When guests of the Peninsula Beverly Hills walk into their rooms, their noses will know the hotel has found a way to stand out from ever-sharper competition.
The hotel hired Anthousa, a Seattle-based home-fragrance manufacturer, to develop three subtle scent mixes: aqua verbena, nectarine and red currant, and cucumber and green grass. When booking a room, guests may request a room scented with one of the three aromas, or opt for unscented lodgings.
But not just connoisseurs of perfume get pampered at arguably L.A.'s most upscale hotel. Kids do, too.
For younger guests, the hotel provides car-beds and a medley of gifts, which include teddy bears in Peninsula T-shirts, tote bags and coloring books.
Even Chihuahuas and Great Danes get the Peninsula treatment. The pet-friendly hotel provides monogrammed pillows and beds as well as walking services. Canine guests are also offered in-room dining. The doggie room-service menu features steak dinners and other items such as Tail Shakin Not Stirred Martini, which is low-sodium beef bouillon; and Hot Dog for the Top Dogs, beef sausage served without a bun.
"It's an absolute hit," said Offer Nissenbaum, general manager of the Peninsula. "Even if people don't order the pet steak, they like to talk and kid about it."
In a few months, the pets checking in at the hotel will also have the luxury of spa services, including massages and grooming services maybe even acupuncture.
The Peninsula introduced the aroma options this month, and its kid- and dog-friendly services about three months ago.
Even in the midst of today's financial crisis, the majority of Peninsula hotel rooms continue to sell out, thanks to the affluent guest population that can afford a $500 nightly rate. This summer, the Peninsula had a record number of guests, with over 90 percent occupancy.
However, competing with existing and new local luxury hotels is on the general manager's marketing agenda.
"As the competitive marketplace expands, the Peninsula is setting new benchmarks to raise the bar," Nissenbaum said. "Our attention to detail and level of personalization is what keeps our guests coming back even in the current market environment, and they, in turn, become our most effective marketing strategies."
Chekitan Dev, associate professor at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, said customized guest services have become a trend in the luxury hotel industry and more interesting services will appear in the market.
"The amenities being offered in hotly contested luxury hotel markets are often 'me too' services," Dev said. "In the coming months, more focused and proprietary amenities of luxury brands will roll out to differentiate themselves from the competition."
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