How to: analyze a hotel (cambridge hotels)

For our Introductory to Hospitality class, we had to pick an area and analyze hotels within that area. First impressions last forever, and when we walked in the hotel and talked to the employees we definitely could tell what the hotel was all about. My group’s area was Cambridge, Boston. We decided to compare the Hyatt, The Royal Sonesta, and the Hotel Marlowe. Before going to the actual hotel itself we had to know some of the basics about the hotel including the quality, segment, number of rooms, location and such. Upon arriving we had to figure out what the demand for the hotel is and what the general customers for the hotel are. Here below is a chart comparing all three.

When you want to analyze a hotel, try to use the graph below to analyze your hotels!

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As you can see the target customer for all three hotels, as stated by the employees we talked to, were professionals participating in conferences. With this in mind, there were many areas we could compare and contrast because all three are hotels are inevitably in competition for the same customers.

Next, we had to answer a few questions about the hotels themselves. We had to describe the ambiance of the hotel as well as strengths and weaknesses about the hotel. This is a way for you to understand which hotel has better accommodations and amenities. Again, use this as a way to distinguish your hotel from competitors and see which one is best suited for you!

Identify the top three strengths and weaknesses of each property

The Royal Sonesta

There were three main strengths for the Royal Sonesta hotel. The first strength was that the Royal Sonesta was designed with many different seating areas, perfect for conducting small casual meetings, which is beneficial for the business guests they cater to.  Another strength was the organization for the conventions. The Sonesta has multiple rooms with each room named and monitors that told members that attended the conferences where to go and where the conference room was and each room was professionally set up and well labeled to make deciphering where to go easy. As a part of the convention each convention was well advertised with posters or information about the conference at every part of the hotel. The last strength was the guest rooms at the Royal Sonesta.  The guest rooms at the Royal Sonesta were very modern with a clean appearance, making them welcoming to travelers.  There were three downsides to the Royal Sonesta. First, was the dingy looking lobby.  The tan color used to decorate showed wear and made it look aged instead of modern.  Also, the lobby appeared dingy because obvious rips in wall paper, chairs and wood decorations were seen.  The second weakness was the structure of the conference rooms. The conference rooms were not naturally lit, making all day meetings a dreary experience.  The conference rooms also did not have windows which gave a claustrophobic feeling.  Finally, the last weakness are the guest rooms. The guest rooms were small, even though modern looking.  For a multi-night stay, a guest may feel cramped as the bathroom size was unusually small and the space throughout the room was limited.

 Hotel Marlowe

There were three strengths for the Hotel Marlowe first was the lobby. The lobby has an impressive entrance way that faces a library room decorated in a middle eastern style. At this library room they offered refreshing complimentary drinks and snacks for guests. The  second strength was the conference rooms. The conference rooms have large windows with scenic overlooks, making sitting in a single room all day slightly more enjoyable.  The last strength was the rooms. Each of the guest rooms were spacious with floor to ceiling windows.  The Hotel Marlowe definitely provides comfortable spaces for transient travelers. The first flaw for the Hotel Marlowe have is the small lobby.  There is not much room to accommodate large groups of people coming for an event or checking in at once because the hotel is more narrow than it is wide. The second weakness is the external appearance of the hotel. The external appearance of the hotel was not as majestic as the internal appearance.  The entrance is off the street, down a cement pathway.  It does not look like a top hotel resides there from street view.  Finally, the Hotel Marlowe only had one restaurant and bar with little seating.  There were not many options of places to go for people to have a small conversation over drinks unless the conference or function provided food within the conference or function room. Though the Hotel Marlowe’s main business comes from transient business travelers, they definitely are not as meeting area focused.

The Hyatt Cambridge

The Hyatt Cambridge has three strengths, the first is the lobby. The Hyatt Cambridge has a large lobby area that is fantastic for accommodating large groups of people for conferences. There was always space to walk around the entire hotel and plenty of chairs and tables to sit at. The lobby is more wide than it is narrow and so it helped accommodate more people.  The second strength was the layout of the hotel. The atrium style creates the feeling of grandness upon arrival, making the Hyatt an impressive location to have functions. Upon walking in you could see the elevator making its trips to the floors which was also visually appealing for guests. The third strength was the food and beverage areas. The bar and restaurant area has many different seating areas to diversify dining experiences when there.  The downside to the Hyatt is the confusion in the large lobby.  It is somewhat difficult to find different areas of the lobby.  There are many different hallways, pathways, and there was no guidance to where each conference was held except a couple of banners. Secondly, since it is an atrium, the noise was excessive in the lobby, which would make having personal conversations difficult. Even between the four of us it was hard to have conversations. Finally, the decor seemed to be worn down.  Many of the seats appeared stained or torn and the carpet was obviously dirty.  Still, the large amount of space and proximity to Cambridge and Boston makes the Hyatt a good location for big meetings.

Describe the ambiance of each property using examples of your observations to support your descriptions

The Royal Sonesta

Walking into the Hotel Sonesta, the structure of the lobby resembles a structure of a horizontal hallway. Walking along the right side, you can access the front desk, concierge, lobby, fitness and center, the art bar, and the business center, and walking along the left side, you can access the other restaurant, parking, and elevators. The ambiance was very contemporary. There were contemporary paintings and sculptures every foot you stepped and even the furniture was very modern contemporary. Each picture had a label to it, if you wanted to find out more information. The Royal Sonesta founders were patrons on the art as said by the sales and marketing manager and so they loved that their hotel had an art environment. I felt like I was in a very artsy environment with the restaurants even including the art theme into the dining experience. Walking in and looking at the people around, everyone was mainly business people. Everyone was practically in suits with nametags. Everyone in the lobby was tech savvy with their computers, iphones, and ipads with them almost all the time. The atmosphere definitely was one that was business oriented

Hotel Marlowe

It is a very artsy, boutique hotel. On walking in, we first encountered a beautiful seating area with a variety of bold and modern chairs, sofas, and couches, along with a fireplace. The floor was decorated by a loud and busy carpet. The color scheme seen throughout the hotel is blue, red, and beige. These colors make the hotel look vibrant. The hotel was relatively quiet when we walked in except for when we were checking in where there was loud spanish music coming from the restaurant. The second floor was devoted to conference rooms and function space. These rooms were large, with huge windows and a nice view. The ambiance was very boutique-style. Upon walking in, you would not feel as if you were in a hotel predominantly for business conferences, but rather a place for luxury. Compared to the Royal Sonesta and the Hyatt, we felt like we were in a much trendy hotel.

The Hyatt

From the street, the Hyatt makes a profound statement. Its pyramid architecture invokes curiosity. Once inside, the atrium design provides a perspective of its sheer size and wide opens space which displays each floor of its 475 rooms. This three-star, four-diamond property displays its grandiose presidential ballroom on its first floor next to its lobby to boast its mass. This upscale/business hotel appeals greatly to the working professional who is visiting to attending a conference. This full-service, mixed-use Hyatt is conveniently located in Kendal Square, just across the Boston University Bridge from Commonwealth Avenue.  Along with banners and posters advertising conventions, the lobby also was equipped with self-check in machines which can allow patrons to check into their rooms and continue about their business. The front lobby and rooms appear to be very well maintained and well kept, more so than the Royal Sonata. With its sheer size and its exquisite maintenance, the Hyatt seems to overpower the other two properties and supersede them as a hotel.

Finally we had to decide which hotel is better for the customer, as well as what we liked the best! Use this to make the deciding factor for what hotel you prefer out of the ones you are comparing.

Explain which hotel offers the best value and why

With the two bars, a swimming pool, spa and ample meeting space, the Royal Sonesta comes out as the best value.  The hotel has planned activities for children, guided running tours, and recreational supplies like bikes available to guests free of charge.  Also, the lobby features original pieces from contemporary artists, including Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Jonathan Borofsky, making a stroll down the hall a cultural experience.  The room rate for the Royal Sonesta is also consistently lower than the other two hotels, even though they are in the same area and have similar ratings.  With the ample amenities offered to guests free of charge, and the wide selection of activities within the hotel, the Royal Sonesta is definitely the best value, even though it is not the overall best hotel.

Explain which hotel has the competitive advantage and why?

The Hyatt in Cambridge has competitive advantage over The Royal Sonesta and Hotel Marlowe. Not only does it have a bigger lobby and lots of space in general, but also has a larger number of rooms and function spaces as compared to the other two hotels. This atrium style hotel with glass elevators in the center, was better maintained than the other two hotels. It has user-friendly kiosks that makes check-in and check-out easier and faster. The Hyatt has both, a 4 diamond rating, like the other two hotels, as well as a 3 star rating that differentiates it. Moreover, the room rates are cheaper at the Hyatt compared to Hotel Marlowe, giving it a cost advantage, and the rates are comparable to that of The Royal Sonesta. The Hyatt also has a magnificent design because of the atrium style and an incredible view overlooking the Charles River and the Boston architecture on the other side of the Cambridge bridge.

 Explain which hotel you like the best?

I definitely loved the Hotel Marlowe over the other two. It’s exciting to not stay in a typical hotel, but rather a boutique one. Why not have your conferences in a hotel that is a little bit more trendy than the rest? Hotel Marlowe has a great conference space. It is more intimate, it is spacious, and it has great windows in each conference room to let some light in and scenery show. I also love that they had complimentary canoes where people can rent the canoes and take them along the charles river for a nice little adventure. When selecting a place of temporary residence I have criteria that must be met, mainly: Amenities, Proximity, and Affordability. While traveling the working professional must be able to maintain their typical lifestyle as well as their professional life without missing a step or breaking the bank. It is important for this reason to keep everything a person could ever need or want within the walls of the hotel so as to limit the amount of time wasted getting to these places. Within all three hotels I,  found the following available: adequate living space, convention and conference rooms, a restaurant, a bar, and fitness center. All three hotels meet these criteria. The Hotel Marlowe is directly next to the mall, so even though the hotel lacks more than one restaurant and bar, you can always grab a quick bite at the Cambridge Mall two seconds away!

I love the employees, I love the ambiance and the decor, and some day I definitely hope to intern at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge Boston!

So finally you see how I analyzed three hotels in the same area. I first filled out basic information about each hotel then went into detail about the hotels ambiance and strengths and weaknesses. Then it comes down to the nitty gritty where we have to pick what hotel is best for the customer and what hotel is best for you too! Follow this template and I’m sure you will get an A.

I couldn’t have done this without my team Alex Tomasi, Colin Daly, and Skylar!

Until then,

Happy Traveling!

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