Consumer Lookout

Hotels clamoring to get the customer’s attention

What does it take when it comes to perfecting the overnight stay? Here’s what we’ve found over the last few months…

Good news for caffeine lovers:
Pity the lonely hotel room coffee pot. It sits virtually ignored by customers. But not any more. Hilton Hotels has announced it is offering a special in-room Italian coffee brand called Lavazza (#1 in Italy) and an exclusive Cuisinart coffeemaker to enhance the guest experience. According to Bill Brooks, vice president of product development, "Guest surveys revealed that premium coffee was the single most important in-room amenity in the upscale segment."

The new in-room coffee system will be placed on a stainless steel tray along with to-go cups and a condiment caddy. The coffee system is the latest addition to the Hilton Serenity Collection of upscale, sophisticated in-room amenities. The collection also includes the Hilton Serenity Bed, featuring the Serta Suite Dreams mattress and box springs, Pacific Coast down duvet, Super Topper mattress pads, and high-quality linens and pillows; and the Hilton Serenity Bath Collection of spa-quality bath amenities from Crabtree & Evelyn’s La Source line. Check out
www.hiltonjourneys.com .

Smoke-free and lovin’ it:
By mid-October in order to accommodate the preferences of the vast majority of its guests, all Marriott hotels in the United States and Canada will become 100% smoke-free. This is the industry's largest move to a smoke-free environment and includes over 2,300 hotels and corporate apartments under the Marriott, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Marriott ExecuStay brands. The new policy includes all guest rooms, restaurants, lounges, meeting rooms, public spaces, and employee work areas.

Currently more than 90 percent of Marriott guest rooms are already non-smoking, and smoking is prohibited in many public spaces due to local laws. Designated smoking areas will be made available outside of the hotel for our guests who smoke. Click on www.marriott.com for more details.

Faster luggage handling-Yes!
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in North America has announced it will offer a $10 per person luggage and transportation service in order to minimize hassles with airport luggage handling and onsite storage services. At select Hyatt Hotels, customers can check in their luggage and receive airline issued boarding passes before leaving the property for the airport. The cost of the service is $10 per person and includes storage, transportation and check-in of up to two pieces of luggage. The service is made available through Hyatt’s partnership with Baggage Airline Guest Services (B.A.G.S.), and is supervised by the Transportation Security Administration.

"Hyatt is delighted to provide another industry leading initiative to reduce hassles for travelers," said Matt Adams, vice president of operations for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. "Combined with boarding pass printing stations in lobbies, web check-in, PDA check-in and check-in/check-out kiosks, Hyatt continues its focus on helping guests ease the burdens of travel."

The service is available with travel on Airtran, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Northwest Airlines, Song, Ted, and United Airlines. Hyatt properties in Boston, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Orlando, San Diego, Seattle and Tampa will initially offer the service. Throughout the remainder of 2006 and into 2007 additional Hyatt properties will begin to follow suit. Log onto www.hyatt.com for details.

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