From The LH Blog

Here's a sampling of recent entries from Lodging Hospitality's blog, The Front Desk. Check it out at www.LHonline.com/blog

Just don't bottle it

January 19, Carlo Wolff

FreshStay, a website created by Pineapple Hospitality's Ray Burger, lists hotels distinguished by the freshness of their air. It's a good idea, and a marketable one. Visit www.freshstay.com to discover more than 100 U.S. hotels that are smoke-free. Not all are Westins, though that Starwood flag is the first (and so far only) major brand to mandate smokeless properties.

I think FreshStay is a good idea with great marketing potential. I only hope it doesn't lead to bottles of fresh air that properties sell like designer water. Giving the consumer more choices is good; commercializing those choices can dilute the offering.

Doing the right thing

January 18, Patricia Sheehan

I'm inundated weekly with press releases breathlessly touting the latest hotel room bells and whistles. One announcement in particular caught my eye the other day — and it's not particularly sexy. Microtel Inns & Suites has introduced informational pamphlets, “Accessible Fitness” bags and Upper Body Ergometers for guests with special needs. These new features are just the latest development in a company-wide initiative to go the extra mile for the disabled guest.

The ultimate brand builder?

January 9, Ed Watkins

The busy bees at Starwood Hotels are at it again. The company will announce this morning that it is hooking up with Yahoo! to test an Internet lounge concept at two Sheraton hotels. The lounges will have workstations and spaces for guests to plug in their laptop computers. Ho hum, you say. The kicker, and the key to the program, is that Internet access in the lounges, including wireless hookups, will be FREE, FREE, FREE.

This kind of thinking isn't unusual at Starwood since the arrival of CEO Steve Heyer and several other executives from Coca-Cola Co. To Heyer and his cronies, business is all about branding, and the lodging industry is no different.

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