People would love your hotel if you just changed the lightbulbs

What do guests want from their hotel? If you answered “designer beds” and “spiffy lobbies” maybe you’ve been sipping the hotel industry Kool-Aid for too long.

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The correct answer is disturbingly simple, according to a new survey of frequent guests by D. K. Shifflet & Associates. People don’t want to be nickeled-and-dimed for their Internet connection or parking. They don’t want to hear the honemooners in the next room. They don’t want to gag on someone else’s cigarette smoke. A free breakfast would be nice, too.

That should come as no surprise to hotel guests. But what might raise an eyebrow are the rest of the findings. A well-lit room and easy access to outlets rated close behind a free breakfast. Those are two relatively inexpensive amenities, according to Chris Klauda, the company’s vice president for lodging.

Adding a bit of wattage to improve lighting, or a longer electrical cord to improve access to outlets could pay off as much as adding items to the breakfast bar – and the ROI is better.

In these lean times hoteliers need to be creative in finding the simple changes that make a difference and that these small changes may greatly reduce the annoyance when these items are not available.

I had to chuckle when I saw this survey.

The fact that hoteliers have to be told that their guests would be happier if Internet and parking was free, and that they like well-lighted rooms and “free” breakfast is a little outrageous.

Is anyone listening?