What is the current Hospitality Fun Factor?

It’s the middle of January, and it’s been extremely cold and snowy here (at least for Cincinnati), so I thought I would see how our favorite hotel companies are willing to entice me for a long weekend away.  My wife and I like urban getaways, so I thought that I would check out offers in big US cities. What I found was rather interesting:

Most Brands offer the usual:  extra loyalty points, discount breakfasts, a bottle of wine, even the occasional free movie ticket.  As many of these offerings are similar, the big differentiater is how they are presented on the corporate website.  Kudos to Starwood and Hilton for having incentives that operate across the system.

Wyndham has a nice feature that lets you search their hotels through recreation type.

Intercontinental has special offers by a culture theme OR a region, but for some reason that I can not fathom, you are not allowed to search for a cultural event BY region.

Hyatt’s is perhaps the most challenging search, as every hotel has its own unique offering.

Choice Hotels had an arts and culture deal that is searchable by city and date.  This sounded like a great idea, until I found out that there is no arts and culture happening in New York next month.

I thought I would give Accor a shot, and see what they may be offering.  Unfortunately, I could not find much, unless I was willing to catch a deal in Bahrain…

In all fairness, there was one rate deal in NYC, but clearly their US website is not focused on US properties.

In the end, the closest thing to what I was looking for came from our friends at Marriot.  While I may not be a total shopping maven, I give Marriot great credit for teaming up with local retailers in a world class city, and giving guests the tools necessary to navigate to them.  This approach “edits” your experience, and promises to make your hotel stay a lifestyle choice rather than just another pretty room.

The ease of use (lack thereof) was pretty surprising.  In addition, few companies went out of their way to truly highlight recreational opportunities  that are not on their properties, especially in gateway locations.  Perhaps this is not possible everywhere, but I think other companies would do well to consider expanding their offerings ‘beyond their walls’ in highly competitive markets.

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