If you knew that a specific feature of your product annoyed 40-50% of your customers, what might you do?
And if you knew that you could remove that annoyance by spending pennies, how quickly might you try to solve that?
That’s what I thought.
And that’s why it’s so frustrating to see how business hotels have either a total lack of understanding or lack of interest in the needs of business travelers.
Like most of you, my phone is now my alarm clock. And my bedtime reading is done on an iPad. Yet, when I check into a room in a typical business hotel, I find a nightstand like this:
So, my next step is to start moving the furniture, pulling the nightstand out to access the electrical outlets. And what I usually find is a rat’s nest of electrical cords and no empty sockets, like this:
Think about it, the last thing that a guest thinks about before they go to sleep in their hotel room, is how annoying it is that they have to move furniture and untangle electrical cords.
These pics were taken at the Hyatt Regency Denver, but it could be any number of high end business hotels I’ve stayed at in recent years.
Ironically, the less expensive hotels tend to have figured this issue out. I stayed in a Hyatt Place hotel (Hyatt’s budget line) in Kansas City earlier this week and, not only were there ample outlets right by the nightstand, there were ports to plug HDMI, VGA and RGB cables into the flat screen TV. Perhaps it’s no surprise that these mid-level hotels have gotten it right. After all, they also provide free WiFi and other amenities.
What the business hotels have to learn is that, for most business travelers today, this is our ideal nightstand:
Most of us don’t need a fixed clock radio. I automatically unplug the alarm clock when I check-in, so I don’t accidentally learn that the previous tenant set the alarm to go off at 4am. And while we do need a phone in the room to call room service or the front desk, we don’t need it to be at our bedside. I’m sure that in the pre-mobile phone days, travelers might have sat in bed chatting with family on the hotel phone, but those days are long gone. The phone over on the desk suits our needs just fine.
For now, I’d be happy to see hotels simply bolt a small power strip to the nightstand or headboard, so I can plug in. For now, I carry a Belkin mini power strip when I travel, but I still have to move furniture and unplug things to use it.
Installing a power strip is a simple and inexpensive fix that hotels should implement immediately. If you could make a dramatic impact on customer satisfaction for a few bucks, wouldn’t you do it?
note: this post is not intended to critique the Denver Hyatt Regency. It's a great hotel, with a terrific gym and the staff are fantastic. I would glady stay here again next time in Denver. But this is a fix that Hyatt and their peers should implement immediately.