Please. Help me understand your complete lack of industry standards. I am constantly amazed by how hotels worldwide posses an uncanny ability to get some things astoundingly perfect while getting other things egregiously wrong. Now I know that I’m not alone in my thinking here, so I’m offering some suggestions for you to consider. They’re not really amenities I’m looking for, just some standardized features to make your guests lives away from home a tad less aggravating. Because there really is more to satisfying us than giving us topshelf toiletries.
- Wifi: If I can get a day’s worth of wifi free, simply for the price of a coffee, why then do you insist on charging me to use your wifi after I’ve already paid you hundreds or even thousands of dollars? Further, why is the wifi disproportionately expensive to the rest of the room? If you are charging $200 a night for my room, $20 daily for wifi per day is only economically viable if one is going to sit in their room and work on the internet for a very long time or I am going to do something worth the investment. Then, you charge for internet from midnight to midnight, but people check out at noon. This ensures that people will pay for more day’s worth of access than their actual stay. I would venture a guess that an increasing number of guests use wifi more than than they turn on the television (and certainly more than use the pool). It is now a standard utility, a cost of doing business..
- Let me plug things in: We’re a decade into the 21st century. We travel with laptops, iPods, digital cameras. Recharging batteries is a fact of life. We need to work and we need to work where we primarily spend time - on the bed in the room. Most often we want to put our feet up, open our laptops and go to work (using the Wifi). Having plugs near the bed and not just one on the desk would be very helpful
- People sleep in hotels: This may come as a shock, but while we’re not on our hands and knees knocking over lamps looking for an outlet to plug in our charger, we use our hotel rooms to sleep. That being said, could you please explain the logic behind outfitting floor to ceiling widows with opaque, room-darkening drapes, but not addressing the five inch gaps around them which direct 5:45 am sun into my face like I’m being interrogated? \
- People are still sleeping in hotels: Why would you have master switches that turn on and off everything in the room yet and not leave one light independent (in the bathroom, perhaps)? That way when someone is asleep and their companion gets up in the middle of the night, the room doesn’t explode with light that rivals the Las Vegas strip?
- Park this: Random costs for parking that are never communicated to the guest before arrival are likewise frustrating. In Vancouver, BC, at different 4 star hotels, you can pay anywhere from $15 to $45 dollars a night for parking. Same part of town, same level of hotel, same car being parked – radically different pricing. Parking is a horrific hidden cost for hotel stays and for many it can be a per diem buster.
- People are still trying to sleep in hotels: That being said, maybe housekeeping should reconsider walking the halls, knocking on doors while singing “housekeepiiiinng!” at 8 o'clock in the morning. Think of it this way, would you expect Best Buy to be open at 8 am? If you were calling a friend, Would you call a friend just to chat at 8 am? Perhaps housekeeping can quietly visit the rooms of those people who have already confirmed their departure. Then everyone else doesn't get a percussive singing and unexpected wake up call.
- No, really, people sleep in hotels: If there is a Do Not Disturb sign on the door, please don't call the room and announce you can't clean the room so long as there is a sign on the door. Maybe, just maybe, the person inside is…asleep. Because, well, they are in a hotel.
Now, having said all this, I really need to let Hilton, Marriott, and Westin know that my favorite unassuming little Vietnamese hotel tucked into a random sidestreet in Hanoi sidestreet, gives me complimentary wifi, water, and plugs, enough outlets to power a Who concert, It's a beautiful little place with awesome customer service. I’ve have stayed in countless hotels over the last 20 years. I am a Hilton gold member, and this place in Hanoi is by far my favorite hotel. Ever. It has neither a swimming pool nor a view to speak of, it is just simply a fine place for a busy and jetlagged traveler to call his temporary home. It allows me to sleep, and when I need something it seems to appear before I finish uttering the request. They really want me to be comfortable – not just awed by a pretty bathroom (which they also have).