The comforts of home


I spent a few days in a Hyatt hotel this week. Overall, the experience was pretty solid, but I was surprised by some of the basic things they got wrong. I’m not expecting incredible innovation. Instead, I’m talking about basic stuff that all of us take for granted at home or at work. You know, like coffeemakers that don’t suck and trash bins in each room.

Sure, Hyatt puts a lot of thought into nice-looking furniture and comfortable beds. But what’s up with some of the basics? I’ll start with the coffeemaker. It’s a useless piece of junk called the CV1 from Courtesy Products / Hamilton Beach. You put in these little pods, and it spews out less than one cup of tasteless brown liquid. Ostensibly, they installed these to replace the old Mr. Coffee-style units for sanitary reasons, but I don’t buy it. How about a partnership with Keurig or Senseo to provide good coffee and a co-marketing opportunity at the same time?

Next, the waste baskets: in my suite, there was only a single trash can, plus a tiny one in the bathroom. And the one in the main room was the trendy perforated kind, so anything resembling food just falls right through. Nice. Even a shoddy dorm room can easily be equipped with two or three decent waste baskets for about one-tenth the price of a night in the Hyatt. Honestly, I have no idea what their excuse would be here.

When it comes down to it, hotels at all price levels have a really tough time matching the most basic comforts of home. Heck, they can’t even get the coffee and trash right, and there’s lots more where that came from. Maybe their customer experience manager ought to check out the sort of accomodations that frequent travelers have in their own homes, and compare that to what the hotel offers, to understand why people like me often leave disappointed.