Warming upto guests – literally.

A report in Britain's Sky.com notes that Holiday Inns has introduced a "Human Bed Warming" service for its hotels in the United Kingdom. It will be offered at it's London Kensington hotel throughout the following week as "a free five-minute "human bed warming service". The news item says that 'If requested, a willing member of hotel staff will jump in your bed,
dressed head to foot in an all-in-one sleeper suit, until your nightly
chamber warms up". A Holiday Inn spokewoman in the UK described it as akin to a ""having a giant hot water bottle in your bed"! The hotel chain even got physician sleep expert, Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre in the UK, to endorse the idea saying that " who noted that the idea "could help people get off to sleep". Dr. Idzikowski also pointed out that "There's plenty of scientific evidence to show that sleep starts at
the beginning of the night when body temperature starts to drop. A warm bed – approximately 20 to 24C (68-75F) – is a good way to start this process whereas a cold bed would inhibit sleep. Holiday Inn's new bed warmers service should help people achieve a
good night's sleep especially as it's taking much longer for them to
warm up when they come in from the snow." Probably true but one would hope that no accidents result given that a non-human bed-warmer could just as easily do the trick.

The cold chill brought on by the recession has resulted in other such marketing ideas to warm up the bottom line including bringing in "readers" for bed-time stories. Hyatt's Andaz in Liverpool in the UK offered to sate the bedtime story yearnings of hotel guests. The hotel brought in the somewhat quirky writer and journalist Damian Barr who observed that "Most people haven't been read to since they were children, and they
don't bring a lot of books to hotels," he says. "I always pack a
selection, because you get tired of being in the CNN world." The hotel noted that the "service is free, and no books are off-limits — even racy ones.". Barr responded to security concerns by saying that 'If somebody was perhaps responding to the reading in a way that was
inappropriate, I would try to stay in the safe confines of my
armchair. And hotel security is always on standby." Perhaps, but since its introduction a year ago it was not emulated elsewhere.

Within the US unorthodox marketing ideas include the Valentine's day promotion offer from Harrah's in Atlantic City. A Wall Street Journal report  notes that the resort is "bringing gambling lovers performances by Air Supply – quite possibly the world record holder for number of songs written
with the word “love” in the title – BB King and Buddy Guy, as well as a
chocolate tasting hosted by Jacques Torres and, presumably for the
singles looking for love, a champagne and lingerie party at a bar." The offerings also include a "crash course in love".

All a far cry from uses anticipated by the architects of the Statler chain of hotels at the turn of the last century when they expected a hotel, among other things, to be "a place where a traveler can obtain shelter and rest… and the atmosphere of its public lobbies and dining rooms should be such as will neither offend nor repel the woman guest.

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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