Here’s an on-the-road-and-a-day-late Five For Friday for ya. I’m currently in Queens for the US Open (www.USOpen.org), staying in a Comfort Inn about a mile away from the Tennis Center (right in Korea Town, surrounded by some amazing eateries). It has been your typical business traveler hotel experience thus far, which prompted me to brainstorm a handful of relatively simple and low-cost concepts that would instantly enhance my time here.
- You may recall a blog post here called Steal This Branding, which briefly discussed the idea of providing “stealable” branded items that can help customer advocates sing your praises. Well, Comfort Inn probably didn’t read that one. I’m an admittedly aggressive clothing hanger-upper and that makes life in hotels pretty unappealing. They barely provide enough hangers to satisfy my most basic needs and many of them have those anti-theft ones that require you to fit the hanger end into a clip that is permanently affixed to the closet rod. Instead of making my wardrobe life a pain-in-the-ass, maybe Choice Hotels could ditch the annoying permanent hangers and switch them with branded normal ones. What’s the worst that could happen – guests take the hangers home and stare at the hotel’s logo every morning and night?
- I’m staying here for damn near a month and am pretty recognizable, especially compared to the rest of my neighbors. I keep a routine arrival/departure schedule and always say hello to the front desk staff. A simple greeting followed by my name would do wonders towards my feelings of brand affinity. Wouldn’t take much effort, either.
- This particular hotel is situated within a few miles of a major airport, so there are consistently loud planes passing by very close to my window. Less than ideal? Certainly. But it’s an obvious and assumed part of staying in this convenient location. It would be really cool if the hotel actually turned this seemingly negative aspect into an attraction of sorts – provide rooms with viewing binoculars, offer interesting tidbits about flight patterns and different types of planes, run “flight trivia” contests with daily prizes, etc.
- Upon booking the hotel, I naturally had to provide my contact information, which included my home address. I’d be floored if I woke up tomorrow and the Providence Journal waited for me outside my door. Get local!
- I suppose this next one falls under my love for “random acts of kindness”. Surrounding restaurants, attractions and nightlife have significant effects on how a guest evaluates and eventually rates a hotel. The other evening my girlfriend and I asked the front desk for a sushi joint recommendation and we received less than enthusiastic and thorough feedback. Some follow-up by the front desk staff or a manager would be more than appreciated. Maybe they call us over next time we walk in or out of the hotel and bring up a recommendation based on a recent meal. Or perhaps the manager slides a menu under our door with a hand written post-it note suggesting we check the place out.
I don’t view any of these ideas as being particularly difficult to execute and certainly none are budget busters. A little creativity + a dash of effort could transform my stay into something more than just a functional need.