I was in a $69 La Quinta room when I learned what it meant to be in a business-ready hotel room. A few feet from my king bed sat a spacious, attractive wooden desk.
The desk was large; about a foot and a half wide at one end, then bulging out into a 3-foot circle at the other. It was a comfortable height and carried a decent lamp and, better still, four electrical outlets to my immediate right.
Unlike many hotel rooms, the desk offered a very functional place to work. This led to the question: What can hotels do to be more business-friendly?
I turned to Thorsten Kirschke, executive vice president and COO of the Carlson Hotels in the Americas. One of his chief objectives is "relaunching" the Radisson brand. Among the efforts is introducing "business class" hotel rooms.
>When we met, you were staying in a room that you said was poorly equipped for a business traveler. What were the problems?
Most obvious was poor, poor lighting. It wasn't fulfilling any need: working light or ambient light. Lighting is too often value-engineered out of the room, but there should be sufficient light to read in bed or at a desk. There was also poor power connectivity. I didn't even dare to crawl under the bed to find additional sockets.
>How common is it that hotels fall short on this front?
More likely than not; probably a 7 or 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. A hotel needs to be more than a commodity providing food and shelter.
>I stayed at a La Quinta last night and for 69 bucks was surprised at how well they have it figured out. So quality doesn't have to raise the cost?
You have to work with the space you have. You shouldn't overdesign and put a large desk in too small a room. Or if you want to squeeze two king beds in a small room, then be aware you are not catering to the business traveler who needs a working desk.
>You've said a hotel room needs to function as a place to work and a place to sleep for a business traveler but that no one wants to feel like they're waking up in their office. How do you separate the two in a confined space?
The answer is in understanding detail. Color scheme. What various fabrics do to a room. If you're clever about the lighting, the desk can almost appear to stand in a part of the room by itself.
What makes a hotel room business-ready:
*Ample and accessible electrical outlets
*Powerful (and preferably free) wireless
*A large, modern desk
*Good cell phone reception
*A good desk chair