Thistle Hotels – Hotel Room Chooser

The concept of being able to Choose Your Own Hotel Room has taken a while to become a reality in the travel industry due to the investment required to implement a solution that works for both customers and hotel managers.

Thistle Hotels run by glh is a UK-based hotel company with a portfolio of 8 Central London hotels and Thistle Poole in Dorset. The portfolio of luxury hotels offers guests a home away from home with a focus on delivering exceptional customer service. With the desire to innovate, own customer relationships and maximise brand loyalty, Thistle were seeking a trusted partner to develop a new digital platform which would offer guests a more personalised room booking process.

Strategy and planning
Filter Digital worked in close partnership with the team at glh Hotels to develop the concept of allowing customers the opportunity to choose exactly which hotel room they would like to stay in. The concept took months of planning with extensive consultation with people both involved in the industry and employees running the hotels day-to-day. A number of scenarios were also worked through, tackling questions such as room refurbishments, lack of choice, room changes and cancelations.

Once the planning work was complete Filter Digital created a prototype that met the needs of all the stakeholders, and also worked from a digital perspective.

The process of taking guests through their room booking journey was developed with simplicity in mind. Guests that meet each hotel’s criteria (i.e. booked direct) are sent an email two weeks before their stay. In this email is a secure link to a branded microsite where they are able to browse the hotel floorplans, see which rooms are available to them based on their booking, and then view features, descriptions, pictures and virtual tours of each room they can choose. Once they make a decision, they select their room choice and an email is sent to them to confirm.

In the back-end, the hotel is notified of the choice and their systems are updated internally. After extensive systems testing and design updates, the platform was launched across the full portfolio of Thistle hotels.

The result
We’re incredibly pleased that since its initial launch we have processed tens of thousands of bookings through the platform with no issues. From a survey carried out of over 11,000 responses, the platform received a high satisfaction score with 98% of users saying they would use it again. As a result of the success of the platform, utilising the prototype, we have since built out similar process for a further 15 glh hotels.

Filter Digital are proud to have pioneered and developed the new concept for glh Hotels, placing Thistle as the first major hotel brand in the world to deliver this service.

The ability for guests to choose their own hotel room is coming to the industry soon, because guests like it and they are demanding more choice and greater input over their holidays. Hotel brands will need to start delivering these services within the next 2-3 years to keep up with competitors that have already seen our model and are beginning to work on their own implementations.

The question is: can you afford not to do it?