Today is your lucky day. Marriott is discontinuing paper delivery. Fresh from the Financial Times, here's the latest scoop:
Marriott to discontinue paper delivery
By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York
Published: April 13 2009 23:42 | Last updated: April 13 2009 23:42
Guests at Marriott International’s US hotels will no longer stumble over the familiar copy of USA Today as they leave their rooms, after falling demand prompted the group to announce changes to its free newspaper delivery system.
Marriott’s decision is expected to cut the number of papers it provides by 18m copies a year, in the latest blow to a US newspaper industry suffering from dwindling circulation and advertising revenues.
“I visit more than 250 hotels a year, and more often than not, I’m stepping over unclaimed newspapers as I walk down the hallway,” said JW Marriott Jr, chairman and chief executive.
As business travellers have become used to checking news on their laptops and smartphones, demand for free newspapers delivered to Marriott’s 2,600 hotels has tumbled by 25 per cent, leaving a quarter of copies unread.
Marriott will now ask guests at its full-service hotel chains such as Marriott and Renaissance whether they want USA Today, the Wall Street Journal – the hotelier’s other national partner – a local paper, or no paper.
At other chains, to include Courtyard and Fairfield Inn, customers will have to pick up their copies from the lobby.
The decision revises a 25-year partnership between Marriott and Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, which built its national brand by presenting business travellers with free copies in hotels.
The 1.3m copies distributed daily by hotels accounted for more than half of the title’s average paid circulation of 2.3m when last measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulations in September.
The changes would cost USA Today about 3 per cent of its circulation, a spokeswoman for the title estimated.
New circulation figures due on April 27 are expected to show a slump in business travel had begun to weigh on USA Today’s circulation even before Marriott’s announcement.
Craig Moon, its publisher, told the Wall Street Journal last week the slowdown had resulted in a 7 per cent decline in copies distributed by means of hotel partners.
Marriott’s “opt-in” approach might be welcomed, however, by advertisers. Advertisers regard readers who have no choice but to pick up a certain paper as less valuable than those who have paid for it or chosen to receive it.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009
As a frequent business traveler, I occasionally read the USA Today at my door, however, most of the time it goes straight to the recycling bin. It would be a nice alternative to have a smaller number of papers at the lobby desk and let guests pick them up as desired.
Another issue I have is that Marriott hasn't caught up with other hotels' "green" initiatives. I would really like to see Marriott move to an "every 3 days" policy for changing linens unless the guest specifically requests their sheets to be changed or leave their towel on the floor. Tons of phosphates and chemicals enter our water system due to detergents harming wildlife and polluting our streams, lakes and oceans. This is one simple way to not only save the hotel money and to be more sustainable. I urge Marriott to step up and take action to be more earth friendly!
Some properties have gone a little further (farther?) and begun to use towels made with bamboo fibers, which are softer, but require less detergent to get them clean.
A personal pet peeve I have is the plastic laundry bags hanging in the closet. If the corporation looked they could find some kind of paper bags that would replace these flimsy ones.
Also, what sbout discounted parking for hybrid vehicles and free parking for all electric ones?