As a visitor to your town, staying in one of your member properties, here is what I’m thinking these days….

Full-service hotels need to rethink what “service” means to the traveler.

My idea of a wallet-worthy full service hotel does NOT include:

  • Charges for WiFi, which invariably has a weak signal because you don’t have routers and boosters on every floor. I expect free WiFi like I expect the TV to work (and it’s a lot more important to me.)
  • Charges for parking – except for big urban hotels, where space is at a premium and parking fees are more acceptable.
  • Those tacky $6 bottles of water in the room.  See Chris Brogan’s Man on the Go open letter to the hotel industry about that….
  • No breakfast, not even a muffin and cup of coffee. No, I won’t pay $15 plus tip for your overpriced Continental delivered to my room. That’s not pampering; that’s highway robbery. No, I don’t have time nor interest in eating an equally overpriced plated breakfast in your cavernous-yet-always-empty restaurant downstairs.

No, your fancy sheets, 48 pillows and giant flat screen TV do not make up for the above. Making me join your loyalty program for such benefits seems pretty cheesy, especially if I don’t plan to stay at your properties much in the future.

I’m not that into you, and neither is my wallet.

The Hampton Inn and Suites down the road has you beat on all fronts, and I’ll join their loyalty program because I actually feel LOYAL to them for their high-value lodging experience.

Have you heard? There are some problems with the economy these days. Even expense account travelers, your favorite cash cow, are looking for value.

Get with the program.

In Houston recently, I was so peeved about being charged for parking that I took the time to add a Tip on Foursquare about how to find the free parking garage around the corner. Ironically, my check-in to add the Tip was enough to make me Mayor of the hotel.

If only I really was; the things I would change….

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