Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) An Unreliable Witness
Listen, I’ve stayed in my fair share of hotels and hostels around the world. I’m no Michael Palin, but I have clocked up several hundred nights spent in various establishments over the years. These have ranged from dollar-a-night West African flophouses with concrete floors, no electricity and no running water to a couple of five-star places on last-minute deals.
Each with a story to tell, right?
True. I could tell you all about the place in Mali where I arrived in a malarial state after a long desert truck ride, head thumping and fever rising, only to find that while the hotel indeed was in the “light off, water off” category it had its own bonus concept. Upon opening the cardboard-thin door to my room I discovered that it was supplied with its own prostitute.
Wow. You know, a chocolate on the pillow always seems a bit over-the-top to me…
At the other end of the scale I could tell you all about arriving at a hotel which turned our to be rather classier than I thought with just a plastic bag for luggage; only to be greeted by a uniformed doorman with a hat, white gloves and a puzzled expression. But I digress…
Yes, I’m assuming that neither are examples of “small things hotels can do”?
No you fool. But these are:
1. Free and fast Wi-Fi, all over the building
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Wayda Dreamscape
Surely a minor investment with great customer satisfaction as a reward? Radisson started this a while back, and kudos to them. But why not every hotel? I know you guys are miffed because you can’t charge us ridiculous prices for calls from our rooms anymore now we all have mobiles and can be charged ridiculous prices by our very own operators, but that’s life. You still have the mini-bar and Pay TV to fleece us. We have Trip Advisor.
2. Unless you are prepared to keep them immaculately clean, can’t you just rip up the carpets and have hard floors instead?
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Abby Lanes
Okay, sometimes it’s nice to go barefoot if it’s cold outside, but not when the carpet is flecked with dubious stains and you trample something sticky underfoot… I don’t want to lie awake at night wondering whether my room was the scene of some horrendous crime. Plus it’s hell for people with allergies and it must cost you more to keep clean?
3. Stop with the super wide-angle shots of your indoor pool taken immediately after construction
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Leo Reynolds
Give us the dimensions so we can work out whether that vast ocean of tranquility we see on your website is in fact a postage stamp-sized paddling pool that will reach capacity if two other guests decide to use it at the same time as me.
4. Provide enough power sockets
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Adam Mulligan
You know we’re all travelling with stuff we need to charge, I know you’d love to bill us for the extra few volts we use but it ain’t gonna happen. Don’t make us have to unplug the television or mini-bar in order to recharge an iPhone.
5. Allow us to open the windows
Image obtained from Flickr.com under Creative Commons (c) Vitor Antunes
Not all of us like that authentic Siberian chill you get from air conditioning and even in London fresh air is preferable to the recycled stuff. If you’re genuinely concerned we’re going to jump out, we’ll accept some kind of locking system so that we can’t open them fully in order to give in to temptation, okay?
Look, it’s not much to ask, is it? Of course it may be for some places (only number 5 could possibly apply to that place in Mali) but surely all you hotel folk can at least consider this list?