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Dear Hotels, Yes – All Of You.

This is the shot across the bow, the warning, the big message in lights. I want my breakfast back. Full stop. No: if only this, or IF I book here, there or anywhere. I want my breakfast. Hotels started under the premise of offering a roof for travelers, with innkeepers passionate about caring for those under their care while away from home. Where has that gone?

Ten years ago, you could’ve told me to go pound dirt. When traveling ten years ago, there was no Airbnb, Oasis, HomeAway or other mainstream alternative. But now there is. Surveys have shown that you often no longer offer lower prices than your sharing economy competition. So, you know what would get me to pay up? My breakfast. I don’t need the ridiculous buffet spreads, I just want a couple nice eggs, or some toast, maybe some fruit. And coffee. I LOVE coffee. Easy. I know how much eggs cost and you do too. Let’s not insult each others intelligence.

You see, by forcing me to book a prepaid rate, without the ability to spread costs over time, or book an inflated “breakfast included” rate, where I’m effectively paying $50 for eggs, you make me angry. I feel unwelcome and gouged. If you really wanted me to stay, you’d court me in with a delightful, simple breakfast. It’s charming. For $50, I could buy an egg for most of your guests. I’d even happily cook it for them. But I won’t.

I’ll just go somewhere else and buy something for $5 bucks down the street. And if I’m forced to do that, why not just find an Airbnb that’s cheaper? This is where your ears must perk up. Your only advantage, is that I don’t want to. I want to stay in a place where I can wander into breakfast in sweatpants and slowly prepare for my day ahead with everything made for me and ready to go. Take that away, and I’m at any Airbnb. Spend $5 for some toast and instant coffee and I can live the boxer shorts breakfast dream, in any Airbnb on earth, for $45 less than you charge.

Breakfast should not be a privilege only reserved for those who overpay or hold elite hotel guest status. It should be for everyone who chooses your property over the hundreds, thousands even of other establishments in any given location. And the “city resort fees” come on, don’t get me started there.

I understand commerce, staffing needs and have no problem with profit. But take it out of my indulgent cocktails, early check in or silly upgrade requests. Basically, anything else which is not a doctor recommended part of any day. I’m doing you a favor, because I’ve seen what happens when airlines make things unbearable. It creates a new market – and it’s one you’ll have to live with forever. Do you think major luxury airlines enjoy offering their product which is usually $500 a seat for $250 or less? And still barely retaining market share? They took us for granted, took everything away and they created a new generation of airline. We’re glad, but they’re not!

The simple gesture of coffee and a bagel makes me feel as if I’m welcome, even if you continue to move the check out time closer to 7AM. If you don’t want things to become purely about price. Give me my breakfast back. Otherwise you’re only as good as the last decimal point.

Sincerely yours,

Gilbert Ott – God Save The Points


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