New Continental Hotel, Millbay Road, Plymouth, PL1 3LD

Tel: 01752 276798

The Most Common Hotel Misconceptions…

EIGHT Misconceptions In Hospitality…

We all have misconceptions in life: Long distance relationships never work; Men are better drivers than women; A good holiday is a foreign holiday; Girls are easier than Boys…the list is possibly endless!

In most cases a misconception is based on hearsay.  If someone tells you something enough times, it’s like water dripping onto granite, it will eventually wear a hole!  Or having one bad experience; that we then take as a given; ‘I ate out in France and it was terrible, I hate French Food!’

In life, we should never deny a bad occurrence. Yet what we don’t want to do is turn that single event into our overall perception; a perception that then becomes our perspective. Instead we should take a step back. Ask a few more questions and then make our decision on a fully rounded observation. BUT IT’S HARD! It’s just so easy for our perception to become our reality…

But why does it matter what our perceptions are?

Well! When it comes to misconceptions, they could cause us to miss out on some amazing adventures and making terrific memories. All thanks to either the words of others, or a single experience.

We need to try and have an open mind; easier said than done!  We need to try and look through another lens and we always need to find out more, just to be sure!

So what are the common misconceptions when it comes to hotels?

That all depends on what stories have we told ourselves through past experiences or what we have let filter into our consciousness by others!

But here we look at some of the most common misconceptions that we hear within our industry, to hopefully help you make the most of new adventures near and far…

  1. Weekend stays are always more expensive.

While it is true that some hotels charge higher rates on weekends, this is not always the case for every hotel.

It largely depends on the clientele that it serves. For example, there will be some hotels in a city that cater handsomely for business travellers. So they will have high demand Monday-Friday. With this higher demand during the week days, their rate card will be higher compared to weekends. Therefore this will push up prices for those busier times.

In any one city there could be numerous hotels, some much cheaper on the weekend than others purely because their main demographic is a business traveller. Other hotels may be more expensive at the weekend because their main guests are leisure guests. All of these hotels could be offering a similar location; and of course a bed for the night; but perhaps different facilities or services which attract different kinds of guests.

GOOD TIP | Many hotels would say that there quieter day is Sunday. It sees the back of the weekend, but the working week has yet begun. You can therefore find many amazing offers for weekend stays that have a heavily discounted Sunday night rate included – or perhaps even a free Sunday stay.

Here at the New Continental Hotel, we have a great many weekend offers to take advantage of – even in the Summer months.

  1. Hotels charge for everything and you have lots of additional costs.

This is NOT always true at all; especially here at the New Continental Hotel. We have a huge amount of added value that we don’t charge our guests for. Included in the room price is of course tea, coffee and biscuits in every room and (divine) hair and body washes.

We also offer guests complimentary use of Club Continental (our in-house leisure complex with indoor pool, gyms, sauna and steam room) as well a FREE enterprise grade Wi-Fi. We do have a small charge for parking at just £3 for 24 hours. Other parking for that duration in the city ranges from £6 – £50. Plus with many there is lots of walking!

GOOD TIP | If you book direct, you can usually get more value and also more information on any additional costs that you may incur.

  1. Your identity and credit card information is stored on your electronic room key card.

No, it isn’t. Not at the New Continental Hotel anyway.

When new technologies and room card keys were first used, there were rumours that hotels were encoding room key cards with guests’ personal information, including credit card numbers.

A prospective identity thief with a card reader could gain access to ALL of your private data by fishing your discarded room key card out of your wastebasket, your wallet or your tab holder.

The fact is that most hotel cards are like ours, simply encoded to get you into a certain room on the days of your stay. There is no room number on our key cards itself either, so if it is lost we simply deactivate the lost card remotely and with your ID activate a new one for you.

Some hotel room key cards do have an internal guest profile number and an indicator that suggests if you have a credit card on file to authorise purchases to your room. If that is the case it is always worth treating that card like you would a voucher card, and taking the hotel number with you when you go out for the day.

GOOD TIP | If you do loose you room key card call the hotel can deactivate it immediately.

  1. A hotel uses all of your personal information to bombard you with marketing.

This is simply a VERY BIG NO!

Like all businesses, charities and organisations that take any of your data, we must all have Data accountability and be fully compliant with all GDPR laws and regulations. We use methods and practises to keep your data safe and be transparent with how and why we use and store it.

Putting all the jargon to one side, we do need to take and store some personal information on our guests for legal reasons. Also to ensure we are able to deliver a good service. BUT WE DO NOT use this information to push products or services their way.

We will send an email before a guest stays, with their confirmation. Then one post stay, to make sure everything was as they expected and hoped for. BUT we DO NOT market to them unless they have explicitly agreed to receiving our discounts and offers for future stays.

If asked we will always delete all data belonging to a guest as soon as the reason for storage no longer applies.

We ask for an email address to access our Wi-Fi, but only to verify users and guests as legitimate users.  This is not automatically used for marketing unless guests have again authorised and requested that we do so.

        5. All hotel rooms in a certain price range are the same.

Regardless of whether it’s a big brand or an independent hotel like ours, no two rooms are exactly the same in almost any hotel. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a hotel is lying to you when it just shows a handful of rooms on their website, it just means it is nion impossible for a hotel to show every single room – unless it is small enough to do so.

For example here at the hotel we have 99 rooms. All different and in some cases extremely so. In the extreme cases we do show these in different room types such as; Standard Double, Standard Twin, Standard Single, Superior, Four-Poster, Family. But not every room can be shown as there are just too many!

As a listed Victorian hotel, every floor has structural differences, thanks to stairways and an elevator shaft and just quirky uniqueness’s! There are different room sizes and obviously different views, but we just can’t show them all.

GOOD TIP | If you want to know what your room looks like, just ask! It may be a room on their website that they can direct you to, or they could have a picture on their booking system that they can send. If they don’t have either of these, most hotels would be happy to take a picture and send to you. We find that for some guests who suffer from anxiety they really need this, in order to know what they are arriving to.

         6.All hotels have rooms with good views.

Sadly this isn’t the case.

As a city centre hotel that was built in the 1800’s, we have had many buildings pop up around us!  So not every room in the hotel has a jaw dropping view anymore!

From some windows around the hotel you may see bits of our large car park or of our rooftop, others have the beautiful curve of the crescent and the south end of town. Yet what we lack in every room having a divine view, we make up for in our amazing city centre location.

With Plymouth’s breathtaking vista – you are never far from a great view. The New Continental Hotel will give you the perfect setting to explore our beautiful city by the sea.

          7. Staff working in hospitality expect tip top tips.

We have all read recently that the big-name restaurants and hotel chains have come under attack for their unfair tipping policies. Ranging from allegations that management take a percentage of tips, to service charges that never make it to the waiting staff’s pockets.

Reading this opened up a big debate among staff here at the New Continental Hotel and among many settings in the sector.

Many of the staff who have worked at the hotel for years noted that they remembered a time when the tips they made enabled them to live a better lifestyle. As these tips made up a large percentage of their wages. Therefore you had staff competing on service to get the best tips possible.

Wages in hospitality are on the rise and certainly on par with many other professions now.  Plus we also have a different ethos, one which is naturally more driven by passion; which together has led to things changing.

Staff want to ensure everyone gets the best possible service and experience, not driven by a cash tip, but by their own passion and purpose in a profession they love.

Within our small (but perfectly formed) teams, we concluded that there is no longer an expectation for tips. Although obviously heartening when a tip is given, staff who were asked said that they actually find a hand written note or a mention on Trip Advisor just as rewarding.

             8. Hotels use white linen because they have to.

This was a real statement given by a real customer, just last week.

He was talking to a chambermaid who was wheeling her trolley full of beautifully white linens down the corridor. He stopped for a brief conversation about servicing his room. Within the conversation he mentioned how happy he was that hotels now had to use white linen!

Although we do not have to, white sheets are one of the most effective ways for hotels to prove their standards of cleanliness. White linens also make other colours in the room pop; such as cushions and throws, art work and vases.  Also, when you have to buy as much linen as we do here at the New Continental Hotel, white is just about the easiest colour to match!

Our chambermaids and housekeeping staff work tirelessly to make stays for our guests the best they can possibly be. Having all the same size, and the exact same appearance, means they don’t need to worry about matching the mattress sheets with the top sheets, pillow cases and duvets. Because there are no patterns or shades to match up – it makes it a little easier on them!

Also, you can just throw them all in the same giant washer and wash them all, then make up the beds as needed, from the same giant pile of beautifully clean sheets!

 

 

Habits In Hospitality | Secrets Revealed…

When IS the best time to book a hotel?

In this blog, we pull back the covers and reveal ALL the secrets that could save you POUNDS!

We may all be aware of the four seasons; even if the good old British weather doesn’t always comply!  But what about the three hospitality ones!?

Perhaps not all of us are so aware of the cost saving travel we could unearth if we got to know a little more about the habits of hospitality!

There’s a lot to be said for UK travel; we live in the most amazing country. We may not get all the vitamin D we need from sun exposure, but even on grey days, the UK is still pretty amazing.

Here at the New Continental Hotel, we may be biased; but we think that Devon (in particular Plymouth!) is truly breathtaking. To ensure as many people regardless of their budget get to experience a little sea, city and moor in their life; we are sharing our Industry Secrets!

Seasons in hospitality are depicted in three main terms; 

Peak, Shoulder and Off

Peak Season (or High Season) is basically when the destination that you have chosen is at its most popular – it boils down to simple supply and demand! However, this can sometimes change! You see Peak Season can be set by many factors; weather, events, activities and more. More often than not it’s also set by the school term-times too. As an independent hotel we NEVER set our prices by school holidays; by graduation, Firework Championships and Ocean City Sounds yes, but school holidays, no!

Here in Plymouth, the New Continental Hotels Peak Season is predominantly May – September.

TOP TIP #1 |

If you are choosing Plymouth as your holiday destination, a really great place to start your planning is on the Visit Plymouth website. Look at the events that are scheduled; they do advance scheduling so all the way to a big year for Plymouth which is 2020. Make sure you also like destination pages on social media. You then get instant updates and news without sharing your data and receiving too many unwanted emails!

 

Shoulder Season (or Mid Season) is the time between the Peak and Low Seasons. Prices here are literally an average between Peak and Low. Normally this season is when you can negotiate great rates. It’s always best to contact the hotel directly.

Here in Plymouth, the New Continental Hotels Shoulder months are predominantly March (depending on Easter), April and October.

TOP TIP #2 |

By booking directly, a hotel will not pay any commission, so you will often find a direct booking the cheapest place to book a hotel room. Hotels may not be able to discount the rate given, but they can add value. Hotel currency is a great place to start, most hotels like to give you this as it means that your spend will stay in their hotel. Hotel currency is often a voucher to spend in their restaurant or bar or on treatments if they have a spa.

Upgrades in the Shoulder months are also more tangible as occupancy is lower, so they have more flexibility with their availability. Perhaps an upgrade to a Superior Room from a standard or Parking included in your rate. Bare in mind that hotels tend to only do this for longer stays, over three nights, but well worth a conversation!

 

Off Season (or Low Season) is when the prices are the very lowest you will find. It’s when hotels are predominantly running at a low occupancy, so have less staff working which is reflected in the pricing structure. This is when you can really grab yourself a bargain!

Here in Plymouth, the New Continental Hotels Off Season is predominantly November – February.

Top Tip #3 |

Besides paying less, visitors who come to a tourist spot like Plymouth during the off-season will enjoy less crowding, and a more laid-back atmosphere. But there are things you need to keep in mind and plan around. Whilst off-season travel is great for the purse-strings, it’s really important to remember that this could mean a change in opening hours, menus and transport links such as ferry’s. If there is a certain attraction or museum that you want to visit, call them first before booking your accommodation and check when (or if) they are open.

Also be mindful that heavily populated tourist areas, like Plymouth, use the off-season months for renovations, so could be closed or planning to change their opening hours to accommodate any facelifts or nip and tucks!

NOTE | 

During the off-seasons, you will find the most amazing bargains; three nights for two, free breakfasts and overall just crazy low prices. But hotels that are in holiday destinations will be running on fewer staff. With this in mind,  it’s important to remember you may have to wait a little for a Porter or waiting staff. Hotels sometimes will only offer their non-refundable rates during this time too, these can save you around £10-£15 per night, but it does mean that there is no chance of a refund should you not be able to make your booking.

So, a quick recap…

Off Season discounts on beds, food and more WILL save you pounds!

No matter what the season, booking your accommodation directly will give you the best rate.

Destinations in the UK are not really governed by the weather. What that means is most UK destinations will have plenty to do and see even if the heavens open! Planning is essential though, so you don’t get disappointed during your stay with a change in opening times.

Travelling in the shoulder and off seasons means that you do not have to have everything booked in advance. There are always hotel rooms available almost anywhere in the country. So if you just fell in love with a place or meet awesome like-minded travellers, you can go with the flow and your plans can be flexible. Or if you simply choose to stay an extra night – all that’s stopping you is you!

Travelling in the off season months gives you a real chance of getting tickets or reservations that might otherwise prove impossible during peak season without pre-booking months in advance.

Plymouth celebrates its winter seasons with a bunch of pretty awesome small festivals and events and community markets – and there is a lot going on in spring and autumn as well. So if the “lack of major Plymouth events” was a bother to you, be reassured, you won’t get bored in the shoulder and off season months in Plymouth!

If you are looking at staying in Britain’s Ocean City at any time, call us, we would love to welcome you to our beautiful city.

New Continental Hotel | Millbay Road | Plymouth | PL1 3LD

Tel | 01752 276798 Email | reservations@newcontinental.co.uk Web | www.newcontinental.co.uk

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