I don't think there is a line anyone crosses on purpose. I know I've read stuff on here that makes my hair curl. Innmates are offering WAY more amenities than I do for $50+ less than I charge.
It probably depends on a lot of parameters.
Where are you located? (Lots of competition, no other reason to go to the town but for a really special retreat, attracting guests away from more populated areas, transient guests?)
What you had as your vision- keep 'em coming back with everything they could possibly want?
What you read from a trusted source? (I got all cotton sheets because I read that's what guests wanted. Hated ironing until midnight every stinkin' night in the summer, so I gave all the stinkin' cotton sheets to the homeless shelter!)
Now, there are stats that show more Worker'sComp filings as hotels got more amenities...Jacuzzis that had to be climbed into, gym equip that needed to be wiped down, king beds, etc. All of that comes at a price, especially if the mgmt thinks the same housekeeper can clean the same number of rooms when they add all that stuff into it.
My take on rooms is that they should be streamlined so it's easy in-easy out for housekeeping (me & Gomez for 8 months of the year).
I've looked at places that charge $1500/night that are in some of the most depressed parts of the Adirondacks. A few miles away you can get a basic room for $59/night. So, you can make your place the reason someone goes to that depressed little town or you can just take advantage of whatever business happens down the pike at $59..
Where are you located? (...no other reason to go to the town but for a really special retreat...
[Arkansawyer raises hand.]
...attracting guests away from more populated areas...
[Arkansawyer raises other hand.]
You nailed me perfectly. I've GOT to offer lots of amenities, and the beer/wine permit. Otherwise, there are minimal reasons for anybody to visit this place! Certainly, some amenities will cost more than the room rate will repay. But some guests come for one thing, others come for a different amenity. I feel I've got to offer lots of different things to attract a few people from point A, a few more from point B, who want different things.
And if none of it works out, I'll put on the thinking cap and come up with Plan B.
I hate to tell you but amenities will not bring them - there has to be another reason. They can get beer & wine down the street, why travel to you?
Take some Sunday drives within 60 miles in every direction.route of your place. What do you find? A little museum? A craft shop? An historic site? A breath-taking view? A lake or fising hole? Market this.
Nice amenities count but why are they going to be there to use your amenities?
...amenities will not bring them...
In thinking about this some more, I agree you're right of course, but I'm also thinking this mainly applies to the first visit.
In my travels I've never gone to a town just because I want to stay at a really nice accommodation I've read about. But I can tell of many instances where, once I got there, I liked the inn so much that as we're leaving, I'm saying, "I definitely will be back here some day!"
If people have a really great experience, and really enjoy some of the amenities and the time they had with you, I do think that can play a big part in bringing people back for future stays, assuming, as you say, there are also some things to do in the area, which I think any place on earth can provide, at least to some extent.