Bye-Bye Bathtubs

        Let’s see, I’ve finished unpacking, checked my email, and returned those calls. Looks like I have just enough time to take a relaxing bath and go to bed before a busy day of meetings tomorrow… Or not… My room doesn’t have a bathtub! NOOO, *sob, * it looks like my evening plans are down the drain… Pun intended.

Okay, so maybe not all business travelers will be heartbroken by the fact that hotels are cutting down on the inclusion of bathtubs in their rooms, but it definitely represents a significant response to a somewhat depressing trend in business travel.

 USA Today recently reported that many hotel chains are greatly reducing the amount of bathtubs they put in their properties and replacing them with larger, walk-in showers.  Hotels cite the reason for this being that most business travelers simply don’t have time to take baths.

It may sound surprising, but USA Today’s article points out some compelling statistics that support this trend. 95% of Holiday Inn’s properties built in 2001contained bathtubs, but that number is down to only 55% this year.  Marriott is planning to have 75% of their rooms be shower-only, whereas Hotel Indigo (a new, higher-end chain) has never had bathtubs.

It’s interesting to see that the world of business travel has changed so rapidly in the last 10 years that hotels are responding by getting rid of a staple of modern grooming so ubiquitous that it has a room named after it!

As an industry, it’s difficult to predict where the next adaptation to the modern business traveler will occur.  Should hotels think about getting rid of TVs in single-bed suites because business travelers don’t have time to watch? Only time will tell how the industry will adapt to the ever-increasingly time sensitive world of business travel.

So, the next time you’re on the road, take some time to soak in the tub and enjoy it. Hotel room bathtubs are likely to soon be a thing of the past. For more information Check out USA Today’s article about bathtubs in hotels going the way of the dinosaurs.

I thought I already checked in …

Starwood Hotels is taking advantage of geo-location, one of the latest trends in social networking. In their latest effort to incentivize brand loyalty, Starwood is offering guests special perks for checking in using Foursquare.

Foursquare is a social network that allows users to “check in” to various locations using their computers, mobile phones, or other Internet-enabled devices.  Once checked in, Foursquare users can then see what locations their friends have checked into, track their own daily excursions, or even receive real-world rewards by checking in to participating venues.

For Starwood Hotel customers, these rewards could include Starpoints or even free nights at some of Starwood’s various hotel brands. Starwood is running programs now through July 31st and the rewards are definitely worth the extra minute or so it takes to check in using Foursquare. Besides gaining 250 Starpoints for each check in, preferred guests even have a chance to win a free five nights’ stay in a Starwood Resort!

For more details on Starwood’s latest promotion and why you should get a Foursquare account, check out this article at Tnooz

Who is the best?

“The best hotel in the world”, A concept that normally exists only in the thoughts and dreams of hotel owners has stepped into reality this week thanks to the U.K.’s foremost online booking website. Based on detailed analysis, Expedia.com.uk has compiled a list of the top hotels in the world for 2011.

So what defines “best in the world?” Expedia used three different criteria to measure which hotels made the cut. customer reviews, market manager input (Expedia employees who work with the various hotels), and value rating (a comparison involving the hotels’ daily rates). All three of these parts were used to formulate the list of the best hotels in the world.

Out of the 135,000 hotels Expedia customers have frequented, making the top 10 list is an outstanding feat. Hotels located in the western United States fared well taking 3 of the top 10 spots on the list, including the #1 spot.

Italian hotels overall probably had the best ranking with iQ Hotel Roma, Hotel Antiche Figure , and Hotel Berchielli coming in 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.

OK, so we know it’s located in the western United States but which hotel got the mythical title of “best in the world?” Drumroll please… the winner is Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle Washington. Congratulations to Cedarbrook and everyone else who made Expedia’s best hotels in the world list! To see the full list, go to PRNewsweek.