By Larry Mogelonsky, MBA, P. Eng. (

As we enter the traditional budgetary planning period for 2020, it’s all too easy to just go through the motions and tweak what was done last year.

However, if there’s one area of guestroom operations where you can make major gains next year, it would be the bathroom. As it’s a highly personal space and thus a very sensitive one, any faults or perceived flaws therein will be emotionally charged and more likely to draw chagrin in online reviews. And if your TripAdvisor game isn’t perfect nowadays then you will have a hard time growing RevPAR over the long-term.

While every property has different allowances in terms of capital expenditures, here is a list of ten items to consider itemizing as part of the 2020 budget, many of which involve simple updates to your brand standards and training enforcement without any serious CapEx.

  1. Weird showerheads – confusing faucets, lack of water pressure, inability to adjust for different person heights, oversensitivity with water that’s either too hot or too cold
  2. Lack of towels – as a simple test, ensure that you have enough for a husband and wife pairing to both shower and use additional hand towels twice per day
  3. Lack of amenities – similar to the towel situation, a couple shouldn’t have to call down to request extras when showering bidaily
  4. Lack of bathmats – tile floors get slippery very easily and we’d all perhaps not to crack our skulls open on the sink porcelain
  5. Cramped countertops – guests want to spread out and they especially do not like when items like a toothbrush fall into the less-than-hygienic sink because of this
  6. Privacy – don’t fall for the design trap of partially frosted glass doors and definitely be sure that the doors are able to fully close
  7. Poor lighting – people who can’t see what they’re doing will become irritated when grooming themselves, and you increase the risk of someone falling
  8. Small mirrors or lack of vanity mirrors – people who have to bend and twist while grooming will likewise become irritated, not to mention any strain on the lower back
  9. Ample toilet paper – it’s always better to err on the side of too much for this one, and be sure to keep your reserves stored out of splash distance from the toilet or shower
  10. No table surface near toilet – this one is a wholly modern one whereby many travelers read off of their phones while doing their business but then need a flat, hygienic surface to temporarily store their mobiles while finishing up

Undoubtedly there are numerous others, many of which may involve actual new features that can act as value-adds to the guest experience. Alas, you have to walk before you can run, so fix the basics and make sure you’re flawless before trying anything new.

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Editor’s note: To discuss business challenges or speaking engagements please contact Larry directly.