A special circle of hell is reserved for hotels that fail to rouse their guests with a promised wake-up call. Technophobic travelers rely on the traditional front desk ping; programming the ubiquitous hotel room alarm clock is a weighty task many find more complicated than filling out taxes or setting a VCR, according to a 2005 survey. Hotels are noticing that missed wake-up calls are their Achilles Heel, and some are taking corrective action.
From the New York Times:
Hilton, Marriott International, W Hotels and Wyndham Worldwide are introducing, or have done so, alarm clocks they say are easy to use. Crowne Plaza Hotels, a brand of the InterContinental Hotels Group, guarantees wake-up calls in the lodging industry version of the Domino’s Pizza guarantee — one night free if the call fails to come within five minutes of the requested time.
Global Hyatt permits members of its Gold Passport loyalty program to personalize wake-up calls with a greeting recorded by a family member or friend. The Four Seasons Hotels chain offers iPod docking stations so guests can be awakened by their own favorite music. “Inspirational” calls that awaken guests with a proverb or thought for the day are offered by W Hotels, as well as the Muse, a New York boutique hotel owned by the Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant Group.
And defiantly bucking the trend toward automated wake-up calls, an actual person calls guests in Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental Hotels, and in many independent hotels. The Adolphus, an opulent Old World-style independent hotel in Dallas that was built in 1912, even sends a security person to a guest’s room if three wake-up calls are ignored.
We enjoy the sense of false grandeur delivered with a wake-up call, but still rely on our own devices. If the phone fails to ring, our trusty cellphone and iPod are set to jar us back to reality, ready to suggest that perhaps a complimentary breakfast could make amends for the missed call.