Some hotels treat their most frequent guests to a welcome amenity waiting for them in their room. But they don’t always suit their audience. You should never look a gift horse in the mouth, but what about trading one welcome amenity for another?
Yes, It’s Free But That Doesn’t Mean I Want It
I understand that it is a first-world problem to receive welcome amenity but not the desired welcome amenity and complain. I am not complaining. However, just because something is given to me, doesn’t mean I want it solely because I didn’t have to pay for it.
For example, I sometimes turn down meals on an airplane where I know that the food will not be good but will be loaded with sodium. I don’t eat Southwest Airlines’ pretzels because I don’t care for them, just because they are complementary, doesn’t mean I will enjoy them.
The Purpose Is To Positively Enhance the Guest’s Experience
When a hotel offers a welcome amenity to a guest, they want the guest to enjoy their experience and feel right at home. Hyatt hotels are great at these, the Kimpton Seafire recently welcomed us with a chocolate pretzel cake and bottle of Prosecco, The Principal Hotel (Kimpton Manchester) had a bottle of wine and snack box.
It sends a message to the guest that before they even arrived on-site, someone at the property was thinking about them and wanted to make sure they were happy.
Personally, I love it any time a hotel takes the time to put in a small amount of extra effort. Even select service properties like Hampton Inn or Hyatt Place will sometimes leave a small bottle of water, and a bag of chips with a note that says, “Welcome, Mr. Stewart.” It’s thoughtful.
Whine And Cheese
I am sure the wine critique will have the world up in arms, so let me first address the cheese plate. Holiday Inn Resort Aruba and dozens of Hyatt hotels the world over have generously put out fruit and cheese plates for us to enjoy upon checking in. I love cheese so I have no complaints, but what about guests who are lactose intolerant? What about those who aren’t the enthusiasts my wife and I are? If the guest can’t or doesn’t consume the welcome amenity, does the intended effect still take place?
My wife and I don’t often drink. We don’t have anything against those who do, we used to it’s just that we don’t anymore. A bottle of wine (red, white, bubbly, or rosé) will sit there untouched our entire stay. Most of the time I wish that the staff would just take it home with them instead.
The Grand Hyatt DFW allowed guests to order off of a specific welcome amenity menu, but if you can’t eat spicy food or don’t care for TexMex you are kind of out of luck with the exception of a snack box.
Uncouth or Helpful?
When I buy someone a present, I want to give them something they will like. If I’m having guests over for a cookout and one is a vegetarian, I will gladly cook a mushroom for them or whatever it is that those sort of people eats. If they want a Pepsi instead of a Coke… they wandered into the wrong backyard.
The point is, I would rather someone communicate what would make them happy rather than have them not enjoy their experience. I would imagine hotels are the same way. However, some guests are perceived to be pretentious. Who rejects or tries to swap a gift someone gives them? It’s not a good look.
So when a hotel brings a bottle of something that they intend to make me happy but I will never drink, would the hotel rather I told them so they could provide something else, or just leave it in the room? Should I try to trade the welcome amenity for something that delivers the desired effect, or leave it as it is?
What do you think? Would you trade a welcome amenity if the given item wouldn’t benefit you? Is it uncouth or helpful to the property?