The next big thing!

This term can be applied to almost any everyday thing, but in the hotel industry this concept is paramount. Hotels are constantly looking for the next best thing. What’s the next best service, idea, amenity? What can be improved, tweaked, or revolutionized all-together? In the early 2000’s, the Westin Hotel chain took a simple idea from a catalog and transformed the way their guests enjoyed showers. The idea: the curved shower curtain rod.

If you’ve frequented hotels in the last decade you have more than likely taken a shower with one of these. Maybe you’ve even done a bathroom remodel of your own and installed one in your house. They’re great for hotels because they are able to make interior shower space seem much bigger compared to straight shower rods. They also help guests avoid the dreaded clingy shower curtain. It’s a pretty simple concept, but if you stayed at a hotel in the 90’s there’s a slim chance you would’ve seen one of these.

Thankfully, they’re one of the most common items you’ll find in hotel bathrooms today.

When did these become the standard?

You might be thinking that some genius hotel mogul with a crack R&D department came up with this idea, or a bunch of focus groups came together and brainstormed how to change the shower experience. The truth is the idea originated when a Westin associate happened to be perusing through a catalog. When she stumbled upon this innovative new shower rod she passed the idea along, which made it’s way to the desk of Westin’s CEO, Barry Sternlicht. Sternlicht described how the concept went from idea, to implementation, to completely revolutionizing the hotel industry.

“One of our best innovations came from one of our associates in Canada who happened to notice a curved shower rod in a small bathroom catalog. It was a simple little item that cost only about $13, but it opened up a whole lot of space inside a crowded shower.

We took a look at it and very quickly made it one of our standards, but of course everyone else picked up on it.
It was something that seemed obvious, but someone noticed it, our systems captured the idea, it made it to my desk and then we implemented it… It was one in a series of constant changes needed to keep our brand at the top and relevant.

That’s when big company works best, when ideas from the field get to the top without being killed along the way. When the experiences of your customers and your staff have the chance to make your product a littler better each day.”

What does the curved shower rod have to do with Plus Blue?

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, why am I reading about a shower curtain on a portable charging company’s blog? The two have nothing to do with one another. Maybe not at first, but if you think about how the curved shower curtain rod went from a little known catalog item to a standard in every Westin hotel then you might understand where I’m headed with this.

Plus Blue portable chargers could be the next curved shower curtain rod!

Individuals within the hotel industry are constantly looking for the newest, most innovative, amenities that will help better serve their guests. Consider portable chargers for a moment.

  • It’s great for professionals in-town on business
  • Vacationers who might need to stay plugged in
  • And even everyday use, because we all know how quick smartphone batteries can diminish.

But have you ever seen a portable charger in your hotel room? Probably not.

In Sternlicht’s quote mentioned earlier he says, “of course everyone else picked up on it” when talking about the curved shower curtain rod movement he started, but he also said those constant innovations kept his hotel’s brand relevant and near the top.

Being ahead of the curve in a copycat industry can make the difference between a hotel’s success, and failure. Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney Resorts, describes the thought process behind staying ahead of the curve:

“Look at what others are NOT doing, and seize that opportunity to do it yourself. It’s kind of like how in fishing it’s sometimes best to cast your line where no one else thinks there are fish.”

You could wait till other hotels implement a service into every one of their hotels, or you could be one of the first movers.

Hoteliers who are looking for the next best amenity to set themselves apart from the competition should look into Plus Blue’s portable chargers; they could very easily be the next curved shower rod.