What’s with the duck?

By | April 18th, 2010

If you stay at enough Homewood Suites properties, you’ll eventually wonder about the duck.

Images of waterfowl are everywhere: on the signage, on guest directories, even the napkins. I haven’t seen a hotel this branded since I stayed at Disneyworld.

Well, our room on the sixth floor of the Homewood Suites in Maitland, Fla. (property number three in our 26-hotel tour of every Florida Homewood Suites) overlooks a huge duck pond — how’s that for branding? — so I decided to do a little research on the duck.

His name is Lewis, I learned.

Lewis has his own video game. And a line of children’s books. And luggage tags, of course.

Lewis isn’t a joke to the people at Homewood Suites. A pair of geese recently nested at a Homewood property in Denver, and the hotel’s affinity for waterfowl turned the incident into a big local story.

Now, is there any evidence Lewis is making the customer experience at Homewood any better? Not really. But he seems to be a pretty effective mascot for the hotel chain. I can almost imagine some very frequent guests seeing Lewis and feeling as if they’re home, in an Up in the Air kinda way.

By the way, my weekend posts about Homewood have gotten a fair number of comments from happy and not-so-happy former guests. Based on my Homewood stays so far, I would say both have a valid point.

We’ve encountered some good service — and some not-so-good service — during our Homewood stays. The high-water mark has been the attentive help given to us by the staff during breakfast, which for our family of five, is always a chaotic event. The low-water mark had to be the employee who insisted there were towels by the pool as our kids stood outside, dripping wet and shivering. There weren’t any towels.

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(Visiting every Homewood Suites property in Florida was my idea, I’m not getting paid to do it, so I can offer an honest appraisal of what happens.)

Overall, I like what I’ve seen at Homewood so far. Lewis is a nice touch, too.

(Photo: Juan Rubiano/Flickr Creative Commons)

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