at their disposal. They hire competent and experienced employees thereby , ensuring the growth, sustainability and progress of the company. Chain hotels usually, are owned by Public Ltd Companies.
As per Food Plans
A food plan is a pricing tactic in which the room rate includes room rate only and may or may not include food component.
There are many types of food plans. We shall examine each in detail as also, understand how each of them are broadly linked to a category of hotel and a segment of guest.
European Plan- Obviously, the name indicates it originated in Europe. The room rate does not include any food component. Any meals consumed by the guest is charged. Used to be offered by downtown/city/commercial hotels in the 70’s & 80’s. The guest segment are normally being businessmen and company executives who may choose to eat out. Motels and Transit hotels may also , prefer to offer European Plan.
Continental Plan- Continent in this context also refers to Europe. Continental Plan includes room rate and continental breakfast with other meals being charged. Continental breakfast includes fruit juice, bread/ toast, butter, jam, marmalade and honey with coffee/tea. Again, the segment of guests who prefer this are those who value time. Company executives on work and businessmen. Earlier typically offered by city hotels.
Bermuda Plan- This food plan includes room rates and American breakfast, a very heavy breakfast. The American breakfast includes fruit juice, toast, eggs to order, cereals, bacon/sausages and preserves with butter, jam, marmalade and honey with coffee/tea. Americans generally start their day with a heavy breakfast as they start work early. Usually offered in hotels where the number of American guests travelling on work is more.
American Plan / AP/ Full Pension- In this plan room rates include American breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Conference Hotels and Convention hotels offer this plan as the guests have to be engaged in the hotel itself for the meeting/ convention they are attending. Some resorts, offer this food plan when the holidaymakers or group have planned not to go out but to just relax, refresh.
Modified American Plan/ MAP/ Demi -Pension – Here as you must have logically presumed, room rates include American breakfast (as detailed above in American Plan), lunch or dinner. Resorts favor MAP as the group/ holidaymakers have a heavy breakfast to go out on excursion/ sightseeing to have lunch outside.
- Today, hotels across the world factor in the breakfast cost into the room rate to offer guests a buffet breakfast in the coffee-shop.
- A guest ordering breakfast in the room has to pay for it.
- It is not unusual to find an electric kettle with sugar sachets, tea bags and coffee powder sachets for the guest to make her/ his tea/coffee to their satisfaction.
- Tea ordered from Room Service is charged.
Type of Guest
Business Hotel- In today’s parlance, a business hotel is typically the city hotel. Meant for the guest travelling on business; the corporate executive. The accent is on speed. Guests have access to hi-speed internet. With lady executives travelling for work, such hotels, may offer them rooms on a floor only meant for lady guests with lady staff to wait on them. Corporate guests may have a couple of floors dedicated to them offering them the services of exclusive business lounge, small lounges to meet a guest. Maybe, a library also with valet services. Needless to mention, the guest rooms would be much more spacious than the other rooms. The bathrooms too, shall be luxurious in terms of space, facilities and amenities. Limousine services, same day laundry, separate elevators and pre-registration formalities are just an indicator of the services offered. Nowadays, the hotel staff checks-in for the guest on departure at the airport for the guest to spend that much time attending to work on hand. The guest on reaching the airport is handed over his boarding card. Other services these guests enjoy in the rooms may be a giant screen TV and a customized mini-bar.
Convention Hotel- A convention hotel is a huge imposing infrastructure as it is meant to accommodate 2000-3000 guests, normally delegates attending a convention.
More than one plenary hall are there to seat the participants. Other customized facilities include an office for the hosts, small meeting rooms, very large areas with large desks for registering participants, The dining halls would be huge, with at times a private area for the hosts. There would be almost 500 rooms in such hotels with twin bedded rooms, The hotel will include the services of audio-video equipment on request. Such hotels are located normally in the city or in the suburbs. Parking space is large to accommodate the large numbers of cars, mini buses and coaches. Nowadays, convention hotels are planned & built with the 5 star hotel adjacent to it. If need be, the hotel’s resources of manpower and services can be rushed i a jiffy. Besides, in case of over-booking, delegates can always be accommodated in the hotel.
Conference Hotel- may be termed as a scaled down version of a convention hotel.
Luxury Rail Hotel- The first luxury rail hotel would be the Orient Express plying on the London- Venice -London route. Agatha Christie, the iconic crime fiction author is known for her thriller ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’ Passengers are guests with the comforts of a 5 star hotel on board with spacious, luxuriously designed private compartments with attached baths and butler service, dining room, bar et al.
But today luxury on the rails is redefined by the Palace on Wheels train that ferries passengers from Delhi to Agra, Jaipur and other historic places on the golden triangle of Delhi- Agra- Jaipur.
The Palace on Wheels has coaches that once was used by India’s erstwhile Maharajas. It is booked a year in advance by the foreign tourists. And to believe that these coaches were lying idle. A civil servant on seeing these coaches, thought of a Palace on Wheels. The Indian Railways and the Rajasthan Tourism Corporation operate this luxurious train. Other trains in India are the Deccan Odyssey and the Golden Chariot.
Casino Hotel- A casino is a place where gambling is organized for the benefit of patrons. Las Vegas, in America, is the casino capital of the world. People fly there just to gamble. Besides playing poker, blackjack,roulette games there is the chance to make money on the slot machines. The hotels with casinos attached see the guests waking up late as the casinos open in the evening to go on past midnight. The gamblers wanting to maximize their time at the table tend to eat and drink in the casinos at times seated at the table. The rooms are luxuriously designed for the benefit of those who fly in, as they require such luxuries. Casino hotels make huge revenues from the sale of tobacco and alcohol.
Condominium- is an accommodation in which a owner of an apartment wants to rents out / leases his apartment, to travelers to the city. Such units are found in an apartment block specially designed for this purpose, A caretaker is there to assist the guests. The owner informs the caretaker whenever he should not let out the unit, as per his needs, usually whenever he wants to stay there. All the conveniences are provided. The owner has to pay an annual maintenance fee or the air-conditioning, water and housekeeping services.
Time-share hotel- In this concept a unit of accommodation, be it a suite in a resort or a room or a cottage is owned by more than one owner who have invested in it. This unit is rented out as in a hotel. A kitchenette is provided in case the guests want to prepare their own meals with groceries & other essentials available within the complex. Or, there is a dining are for food & beverage. The owners inform the management in advance of their visit for the unit to be blocked. Families on holidays form the typical guest segment along with honeymooners.
Boutique hotel- is a little difficult to explain. It was in the ’80’s this term was used by hotels in London and Paris. It could be a unique theme or a unique selling point of a hotel that it is termed thus. A classic example of a boutique hotel is the Park hotel Anna Salai, Chennai, India. It is built on the grounds where earlier a premier film studio existed. The hotel interiors are thematic with films as the backdrop. Boutique hotels need not be restricted only to cities, resorts may well be boutique properties.
Heritage hotel- Any infrastructure or residence built before 1950 is termed as heritage. Reason why residences built before 1950 have been renovated retaining the heritage features to be converted into hotels. The typical guest segment being families, honeymooners and holidaymakers.
Palace hotel- The erstwhile royalty’s residences in India , the palaces needs large resources to maintain. The royalty stripped off their privileges after Independence did not have the means and resources to do so. Hotel chains sensing an opportunity stepped in. The Rambagh Palace Jaipur, the Lake Palace & Shiv Nivas Udaipur and the Umaid Bhavan Palace are now luxurious hotels. Not only was a niche brand created but in the process, the erstwhile royalty had the satisfaction of seeing their magnificent palaces maintained in addition to be a good source of income. Besides, as a marketing tactic, the hoteliers promised the guests a tea or a dinner with the Maharaja. This gave the Maharaja an opportunity to wear his royal garments once again, with the guests charged a princely sum for the same returning feeling enriched carrying home a photograph posing witth the Maharaja . As you must have reasoned out the majority of guests are foreign nationals on a dream holiday travelling usually in groups.
Youth hostel- The best example of a youth hostel is the YMCA & the YWCA. Typically, as suggested for youths, hence dormitories and common bathrooms are found with some rooms with attached bathrooms. A common dining hall is there for the three meals.
Length of stay is limited to 3-4 nights.
Cruise liner- Imagine you are in a 5 star hotel with an area of 250 meters length and 40 meters breadth with facilities of your room termed as a cabin,with a casino, shops, fitness center,open swimming pool and covered swimming pool, a fine dining room, basketball courts, table tennis facilities, tennis facility, library and all the other services and amenities offered by a 5 star hotel on board a ship, designed for this purpose. Cruise liners offer this luxury all over the world.
House-boats- the house boats in Kerala’s backwaters which ferry the tourist in comfort with accommodation too while experiencing the joy of the different hues of nature,