EVERYONE WHO READS this magazine has one important thing in common: We travel. We travel to remote locations, eat remotely recognizable food, and control the remote control in the guest room all by ourselves. Overall, travel is a remotely fulfilling experience.
The quandary addressed in this issue is how to hold a meeting without having to travel — at least not very far. Meetings that do not require overnight hotel stays are gaining in popularity. People like to attend a meeting during the day and sleep in their own beds at night. The need will always be there for overnight stays but I think that if members of the lodging industry want us to spend more nights sleeping in their establishments, they need to make their establishments more like home.
First, stop making the beds so neatly. All of the sheets on a hotel bed are tucked in tightly and the bedspread is symmetrically aligned. My bed does not look like this at home. Whenever it is my turn to make the bed (i.e., when my wife is out of town) I don't “make” it as much as I “tidy” it. I pull up the sheets and covers, fluff the pillows, and even make an attempt at symmetry, but it still looks a little messy. This is a comforting look for me. I also have a dog sleeping on my bed at home. I have yet to find a hotel that offers the in-room dog option.
Next, let's tackle the problem of room service. My last room service breakfast at a top-notch hotel came with my own pot of coffee, an assortment of jams and preserves, and a fresh flower in a vase. This is not the way it is at home, where breakfast consists of a pot of coffee that disappears before I am done drinking it, Welch's grape jelly, and a Chia Pet on the kitchen counter. This is the breakfast setting in which I am most comfortable and it wouldn't take a lot of effort on the hotel's part to add this amenity.
Now, on to the most delicate of hotel issues — the “room of convenience.” The bathroom is the most important room in anyone's house and it is by far the king of rooms in a hotel suite. That's why the “throne” is kept in there. But if a hotel wants to make its bathrooms look more comfortable and “homey,” they need to add a few more essentials. On the back of the door, there should be a magazine rack filled with an assortment of interesting reading material. These magazines are currently placed on a table or desk in the guest room but that's not where we read them. We do our reading at the porcelain library and that's where hotels should keep the literature.
Also, a plunger needs to be kept next to the toilet — not that anybody would use it. I have a plunger next to my toilet at home and I don't use it either but it's comforting to know that it's there. Finally, stop folding the paper into a point. We don't point our paper at home and I don't like it done on the road.
Dale Irvin is a “professional summarizer” who has added a new dimension to conferences for such organizations as Kansas City Life, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and the Million Dollar Roundtable. For a good time, visit www.daleirvin.com. For booking, contact Ruth Levine at (858) 457-9880.