Time to declutter hotels, starting with excess signage
Time to declutter hotels, starting with excess signage
17 MAY 2017 12:23 PM

At your independent hotels, deep cleaning shouldn’t happen only in springtime.

We all know what spring cleaning around the house is all about.

It’s that time of year to open the windows, get some fresh air in, and really go deep with the cleaning. It’s a time to throw out the junk we’ve acquired since last year. Old coats and hats, one glove, the dog chews, dead canned goods that seemed like a great idea three years ago, 12 toothbrushes saved for cleaning, coupons long since expired, and of course the sheets and towels and broken doo-dads. All this and more should be gone with the winter winds. With fresh air and a deep clean, our homes are de-cluttered and invigorated, ready to provide pride and comfort.

At our hotels, we do spring cleaning, but also summer, fall and winter, too. We start in the storerooms, move to the offices, the drawers, the filing cabinets and ultimately we make our way to the bedrooms.

If you’re saving a file in an office and haven’t seen or used it in a year, toss it out. If you’re hoarding tendencies are taking control, scan the document, and then throw it out. But get rid of it! Likewise, toner cartridges retained year after year, “bye-bye.” How about those buffet displays last used in 1997; perhaps a staff member wants it? Registration cards, credit card carbon slips, de-magnetized key cards, old-logo sales collateral, we save it all because it’s “valuable.” Ha! It’s junk; find the nearest dumpster and don’t look back.

Likewise, have you ever stayed at a hotel that was “sign happy”? We looked at a hotel for potential acquisition a few years back, and it was absolutely astonishing how many signs had been added to the front of the house, in an attempt to provide clarity to the guest. Every five feet, another sign—this way to the toilets or access to the subway, no smoking permitted, pull up here to activate the shower, use water from sink to make coffee, save the earth and recycle towels, check-out time is 11 a.m., earn double points, join Happy Hotel Club, download this app, stand here for a cab, this door locked, no gum chewing, must be 21 to enter, must be 21 to drink alcohol, pregnant women shouldn’t drink, Wi-Fi passcode = OMG, earn triple points by booking directly, did you know …, mini-bar is not complimentary, this water is complimentary, and on and on and on. Excessive signage does not provide clarity, it confuses and distracts.

Honestly, the first thing I do, when I enter my hotel room for a three-night stay is walk around the room and gather up every single piece of collateral, warning sign, table tent, notice, suggestion or marketing material. Then I open the biggest drawer I can find and dump it inside. Hotels should be our home away from home, our refuge, a place of calm. It cannot be any of these things when marketing materials and warnings are silently barking out instructions throughout the stay.

Then it’s on to the elevators; you know what I’m referring to: Eight different signs stuck on the inside of cab, telling you how to swipe, where’s the gym, access to pedway, no pool access this floor, no smoking (duh), all done in a different fonts on cheap plastic.

All of this is the antithesis of great marketing. It’s barking. Stop barking at the guest and throw out the clutter!

George Jordan is senior vice president – operations for Oxford Hotels & Resorts, overseeing a cluster of three-, four-, and 4 ½ -star hotels, both operating and under development. Mr. Jordan has worked in hotels for over 30 years including the Arizona Biltmore, The St. Paul, The Marquette, The Drake, Raffaello Hotel, Hotel Felix, and most recently The Godfrey Hotel Chicago. New openings currently orchestrated by Mr. Jordan include the Godfrey Hotel Boston, and LondonHouse Chicago. Mr. Jordan rose through the ranks while attending college at University of Southern California and Arizona State University, where he obtained a B.S. in finance. George has served as area food and beverage director for Hilton International, based out of the Drake Hotel Chicago, and also as hotel manager at the Drake. George joined the Oxford team in 2009 as area general manager; he was promoted to senior vice president in 2012. His daily duties include oversight of Hotel Felix, Hotel Cass, Godfrey Hotel, and contributes his operational and marketing expertise to acquisition activities. George is a well-respected leader and a member of many Chicago civic organizations including The Magnificent Mile Association, CCTB, DLC and serves on the board of directors for Lawson House YMCA and on the advisory council of De Paul University’s School of Hospitality. Mr. Jordan writes a quarterly column for Hotel News Now and is slated to be a cast member in an upcoming reality TV series.

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