I am a gizmo freak. I travel with three internet-ready devices: my Blackberry, my iPad and my laptop. I have two back-up telephone instruments across service providers. Which really means that I need several charging devices.
Even if I were considered abnormal, I would imagine that in this day and age, most of us travel with three chargeable devices at the very least.
The issue I have with hotels is the old one of plug points - there just aren't enough. And that's where the lowly extension board comes in. It looks terrible and can instantly bugger up the room's ambience. It would be infinitely more wonderful if hotels pre-empted your requirements and stuck in some plugs before you arrive.
I recently wrote to the CEO of a hotel chain asking him why he couldn't keep spare laptops and iPads on the hotel's club floor. That would spare us all the bother of lugging around stuff.
Which leads me to the suggestion that I wish to make: the PRE. A simple email form that comes to you or your support at work. It asks you to scan your ID so that you don't have to flash it and wait for it to be scanned at check in. It asks you what you'd like to eat for all your meals. Makes reservations on your behalf at restaurants. The hotel menus can be part of the PRE as a PDF.
The PRE checks on the devices you are getting along. On what clothes you are carrying. Ironing requirements. It allows the hotel to store back-up shirts in standard sizes and three basic colours. Checks on shoes. Checks on medication that you are on.
My friend, Ranvir Bhandari, who once ran ITC Sonar Bangla actually kept women's shoes in all sizes and colours at the hotel. The ladies loved him. You never know when a broken heel can cause all hell to break loose.
The PRE thus serves as a complete pre check-in dossier and, post one visit, becomes part of guest history.
As an adjunct to the PRE, I would also recommend the 'bag drop'. A simple service, wherein I just dump my bag with the hotel. They keep everything washed, ironed and polished.
Should the hotel charge for this service? I honestly wouldn't mind paying for it. But ideally, this is a service that can be provided free of cost.
Meeting consumer needs is so 20th century, in my estimation. Interpreting and intercepting consumer needs is the way forward.
The other weekend, I was at a hotel for lunch. I was inspecting the buffet when the head of F&B came up close to me and told me, "If you don't like the buffet, there's always the Hainan Chicken that's ready for you."
Great interception. Great interpretation.
The writer is CEO, Equus Red Cell