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Just got to thinking that we (as a group) expect certain things in a lodging experience that transcend the door we enter and four walls of the room in which we stay.
That being said, what elements of a stay at a hotel (can be Marriott or other) make your line of work, your business, easier to do? Said another way, what about a hotel stay increases your productivity and ability to work effectively?
My list would include:
Notice that I left Elite recognition off the list? It's nice but not necessary.
Seems like we just had this thread:
Anyway, my suggestions would be:
- Convenient electrical outlets. I don't like having to unplug lamps or move furniture to get to an outlet.
- Sometimes for my job, I have to ship a lot of expensive equipment ahead of time. I will sometimes work in remote places, so I ship it to the hotel. So far, the Marriotts I've shipped to have been able to accept and store my stuff without a problem. I realize this may be a special thing that only I need, so take this with a grain of salt.
- And if I do forget something in my room, it would be be nice if they could ship it back to me. Last summer I left a charger in my room. I called the hotel, and the manager located it and promised to ship it to me. I never received it. Yes, I could have followed up and called him back, but I figure if he blew me off once, he'd blow me off again.
- Do not make us stand in line to check in.
- Earlier breakfast hours. I miss a lot of free breakfasts because they open too late for me to get some food and make it to where I need to be.
- More upgrades. I think that lots of time that I'm denied an upgrade is because I paid the government rate. They see that I'm paying a relatively low fare, and make some excuse why there are no rooms available. Happened to me this weekend, although this time I wasn't paying the government rate (they said they were full, but I've stayed at this place several times and the parking lot this weekend was the least crowded I've ever seen it).
- Don't charge us to use the business center. On one short, overnight trip, I didn't bother to bring my laptop. I wanted to check my mail, but the Marriott told me that if I wanted to use the business center I would have to pay. This same thing happened to a colleague earlier this year -- he wanted to print a map to where we were going, and they wanted to charge him to use the business center.
Maybe if we articulate these things often enough, it'll start to have an impact. I agree with all these "essentials," and I would add:
1) enforce Marriott's standards of room cleanliness;
2) coffee available in the room (without room service);
3) ice available on the same or adjoining floor (without room service).
Internet access (wired or wireless) that does not have bandwidth issues. Access begins to lag on Monday nights as more guests check in and is bad in the evenings all week until Friday.
I'm talking about more than slow - I'm talking about pages timing out.
Fortunately, I generally do not have to do much for work in the evenings, but when I do, I plan it in anticipation of not having access in the primetime of the evening (very late or early the next morning).
Since my travels are mostly in Europe, I prefer above all to have a wired high-speed internet connection for security. I don't know whether it is my college website or what, but I have all kinds of problems with wireless when traveling abroad.
My second major concern is enough electrical outlets for computer, cell phone/Kindle/curling iron, etc. plug ins. All too often I have to unplug lights and try to find outlets in the dark to use for things I more seriously need.
FWIW, let's not forget (or take for granted) that complimentary high speed Internet for Gold and Platinum topped the list last year. Kudos, Marriott for responding.
For 2011, what about a new goal: Complimentary Business Center services for Elite?
On a trial basis, the offering at full service properties might allow complimentary use of a PC and printer for a duration of 20 minutes with comp printed pages set at 10 pages and subsequent minutes at a deep discount linked to Elite status per night stayed.
Expand the offering to include a complimentary Marriott Business Services e-mail account for Gold and Platinum. Elite could e-mail documents from their mobile or office accounts to the complimentary Marriott business services e-mail for priority processing by the Business Center at the hotel where they have checked in - for a discounted fee.
TJ, many hotels in which I have stayed have discontinued the charges for use of their computers and other equipment in the business center. This is in response to consumer demand for complimentary Wi-Fi access in the lobbies and public spaces, which many Marriotts now offer.
Signage at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church VA last month indicated that the fees still applied but the front desk, when notified, came down and removed the signs, promising to alert guests that the business center was now available to all guests free of charge. Similarly, the Santa Clara, CA Marriott has had free access in the lobby for some time.
Here's hoping this becomes a system-wide trend!
Some properties as you have mentioned may be experimenting; but I'm not sure we're on the same page.
For example, the pay-per-PC-access fees at the Business Center of the New York Marriott Marquis is $8 per 15 minutes. (click Pricing for details) Similarly, Pay per use access is available at the San Diego Marriott Business Center for $5 per 10 minutes. I'm suggesting that Marriott retain these revenue streams, but offer some business center services on a complimentary basis or a for a competitive discount as an Elite benefit. This may already be an offering to Elite who are also Meeting and Event Planners.
Btw, Pay per use access of PC kiosks or stations situated in the lobby is pervasive in certain markets like Orlando. While some travelers will bring a laptop on a business trip, doing so while on vacation is an option. Pay per use access adds to Marriott's revenue while providing guests a service. Rather than tow a laptop while on vacation, it would be great to enjoy complimentary use access of a lobby or business center PC as Gold or Platinum. One solution might be to expand the scope of the Arrival Gift and include such a benefit.
I agree with a lot of the posts, especially:
Excellent post and I have had the same a/c issue at a courtyard recently. Sinks in bathrooms seem to be a constant issue at all levels of Marriotts but I've had good luck calling AYS or theFront Desk for a quick remedy. I have noticed that the curved shower rods are often misaligned and in some cases seem ready to drop into the tub.
Thanks for reminding me, and yes the lounges should be open 24/7/365 for basics. I got one of them to open at 6 (which it still is) rather than 7, and it's packed at that early hour.
Some good thoughts here, here's my 2 cents:
- Internet can often be woeful (in Europe). When I can't send an email between 8 and 10pm because too many people are on the network, this drives me insane. I find iBahn pretty flakey and the 30cm long ethernet cable is a bit of a joke. I also have intermittent problems using iPad and I think this is due to compatibility issues with Apple- surely this should be sorted out. Quick, reliable, free internet which works on all major devices should be a priority and would improve the quality of my experience. I have less problems with other brands (Hilton) so i would expect there is some upgrade in the internet service required.
- International plugs: Carrying adapters are a hassle so universal plugs should be installed in locations with reasonable numbers of international travellers.
-Lost items: I have a tendancy to forget the odd item from time to time and when I call to ask about it, it is always returned. However, why are the hotels not contacting me proactively about this.
- Every forgotten your phone charger? I have and it can be a pain. A few Apple/Samsung chargers behind the desk would go a long way
-Extra mile: As others have alluded to, business travellers can have some requirements which are a little unusual. These are a real opportunity to amaze and surprise guests but a push from above is needed sometimes to encourage staff to go the extra mile, whilst some staff are naturally very good at this. If a guest forgets her toothpaste, it costs little to send someone to buy a tube and send it to the room.
One more thing (as Columbo might say)....
I have recently experienced super express check-in where a staff member stands in the lobby with your envelope and hands it to you as you come in- it is even quicker if they recognise you and see you coming. This cuts down on check-in times and queues no end. I hope they roll this out across the brand.
The last two stays , Courtyard DC and residence Inn New Orleans, both had iBahn and I couldn't even get email. Staff was always nice and trying but they couldn't do anything, there just was no bandwidth. Occasionally would get on, then back off. And hint to Marriott staff, don't ever, ever again tell me to call technical support who will waste your time for hours changing your computer that can never overcome the lack of service in the first place. This is ridiculous and should be recognized by Marriott as a huge huge problem because I couldn't get my work done while at either hotel. Why can I go to Starbucks and get what I need, but at a Marriott ( one more night and I have lifetime Platinum so I have stayed at a lot of Marriotts) I cant even get on to do emails.
One outcome is that Ibahn is going to move me to other hotels, if not a Marriott then so be it, I have to be able to work on the road.
Marriott needs to solve this so that at the least basic work can be accomplished and not just make smiling excuses for the inadequate systems.
PS my expenses wont support paying more for internet, they will just say use another hotel meaning NOT a Marriott.