Let guests escape from more than just the election
Let guests escape from more than just the election
28 OCTOBER 2016 7:18 AM

Why should hoteliers limit their properties as a haven from the U.S. presidential election when there are so many things out there from which guests want to run away?

This year’s United States presidential election doesn’t exactly stack up to some of the battles for the hearts and minds of voters from past elections. I’m sure many of those elections have since been romanticized, but there’s little doubt this election cycle will go down in history as one of the ugliest.

It’s no wonder then that so many people in the U.S. are disgusted with the whole thing. It’s a general feeling that has been building up over the past couple of decades, with each election seemingly getting more and more divisive. TV attack ads seem to pop up earlier each time, and the internet (especially social media) is filled with vitriol and conspiracy theories. I wonder how many family dinners have ended in fights as the result of a post on Facebook?

Some hoteliers have taken notice and are offering guests ways to escape the election stress. At some hotels, the staff will cut political articles out of the newspaper delivered to rooms, or simply not deliver the paper at all. Others go so far as to highlight spotty Wi-Fi and cellular service as reasons to stay at their property, because that could help limit access to the political feeds.

These are great ideas that I’m sure will attract some guests who want peace, but why stop at just the presidential election?

We all have something going on at some point in our lives that it’d be nice to get away from, even for just one night, for some quiet escapism. Case in point: The holidays are quickly approaching (sorry for a hint at Christmas creep before Halloween) and, unfortunately, that can create a lot of stress. Think of all the potential guests out there who, after all the cooking, the family get-togethers, the travel and the cleaning, could really use a break. Or, maybe they’ve had enough from all the years before and want nothing to do with any of it. In any case, the idea of running off to a place where they can cut off all contact for a while is appealing.

The kicker here is: Theoretically, any hotel can do it.

What is a hotel room but a place for people to stay that isn’t their home? While hoteliers continually go out of their way to make guests feel at home, staying at a hotel means being away from home, which, for the purposes of escapism, is a good thing.

All that a hotel would need to become a temporary rest haven from whatever ails us is a room that separates guests from everything else. Four walls, a door that locks and a comfy bed. Simple enough so far, right?

Think about creating an actual escape package, perhaps at a special lower rate. Throw in some fun extras, like offering no wake-up calls and a drink voucher or a complimentary bottle of wine. Perhaps a free or discounted movie on demand. If a guest orders room service, is there a way to deliver it without any in-person interaction if that guest is seeking almost total isolation? This is where properties that text or message guests could shine, allowing them to make sure the guest is in the room for delivery without having to knock on the door.

You can certainly go above and beyond this. But for the average person with a little extra to spend, offering too much with added costs will turn them off; an expensive night away would only add to their stress.

Not every escape from life is in the realm of luxury resorts on a beach somewhere far away from everything and everyone. Nor do escape packages need all of the fancy frills and enormous price tags to be refreshing. People who realize they can get away for one night, just one night, in their own city or just a few miles away, without breaking the budget to recharge their mental and emotional batteries just might decide to take a little time for themselves.

What do you think of year-round escapism packages? Already offer something like it? Got an even better idea? Let me know. You can reach me at bwroten@hotelnewsnow.com and at @HNN_Bryan.

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