Business Hotels Could Differentiate With Good Coffee

I’m a business traveler and I usually stay at any one of several hotels chains that are economical and cater to business travelers. I’m not particularly loyal to one hotel brand, though at present my preferences are (in order):

Hilton Garden Inn
Springhill Suites by Marriott
Courtyard by Marriott
Comfort Inn and Suites
Holiday Inn Express
Country Inn and Suites
Hampton Inn

Most of the hotels are relatively the same. They have clean comfortable rooms, decent service, and decent amenities. What NONE of them have is good coffee. No matter which hotel chain I choose – they have some form of crappy coffee. The Comfort Inn and Suites in Greensboro, NC has "brown water" coming out of a spicket in the wall. Holiday Inn Express has attempted to pass off their "branded" in house coffee as upscale – but it’s weak and they serve it in small styrofoam cups that better fit an espresso. The Courtyard I’m staying in has really bad Maxwell House coming out of one of those auto dispensers.

The result? Everywhere I go I have to scour the locale for a Starbucks and leave my hotel to get it.

If one of these chains invested in providing GREAT coffee – that chain would immediately go to the top of my list and I would consciously try to stay there!

The things that differentiate your business from the pack are usually small things that matter to your customer which are done consistently and done well. I wonder if any of these chains are listening.

6 thoughts on “Business Hotels Could Differentiate With Good Coffee

  1. I think the last comment is the most important thing you said. Are they listening? What are the chances that in the 8% of the population that reads blogs, someone from one of those chains is going to see this? If a large number of blogs pick this up and go with it it might reach the right ear. If one of the newsies who would rather have bloggers do her work for her highlights it you may get the pop you need but how often does that happen.
    So my question to you Tom: How are you going to put this in their faces? Do you care? You wrote a well thought out piece. You have a valid point. Was it for them or for the other bloggers?
    Maybe I do not know you well enough to ask these questions. Correct me if I am out if line – I can always use the help. I just keep seeing these great posts on great blogs and wonder if they are reaching the right audience yet.

  2. You ask an important question, Roger – and one that a lot of people are asking. I can only answer you based on my experience – which is that a growing number of businesses are turning in to the blogosphere to hear what people are saying.
    I’ve written about the Geek Squad and got a reply from their founder and President. I wrote about Overstock and received a comment and response from their CEO. I’ve also written a few posts about other businesses or industries and didn’t hear a peep.
    One mistake I don’t want to make is to think that because many aren’t listening now – that they never will. It takes time – but I think a growing number of companies are going to be listening.
    The other day Glenn Ross encouraged me to send my post to Six Flags (which I did). Perhaps we need to be more active about pushing our thoughts to companies. I’m not sure about that, though. My post was just sharing my opinion. Perhaps rather than becoming an activist and pushing my post to the corporate headquarters of all these hotel chains – I should just wait and reward the one that listens.
    Interesting topic for a group of bloggers to engage.

  3. Tom,
    Interesting discussion.
    Let me tackle the “are they listening” question that Roger raised first.
    I’m guessing Best Buy and Overstock found your posts because you actually linked to their sites. I might suggest you go back and add links to the hotel chain’s corporate sites so you give them a better shot at hearing you.
    But…to your point about differentiation. You are exactly right. We set ourselves apart in the details. It’s the always clean rest rooms, or the clerk who remembers your first name or the coffee. Why is it the little things? Think about our personal relationships. The way we gauge the the depth of someone’s interest in us is how much attention they pay to the details. So it makes sense that we gauge our business relationships the same way.

  4. Tom – I’ve found the same thing with most hotels, though I do like the Marriott coffee (but I almost always choose Marriott).
    Some great questions within these comments…and I’d also link to the corporate sites.

  5. Delta Service for Slumping Sales and Stress to Stranded Flyers

    My friend Tom Vander Wells been looking for a decent cup of coffee when he travels and Ill settle for customer care at the airport. Yesterday my Delta airline seat slated for Ireland sat empty onRochesters tarmac &n…

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