An Open Letter to Hoteliers From a Frequent Traveler
Dear hotel owner/operator/manager,
I travel a lot for work. I am not a business traveler with a big expense account (sigh, regrettably), and so I generally pick whatever hotel is closest to where I need to be. For me, a hotel is a place to sleep and to catch up on whatever I missed in the course of my travel day. So here are my requests to you:
1. Give me good Internet access
I can't tell you how many times I've had to stand near hallway doors with my phone/laptop in the air to get the performance I needed to download a file before checking out. It’s just good business sense – my colleagues have even created a Wi-Fi ROI calculator.
You can earn bonus points from me if I don’t have to continually sign in to your network. I’ll happily use wired connectivity if you give me a nice place to sit. You have to include an Ethernet cable though, I don't carry one myself. And it goes without saying that the performance of your network has to be decent – I don’t need to stream HD videos or anything, but with technologies like 802.11ac, I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m on dialup either.
2. Give me a decent in-room phone
Ok, yes, I do travel with a mobile phone – but since I am often being charged for roaming when I travel, I prefer not to use it. I dream of the hotel that lets me have a direct line to my room so I can be called without involving a switchboard or front desk. Using tools like OpenTouch Conference work best when I am using a direct line. While we’re at it -- is it too much to ask for a speaker phone that is loud enough that I can hear it throughout the room? Participating in morning conference calls on checkout day where I have to be milling about my room to collect my stuff is really hard if I can’t do it from a speakerphone.
3 .A bedside clock
This is a really easy one. Yes, please. And if I could request that the alarm not be pre-set for 5AM and that it’s not so bright as to be blinding, I’d be even happier.
4. Power for my stuff
I need outlets at the bedside since that’s where I want to charge my phone. I need outlets at my desk since that's where I want to use my laptop. That’s it.
5. In-room controls
Please give me the ability to control the temperature in my room and whether my fan comes on. It has to be easy to use. Oh, one other thing -- how about not-too-bright lights that come on when I get out of bed in the dark? Walking into furniture while still half asleep is such a drag…
6. Streamline check-in like you do checkout
The car rental companies have this one figured out. When I rent a car, I arrive at the big board, see what space my car is in, and go. Hassle-free. When I come to your hotel, I’d like that experience rather than having to stand in line and wait. Checkout is now generally hassle free – thank you – but please, email me the receipt the morning I'm leaving; don't make me have to keep a paper copy. I always lose them.
Thanks for listening. I’d be a loyal guest if I could count on these simple things. Oh, and read more about remarkable guest experiences: this will surely give you food for thoughts in delivering the experience that’ll keep me returning to your property.
Many thanks for your attention,