Ask the Expert: Hotel overkill

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Des Mclaughlin gets some rewarding experiences

A couple of weeks ago I was taking the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to France for a motorbike trip and, as it meant an early start, I decided to stay at Folkestone the night before. There’s not much to excite in the way of accommodation in Folkestone and, as it was only somewhere to lay my head, I opted for the Holiday Inn Express.

When making the booking I was offered a small discount on the rate if I joined the IHG Rewards Club. In these times of austerity I decided to take up the offer. This proved a big mistake – for the next week or so I was bombarded with emails from IHG telling me how I could earn extra rewards and much other useless information I didn’t bother to read.

The emails seemed relentless; I was even asked to review my stay at The Holiday Inn Express Folkestone. Why? -As far as I am aware the point of a Holiday Inn Express is that you know exactly what you are getting because they are all basically the same. What, therefore, was IHG expecting me to say? ‘It was beyond my wildest dreams … I’ve never stayed anywhere so unusual’. Or, maybe, ‘The bathroom was a whopping three inches bigger than at my last Holiday Inn Express’?

Marketing is an increasingly important discipline in our digital age, but any communication must be used sensibly or it becomes self defeating and a nuisance.

I don’t need yet another pointless email from a hotel group or indeed any other business, I get quite enough spam as it is. Less is more and businesses should only use email when they have something of genuine interest to communicate. Needless to say, after eventually finding out my IHG password (another saga…) I unsubscribed from all HG correspondence.

Last week my wife and I went to see one of our sons at Bristol University and booked in to the Bristol Marriott as it was close to him. It wasn’t cheap at £189 a night room only, and made me think how I miss agent rates!

On returning from parking the car (£16) my wife was delighted to tell me that she had signed us up to the Marriott Rewards Club so we could enjoy free hotel Wi-Fi. I didn’t even want free Wi-Fi as it’s unlimited in my phone deal, but more to the point why isn’t it free to a guest paying that rate anyway? Obviously, because Marriott are desperate to enroll you in their rewards programme too.

Let the next instalment of my Rewards nightmare begin…

Martin Fullard


Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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