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Disappearing Acts

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia

Hotel-bathroomI read an interesting post last week written by Mark Hurst of Good Experience. In the post, he pins the tail on the donkey by pointing out that even though companies might be using the latest Web 2.0  hotness tools, they are delivering the same old party lines.  He then goes on to speak about the dwindling customer experience in the airline and healthcare industries.

As I read that post, I sat in an all-suite Doubletree Suites (owned by Hilton) in Boston, MA, preparing to speak about "viral" marketing at the Business of Community Networking Conference (#BoCN).

I think it's very easy to see how both the industries that Hurst discusses have cut back - and it's even more apparent how these cut-backs have hurt and/or inconvenienced the customer.

What's been, I believe, less discussed are the "disappearing acts" many popular hotel chains have been pulling.

It used to be that you would check into a hotel and you wouldn't have to bring much with you from home except your toothbrush and your clothing. Why is it that we're getting less and less from hotels?

What happened to:

  • mouthwash
  • lotion
  • shoeshine buffer pad thingie
  • showercap
  • mini-sewing kit
  • cotton swabs
  • cotton balls
  • a FULL SIZE bar of soap for the shower
  • bathrobes
  • extra blankets
  • extra pillows
  • stationery (to write home, of course!)
  • even the Bibles are gone!

All of these items have been "disappeared" by various hotel chains almost without a word. Am I the only one who has noticed this?

I can barely get through airport security with my toiletries!

I don't care how many times people mention it, I STILL don't understand to this day, why Best Western, a hotel chain that charges a lower room rate than major chains, can offer free Internet access, whereas Hiltons, Westins, Renaissances, JW Marriotts, etc., will not.

Here's why I'm even mentioning this at all:

For the most part, women travel with more toiletries - traveling for business or not. We just need more...accoutrement, shall we say. And, if, for a major part of the time, we didn't have to draaaaaag as much stuff with us because the hotels were providing it, and now they don't, what message do these hotel chains think they're sending to women travelers?

And, by the by? It might not be related at all, but correct me if I'm wrong...it seems that everyday I check email or catch even a smidge of the news, Paris Hilton and her socialite BFF's are painting the town red at the latest Hollywood or New York hot spot. I mean, am I right? This partying takes money, yes? She IS the heiress to the Hilton fortune, yes? So, please don't tell me that due to the economy, Hilton doesn't have money for lotion. (Just thought  I would mention that tidbit.)

*Photo credit to Augusta_Chuck on TripAdvisor.com.  Notice the lack of toiletries on the bathroom counter?


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Lena L. West


Yes! I agree! Where is all the stuff!

Which is why, I LOVE Kimpton Hotels. They have bath salts and everything. Yesssssss....

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Kim Duke


Lady - you cracked me up when I read this!

I recently spoke at conference at the Hilton in Las Vegas - and for the life of me I was wondering how they thought a woman was supposed to shampoo her hair with that "itty bitty bottle"!

Bathrobe? Nada.
Coffee pot and coffee/tea? Nada.

I wasn't impressed...and I think it also reinforces that we make sure we don't do
the disappearing act with our customers

The little details DO COUNT. (Especially with women!)

Kim Duke

Lena L. West

Thanks for the comment, Smokie - and I thought I was the only one who noticed the toilet paper thing :)

Smokie Sizemore

You've touched on shrinkage happening everywhere. Have you checked the mundane roll of toilet paper recently? It's shorter, fewer sheets and thinner.

About Hilton, perhaps Paris needs more play things and the money came from notions. To get full value guess we'll have to play with Paris.

Lena L. West


You're more than welcome. I just find myself thinking all too often: "Where's the lotion?" :) Ahhh, yes, the cult classic movie, *The Fly*. I don't think I'm quite ready for that yet.

Thanks for reading and commenting!


Thanks once again, Lena, for your insights, and in this instance for highlighting yet another example of the disappearing art of customer service. Not only are perks being reduced, companies in the travel industry don't even have the grace to acknowledge them. They insult us by pretending we won't notice as they add to the ever-increasing discomfort of travel. I'm almost ready to forego misplaced molecules in order to fast-forward to teleportation.

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