From A Guest's Perspective - Tyler R.
Many hotels claim, "designed for the business traveller", and I wholeheartedly believe this statement to be entirely false, either that or I am clearly abnormal. I say that because, to me, and I would imagine to the leisure traveller of today, outlets/plugs have become virtually mandatory, and I have yet to come across a hotel that has those plugs in a convenient spot.
Most hotels will have the desk in the room, and of course, there are plugs near that desk (usually a lamp with built-in outlets), however, if we have any 'size' to the chord for the laptop or charging phones/tablets, etc we are forced to move the lamp to the edge of the desk so that we can actually plug in.
During my evenings in hotels, I don't necessarily like to sit at a desk after a day of meetings/work, and prefer to sit on the sofa/chair and watch TV while working on my laptop. Usually the ability to watch TV while working at the desk is an impossibility. This usually means, I have to move a sofa moderately to access the outlet that is inevitably behind the sofa. I find myself eternally moving side tables, sofas, chairs, even desks simply to find an outlet.
Aside from outlets, pillows are a high priority, and unfortunately, I am usually disappointed by those too. Very flat and a need to stack 3 or 4 them just to have some support. While this is less of an inconvenience when traveling for business (because I am alone), when vacationing with the family, there simply aren't enough pillows.
I typically stay at hotels like the Embassy Suites/Hilton/Doubletree Suites so my experiences are based on hotels of that level, but I also have considerable experience staying in Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites/Holiday Inn as well. I am the highest tier in their various frequent-guest programs so my expectations about speedy check in process are usually met in those hotels, I believe because of my tier-status primarily.
I will also add that the reward programs for the various chains has been declining over the past decade. The number of points required now to book the "reward-point-rooms" is virtually double what it was 10 years ago, although the earning of the points is the same. Additionally, those reward rooms used to be exempt from blackout dates and now, there are far too many occasions when I cannot book a point-reservation but can book a paid one.
The frequent-guest rewards/perks have been dropping too, complimentary upgrades never seem to actually occur (again, I am the top tier). Lastly, I am a smoker, and although I realize that the entire world is anti-smoking, I still book Smoking Rooms when traveling for business. In fact, if the ideally located hotel is a non-smoking hotel, I will select a different hotel altogether to accommodate that reality.
This, over the last 2 years, has really proven to be aggravating when checking in. Although the online booking process gives me the 2 options (smoking or non) and I select smoking, upon arrival I am usually told "sorry, we have no smoking rooms available", by which I state that I booked a smoking room. I am told then, "yes, we see on your reservation that you have that down as a preference". I then am forced to state that while your system may list it as a preference, when I booked it, I view it as a requirement.
I have in fact LEFT a hotel at the time of check in, if they do not honor the reservation I made. 99% of the time after my persistence to get the room I booked, and my refusal to accept the keys to a different room results in my getting the room I booked. It's frustrating that I feel I need to "fight" to get them to honor the reservation I made.