The Hotel Guru Recommends…

Hugh Graham-Watson, Managing Director of, has a mission: To find good hotels. Pure and simple. Working alongside a group of 75 acclaimed travel professionals, Hugh believes that great customer service can go a long way, and often finds that the small things can make the biggest difference.


Delivery of great customer service for a guest at hotel reception

“At the end of the day, it all boils down to a hotel’s soul.” 

Hugh Graham-Watson, Managing Director,


For me, a good hotel doesn’t require an amazing spa, a first class meeting room or an extravagant suite. A ‘good’ hotel boils down to great customer service…

Having worked in the Industry for 25 years, I’ve stayed in my fair share of hotels. And every time, the hotels that stand out aren’t the most expensive, but are those that really go the extra mile.

I recently stayed at a hotel in Copenhagen that got this spot on. From the warm welcome on arrival to the attentive, polite staff, the service was truly impeccable. And, from the bedside lighting to the carefully placed hooks in the bathroom, every little detail had been carefully thought through. These small touches needn’t cost the earth.

Hotel guest reading a newspaper

The Small Touches

The right lighting in bedrooms can make a world of difference. North-facing rooms can easily be transformed into bright, positive spaces, and can help lift a guest’s mood. Plenty of in-room lighting ensures it is more than easy to pick up your book or carry on working allowing you to relax, ready to rest.

Consumer reading reviews on mobile device.

Top Technology

Plugs are important too. From tablets to e-readers, these days we travel with a lot of electrical kit, so equipping bedrooms with plenty of sockets and spare chargers are small things that can make a lasting impression.

Full coffee cup on saucer on hotel breakfast table

Better Beverages

Then there’s coffee. Great coffee can make a guest’s stay. All too often we hear about guests leaving hotels in search of coffee, and this needn’t be the case. Refreshment is a welcome offering to guests after a long journey, so for hoteliers, making great coffee available across the hotel is a no brainer.

Arial view of a table with mug of NESCAFÉ coffee, coffee sachets, KITKAT biscuits with car keys and hotel room key.

Maximise Moments

Great food and drink makes a world of difference. As a guest, there are many moments when you might fancy a drink or a bite to eat, from a snack at the bar to a sweet treat in your room. If you cater for this, and do it well, you will reap the rewards.


Hugh Top Tips

We are committed to supporting business with our dedicated Pro Care package.


Always put guests first. Invest time in staff training. This is so important. Your focus on training could really make a difference to a guest’s stay.

Knowing and supporting your local area is a real win for hoteliers. learn more here.


As a hotel guest, you sometimes feel you could be anywhere in the world. The best hotels are ones that show guests they support their community and really know their local area. Putting postcards in bedrooms is a nice touch, while supporting local suppliers by featuring local produce on menus is also important.



Think about the small things that will help make a guest’s stay that little bit easier. Hooks for hanging robes and towels are always useful. Lots of charging sockets are a must for guests with tablets, phones and kindles. And free Wi-Fi is essential!

Arial view of after dinner coffee and AFTER EIGHT mints


Great coffee can go a long way! For guests, a good cup could turn an average hotel experience into a good one.

Customer looking at the hotel restaurant menu

Maximising Moments

Maximise food and drink ‘moments’. Hotel bars are great places to relax with a drink and bite to eat. Get your bar menu right and think from the guests’ perspective: ‘Is it welcoming?’ ‘Do I want to sit here?’ These things are important.

Woman enjoying a coffee at a hotel.


No matter how grand your restaurant, how good your food or how comfy your beds, good hotels always have soul. If your staff love what they do, are passionate about the hotel they work in and put guests’ needs first, then in my opinion you could really make a guest’s stay.