International hotel study by Julie Soléy – Julie Soley
Julie Soléy continues the market study in the United Arab Emirates
October 5, 2016
Keeping the user in the centre of innovation. Always.
March 21, 2018

Why should hotel managers buy our sunscreen shower? Therefore!

As a young startup with an unique and innovative product idea, we were often asked "How do you know, if your sunscreen shower will be bought by the hotel managers and shipping companies?". This objection is more than justified and we have to face this uncertainty right from the start. And how do you face this risk best? Come on and pack your bathing trunks, let’s visit the hotels on site! A slightly different hotel study.

Why actually 5-star hotels and cruise ships?

For years, this part of the tourism industry explodes. It can be observed, that luxury travel is accessible to an increasing number of people. What does luxury vacation mean? What does it mean, being a luxury vacationer? If you spend 2,000 Euro and more for your holiday, welcome, you are statistically a luxury vacationer. A cost that can be well achieved for many of us with some savings. Luxury vacation for the majority of us? Yes, absolutely. Just have a look on the increasing numbers of 5-star hotels and cruise ships, which are designed for family vacation. This moves our idea of creating a sunscreen shower to an even broader level, because we can address a lot more people with our product and than just a few high-end luxury folks. So, our approach tends more and more being a "health product" for many, who pay attention to skin or more exact sunburn protection. True to our vision, that we make all-round sun protection simple and pleasant, completely automatic and without annoying creaming - in all beach hotels, beach clubs and cruise liners worldwide.

Further, a very interesting development in this luxury holiday market, however, is above all the trends, that these holidays are hardly the subject to any economic fluctuations over the last few years. Demand and consumer acceptance are remainig consistently high. A very important detail when it comes to planning reliability for our customers, the hotel managers and, of course, our own business management. And the provider’s side of medal? At least in 2018, cruise line industry will not only increase in terms of passengers, but surpasses itself in their construction projects of new giant vessels. Global hotel companies have also been investing in the single-digit billions for years. All signs are focused on growth. Seems like we're in the right track.

Not only the market growth, but also the increasing pressure for innovation drives the hotel managers worldwide.
Not only to accommodate the guests once, but to make regular guests out of them, this is the lofty goal of the hotel manager. But this is becoming increasingly difficult and drives the hotels to permanent innovation and therefore investment in their assets. Especially, in the digital age, when the next hotel is just a mouse click away and the hotel no longer has to compete itself to its direct neighbors within 100 kilometers, but worldwide.

Unfortunately, many hotel managers tend to be innovative only when the guest demands it. But then, it is too late for a differentiation, because then, the former innovation is degraded to a must have for every hotel and no longer the special thing, that makes your own hotel unique. Nowadays, the hotel manager has to be ready to take the role of an experience architect, surprising her guests with holistic concepts. An example of such an gapless world of experience: pool area, own canvas chair, bar, massage, wellness ... but, if we think further, why does not the hotel also thinks about protecting the skin of the guest? So, the hotel guest could spend his hours at the pool or at the hotel beach really carefree. The hotel would have created a unique experience. Seems as if we were on the right way with our product invention of the sunscreen shower.

So what to do? It is best to ask the hotel managers themselves on site, so our plan. So, we set up an extensive questionnaire for the hotel managers, planned our destination countries as there were Greece (Crete) and Spain in Southern Europe, Northern Germany and the United Arab Emirates. And off we went. With the questionnaires and our concept drawing of the sunscreen shower in hand, we visited five star hotels in several day trips.

Arriving at the front desk, we always cheekily requested the hotel manager, because we had to show her an innovation that would fundamentally change the experience of sun protection for her guests. And the amazing thing happened: The hotel managers took their time for us, despite the fact, that we come around very spontaneous without or with very short notice. Overall, we interviewed 16 hotel managers and came back after our market research trip with 12 test hotels to Neustadt. But more importantly, the insights we gained were about decision-making, motivation and willingness to pay of the hotels in the different markets.

The results of our hotel survey were overwhelming

77% of the hotel managers confirmed, that they were constantly looking for innovations to approach their guests with new experiences and offers. Further 23% stated, that they are looking very often for innovations. This means that ALL hotel managers surveyed, are aware of the importance of innovation in their industry to entertain and attract guests. 87.5% of respondents acknowledge that wellness is important or very important for their guests. With regard to the topic of awareness of sun protection and in particular skin protection against UV radiation, the hotel managers attested with 84% that this is important or very important to their guests.

After discussing the contextual issues regarding attitudes towards wellness and sunscreen, we heading over the question and answer session directly to the sunscreen shower. When asked whether our product would be an innovative and market-relevant product, 84% fully applied, respectively applied. The hotel managers assume, that our product will be well received by their guests as it fits in perfectly with the zeitgeist and environmental conditions nowadays. 55% of the respondents would install our sunscreen shower directly in their hotels. Another 37% can imagine the installation of the suncreen shower, as soon as the first tests have been successfully completed. And this, at a time when our sunscreen shower is still in the prototype stage! For us a huge success.

In addition, it was important, getting information and assessments about the guests. A capsule system with different brands, which the hotel manager can adapt to the hotel guests needs depending on the season. The possibility creating bundles together with the hotel managers for the sunscreen shower as well as the capsules, in order to produce certain minimum acceptances and thus a reliable supply chain for hotels. But also, that all our basic technical requirements for sewage, electricity, etc. can all be simply fulfilled by the hotels. The travel tips were really valueable.

Our conclusion: market test successfully passed!
For us, as founders of Julie Soléy, this market research was incredibly important. We were able to get a first feeling for the market and how the decisions were made. And most importantly, now we are aware, that we are meeting the market needs of hotels and that our idea fully defines the expectations of our target groups concerning new hotel products. Above all, the willingness of some hotel managers to set up a paid pilot series with us gives us a very positive view of the future.

And what about the users of the sunscreen shower, the vacationers? Stay tuned, in the next article of our blog, we will talk about our widespread user study.


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