The industry often seeks and implements ideas from related business most notably the airline business. But it is not often that other businesses seek to emulate the hospitality industry and hospitals are increasingly including elements that are found in hotels. For most “customers” at hospitals it could not have come any sooner. From lighting to surly staff to grim food, most hospitals seem more intent on piling on the misery induced by sickness than to make the stay more pleasant and unsurprisingly few in their right minds would voluntarily embrace a hospital stay. But with many ingredients of the “stay” such as beds, food and a need for in-house entertainment in common with hotels, enlightened hospitals are not just borrowing from the hotel book but also seeking out active training imparted by hotel experts.
The Daytona Beach newsline has a recent Associated Press report on how the CEO of Fairmont General Hospital in Fairmont, W.Va brought in a name that grew out of and remains a mainstay of the lodging industry – LodgeNet. The company has installed interactive TV systems in 10 hospitals in New Jersey, Missouri, Alabama, Washington state, Texas and South Dakota, and has contracts with twice that many according to Gary Kolbeck, company’s vice president of health care business development. LodgeNet has apparently been offering the hospital services for about a year and a half. It is a question of time before their growth in hospitals brings in a significant chunk of their revenue. One reason for the bright future in the medical field is that the trend is driven in part by baby boomer patients with high expectations and the need to generate revenue in a competitive market. The next step could well be spas and business centers in hospitals. Some hotels, as has previously been noted here, have already sought to capitalize on the trend by offering hospitality training to staff in hospitals. Revenues from branding could follow.