Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Isn't a hotel where you stay when you're away from home?

         I'm writing this on BART, the rapid transit to San Francisco. Staring at me in the face is an all-type poster for InterContinental Hotels. It says,"Not on every corner. Hotels around the world". I'll need my Green Hornet secret decoder ring to figure out what they're trying to say.

          What I think they're trying to say is that they're not your common, everyday, cookie-cutter hotel. Fine. But what hotel is on every corner? I can't think of one, certainly not in Intercontinental's class.

           Now tell me about the "hotels around the world" part. Here I am on a fixed-rail track going to work, and they're telling me something about all the wonderful places around the world they have hotels. I'm looking around and I don't see anyone likely to be going around the world today. I could be mistaken. They look pretty much like working stiffs like me, but you never know.

           I'm always taken aback when I see advertising that seems so out of touch with reality.

           What do I care if they don't have a hotel on any corner? Actually, someday I might be on a corner, desperate for a hotel, and they're not there. Pretty inconvenient. But I doubt if I'll be going around the world one day soon. There they have hotels. Can't they tell me something that could be of use to a normal person?

          For instance, do they offer any special guest services? Do they have any good restaurants? (You know what they say about hotel restaurants.) Are they in touch with the needs of frequent business travelers? Any special services for business women? Are their fitness centers anything more than a windowless room in the basement on the way to the garage? What about their concierge, and in-room dining. Free Wi-fi? Do they allow kids? Cats? Are their swimming pools big enough for laps? Airport shuttle? How can I get an upgrade? What business services do they offer? How do I find out?

          I know, you can't put this all in a ad, but what's their promise, their attitude? And they could at least show me a picture so I can see what I'm missing. Maybe one of their San Francisco hotels is a better place to spend a weekend than in the paint section of a hardware store.

          Who is InterContinental's ad agency, anyway? Maybe they're busy checking out that hotel in Kuala Lampur.

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