I am on my box today.
Notice to hotels courting the business traveler: Get the little things right or perish.
I just got back from a day trip to Vancouver, BC. I stayed at a very upscale downtown hotel. On balance, I would not stay there again for business because they a couple of the important little things wrong (EVEN though they also got a lot right).
What they got right:
The room was fabulous and came with free chocolate – big plus!
The bed was great.
The room had a nice sized desk (often they are too tiny to hold a laptop).
Parking was a breeze and I had my choice of self parking or valet, with no pressure to do either.
The hotel had a variety of food options, including a restaurant, food in the lounge and 24 hour room service.
The service people were pleasant, efficient, and (for the most part) proactively helpful.
The food was good and fast.
What they got wrong:
They have dial up internet in the rooms, but no wi-fi. For this caliber of hotel, I expect wi-fi.
They had wi-fi in the lobby for free, but the signal was very weak and was either slow or not connecting (one to two bars max). Personally, I would rather pay for strong wi-fi in my room, than be among the desperate people huddling in the lobby hoping for another bar so the email will download.
Parking was too expensive and there were no choices.
Cell coverage was weak. If you have no control over this, tell me where in the hotel I can expect a strong signal. Nobody uses the hotel phone for business calls, so do what you can to make cell phones work.
If I am sitting in the wrong spot in the lobby to get a good signal, please tell me! Better yet, have the information for me upon check in. Anticipate my needs and questions. The guide to hotel services in the room did not even mention internet – dialed up or wi-fi.
If you want the business traveler, you need to make it easy for him or her to do business. If you are not able to provide wi-fi in rooms, then create a business center area with 3-5 small sitting areas for guests to use and have a strong and fast signal. You can charge if I get great wi-fi in my room, but not if I have to come down to the business center.
I know a lot of hotels use secret shoppers, but are these folks also busy business people? I don´t think so. The surveys to not ask the right questions, either. Was my food good – yes! Was the staff friendly – yes! Missing question: Did we make it a breeze for you to conduct business?
Hire me to be a secret shopper – I will tell you exactly what you need to do to thrill you business guests!