Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three stupid mistakes smart hotels make

I spend a fair amount of time in hotels. Most of them are upscale establishments with rates to match. They work hard at delivering the levels of service and luxury that their clients demand from them. The intelligence behind their approaches is always evident.

Despite those attempts, they all make the same three stupid mistakes.

Crappy bandwidth

On weekdays, most rooms in most nice hotels are full of business travelers. Those folks--heck, almost all Americans today--need high-speed Internet connectivity to do their work in the evenings. I understand that commercial bandwidth is expensive--we spend a great deal on it for our company--but at the prices these places charge there is no excuse for making people wait five and ten times as long for downloads in their rooms as they would at home.

Worse, these luxury hotels typically charge through the nose for their bandwidth. Stay at a cheap Super 8, and the bandwidth is likely to be free, but in a nicer establishment you can expect at least $9.99/day and often $12.99/day.

Charge me a "resort fee" if you must, but give me decent bandwidth.

Stupid device assumptions

I travel with at least two devices--a smart phone and a notebook--that require connectivity. Many people also bring a pad. Worse, many rooms contain two people. Despite these obvious facts, the nice hotels are set up to allow only one Internet-connected device per room.

Come on, folks, step into the 2000s and start supporting all the devices a room's occupants happen to have.

Ice bucket roulette

I love ice. A soda isn't right without it. Neither is water if I have the choice. This mania for ice may come from growing up in Florida, but it's one my brother and sister share, as do my kids. We're not alone, either; many people love ice.

So, one of the first things I do when I settle into a room is wrestle with the always tricky ice condom, manage to get it into the container, and fill the ice bucket. I don't mind doing that, though I'd prefer to dispense with the ice condom and just have them clean the bucket, but therein lies the rub: Once you're in a room, hotels are just as likely to pretend the ice bucket doesn't exist as to do anything with it.

You leave in the morning, expecting them to clean it as they do the rest of the room. Nope. When you return, the melted ice is there, you have no new ice condom, and the thing is wherever you left it. Or, they've take out the ice condom but obviously not touched the bucket, and now you have to decide whether to use the bare container. (I always do, because I will not go without ice.)

The ice bucket deserves the same regular cleaning as the rest of the room.

I don't expect hotels to address these shortcomings, but I promise that any time I stay in one that does, I'll make sure to recommend it to you.

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