The Pros and Cons of Invisible Service Hotels

Are you aware of this new “invisible service hotels” trend that is mushrooming in different parts of the country? If you haven’t heard about it, invisible service hotels are enterprises that exhibit the following characteristics.

What To Expect With Invisible Service Hotels

In an invisible service hotel, you can enjoy the hospitality services without engaging directly with the service staff. In most cases, you won’t even see the person providing the services to you, let alone engaging with them. Some invisible service hotels are branded from the inside – instead of the outside that is visible to the public. That means you only see a building from the outside, probably with the name of the apartment. The hotel itself may be entirely unmarked, when in the real sense either some of the rooms, floors, or the entire building is rented out as a hotel.

Hotel reception keys

Booking a room in most invisible service hotels is done online. Customers may book through Homestay networks like Airbnb, or the hotel may also have its own network. That means the instructions and in some cases, passwords to your booked room are emailed to you. Therefore, you don’t expect to find a bell stand or reception desk to direct you to your room.

Pros Of  This Type Of Hotel Service

As a new trend, are invisible services a well-meaning business type? To answer this question fairly, focusing alone on the experiences of people who have used the service is not enough. You also need to compare it with what regular hotels offer in order to see the advantages of the invisible service hotels.

Firstly, some critics argue that guest-staff interactions may have a negative impact on the overall guest experience. People stay away from home for various reasons, but interacting with hotel staff is not one of the core motives. With invisible service hotels, there aren’t any physical interactions between the hotel staff and you as the guest. For this reason, those who have experienced invisible service hotels argue that this concept reduces the barriers between you and the real experience of the place.

Added Niceties That People Are Foregoing

Assume that you have been to one of these luxury hotels that offer full service and you know what to expect with some added attention to detail. Immediately you get to the reception desk; you’re likely to receive a hot towel to wipe your face and even a glass of juice to welcome you. By the time you sit down to dine, one of the service staff will even assist to get your jacket off. If you are a smoker, someone will light a cigar for you. A key question that comes out of this is, are all these necessary? For the people who opt for the invisible service hotels, these services offer too many excessive pleasantries for a customer who wants to enjoy peace of mind. Thus, with invisible service hotels, you benefit in that no staff will be there to bother you or influence your emotions.

The central focus of hotels and any other hospitality enterprise is to make you feel at home away from home. For any service that you pay for, you need to feel the worth of your money in terms of affordable and quality services. One significant advantage associated with invisible service hotels is that they are much cheaper than luxury resorts but on the other hand more sophisticated than budget hotels. Because the invisible service hotels run on much less operational cost than luxury resorts, this translates into lower cost of service to the customers. Moreover, some of the costs are incorporated into improving the quality of the service to create a memorable experience for you as the guest.

Cons Of Not Receiving Service

The one-sided view of something can be misleading. Therefore, it is important to also understand the cons of invisible service hotels. Knowing both sides of this type of hotel will help make an informed decision before booking and you won’t have to make a leap in the dark.

One disadvantage about the concept of invisible service hotels is that it defies the integral characteristic of the inseparability of the service and its provider. In other words, ideal hospitality services should be produced and consumed simultaneously. A service should not be made available and put away prior to consumption. This is not the case with invisible service hotels because you find that an anonymous person provides everything that you require in advance or without your notice. This is like storing the service before it is used, which makes such hotels more of product than service oriented. If you are the kind of a person who has a strong affinity to having people serve you, then invisible service hotels may not be your preference.

The concept of invisible service in hotels restricts you to enjoy the service only in regions and locations you are familiar with. Otherwise, the experience could be very unpleasant if you book an invisible service from a hotel in a locality of people speaking a different language from yours. This is because you are less likely to get a concierge, or anyone at all in an invisible service hotel to assist you to translate things into English. This clearly depicts that this new trend does not conform to the universality of hospitality services and it will be very hard for you to anticipate what you get from one hotel to another of this kind.

Towels with flower

Can Anyone Really Stay In This Hotel Style?

It’s true that disability in is not inability. However, that does not mean that if you’re disabled, you don’t need the help of others. One disturbing disadvantage of the invisible service hotels is that they are not designed to attract people with disabilities. This is so especially if you are traveling alone, as there is no staff to guide and facilitate your stay. Once you’re dropped by a cab at the entrance of such hotels and you’re disabled, that means you’re at the mercy of other guests.

Invisible service hotels are very notorious in using in-room guidebooks that offer suggestions of places you can eat out and explore. Others use iPads in their rooms to serve as your concierge or virtual guidebooks. One key question that emerges is, do they consider people with reading disability? What about old people who cannot use technologies like iPads? Many old people or those with reading disabilities are likely to find it very difficult to use the in-room guidebooks and iPads provided by the hotels. This is thus a major limitation of the invisible service hotel concept.

Coming To A Decision

From a personal point of view, invisible service hotels are a relatively new concept whose future is difficult to predict. This new trend is buzzing and many hotels of this kind are being established in many parts of the country. Like any other new venture, the advantages of opting to use invisible service hotels are also faced with some key disadvantages compared to other types of hotels. However, most of the perceived benefits and disadvantages of staying in such hotels are shaped by your own tastes and preferences, rather than your experience of using the service. Whether or not the trend will stay is difficult to say, like all things in the service industry it is a matter of knowing what the public wants overall.

By |2017-02-14T18:31:54+00:00February 14th, 2017|Hotel|Comments Off on The Pros and Cons of Invisible Service Hotels

About the Author:

Luke Wistar Morris was part of the Morris family who built what is now the Morris House Hotel. Luke had many interests including brewing beer, and was an engineer in Philadelphia. Follow Luke on Google+
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