Why Your Property Doesn’t Have to Be Full-Service

By Alex Gaggioli, August 25, 2016


Sometimes it seems like every source is telling you to offer more amenities and services to your guests endlessly. Come to find out, that may be bad advice for your property. Many name-brand hotels are scaling down on their full-service properties and building more “light touch” properties. Not everyone wants to stay in a hotel that doesn’t require them to leave. Recent hospitality trends from large properties show that all the bells and whistles may not be the number one selling point. Depending on your property, that’s potentially great news. Here, we’ll explain why your property can succeed as a limited or selective-service property.

Different Types of Properties


Generally, there are three different ways properties are segmented: full-service, select-service, and limited service, according to USA Today. A full-service property generally has extra services, such as a concierge, bar and restaurant, large lobby, pool, gym, business center etc. On the other hand, a limited-service property will still have basics like cable and WiFi, but lack the extra amenities.

A limited-service property isn’t built for the type of guest who wants to hang out on-site all day long. A guest will almost certainly have to leave the hotel for food, drinks, and entertainment purposes. The property acts more like a “home base” for traveling rather than the destination. This is not to say a limited property can’t be sought after in its own right.

Changing Trends

Full-service properties are more expensive to run because of the extra labor and other operating costs. For that simple reason, large properties are turning away from the full-service model. As a small to medium-sized property owner, you’re well aware of the extra costs associated with offering more included services.

Properties can maintain better margins and increase profits by cutting included services and moving to a select-service model. Smart and practical are the leading trends, according to Skift, and the opulence of full-service properties are slowly fading. There will always be a place for full-service properties, as they are often the most sought out properties. But, generational shifts, increased business travel, and certain types of family travel are influencing the way people travel.  

Skift points out the changes Hilton has made to its millennial-focused brand. There are large TVs with many channels and comfy beds, but in-room extras like desks, large bathrooms, and closets are gone. Hilton has done a lot of research on what younger generations care about in their rooms.

Hotel News Now also pointed out the growth of select-service properties in urban areas, primarily for business travelers. These select-service properties offer all the basic luxuries you’d expect in a traditional hotel room, including a good bed, TV, desk, chairs, bathroom, and closet. However, large ballrooms, bars, and restaurants, etc. are left out.

Large hotel brands are moving away from full-service properties because they’re more expensive for real estate developers to build. A select-service property, on the other hand, is cheaper because it maximizes space and potential room revenue.

Taking Advantage of the Trend

As an independent property owner, you likely won’t carry out extensive renovations every seven to ten years. But, what you can do is pay attention to what your guest use and what they don’t. It’s possible to cut costs while continually satisfying your customers.

In this ebook you can learn how independent properties can mimic what the large properties do to stay ahead of the curve. One piece of advice is keeping track of common trends. The shift away from full-service is a trend I suggest following. Younger travelers, and often older as well, enjoy spending more time in open areas and having places to socialize. Not to say that rooms aren’t luxurious, trendy, or comfortable. It’s quite the opposite actually. Younger travelers want rooms that are welcoming and comfortable to stay in, they just may not require all the space traditional hotels have.

It’s important to note distinctions between select-service hotels for business travelers, millennials, and families because they all require different amenities. A person traveling for business is almost certainly going to need a desk in their room. While millennial-focused hotels are betting that they won’t need a desk, bathtubs, or closets, that isn’t exactly enticing for a business traveler.

It’s all about knowing your customer base, which we’ll talk about in the next section. In the article from Hotel News Now, mentioned above, they discussed on select-service hotels focused on business travelers could appeal to family travelers on the weekend. The main points included exchanging some services for others, like adding a concierge on the weekend or switching the throw pillows and blankets in the room to those with more color and zest.

Know Your Guests


Select-service and limited-service properties work best for guests who are using your property to relax and unwind after spending the majority of their day off-site. Business professionals or families on vacation are two such guests who I could see enjoying a select-service property the most.

Consider a business professional in town to attend a conference. They will spend the majority of their time working, and want to come back to the property simply to relax. The properties they stay in don’t need meeting rooms, ballrooms, or doormen. A place to grab snacks, coffee, and potentially a breakfast at the hotel buffet works for them.  

Families can obviously take many different types of vacations. Some vacations include laying at a hotel’s pool all day long while sipping on fancy drinks. And other vacations will be spent touring the town all day and fitting in as many museums as possible. In the latter case, select-service hotels are more attractive to these families. Select-service and limited-service hotels are generally less expensive than full-service, something many families seek on their vacations.

If you’ve considered adding amenities or services to your property to become more a full-service property, first consider who your travelers are. Select-service properties often work a great compromise to full-service properties because they still supply many of the same amenities, but they just will not be included in the full price. For example, your property may not deliver newspapers to every room, but they’re available for purchase at the front desk.


The pressure to continually add amenities and services may seem strong at times. But in reality, it’s all about figuring out what your customers want and determining what works for you. Guests are looking for certain amenities rather than a semantic description. Identify what services and amenities are most important to your property. Preferences vary widely from guest to guest, so offering a different experience by guest type is often necessary. Whether that means a plush bed and large tv, and no desk, or something else, it’s up to you to figure out how to capitalize on the growing trend of hyper-efficient and effective properties.

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