Impact Publications : MICEBTN-73
Page 28 • MICEBTN - September 2019 DEPENDING on which re- port you read, the number of hotels in New York City ranges from 245 (Hotel As- sociation), 258 (New York City Official Guide) and 455 (Trip Advisor). One thing I know, recently when I tried to book accommodation on line for the first week in November 2019, 75 per cent of New York City hotels were booked out. The New York Marathon is being held on the same week I am to attend a conference there, so rates are sky high and availability tight. The New York Hilton Midtown was the largest New York hotel with 1980 rooms. My requirements were specific. The conference I am attending is not in a hotel, so I wanted a reason- ably-priced hotel room close to the conference venue in West 26th Street , with two beds and hope- fully close to the subway. What fascinated me - something I have never seen with Australian hotel descriptions - was the number of ‘benefits’ or ‘features’ that Austral- ian travellers take for granted. Plus, there were some unique ‘benefits’ that I have never seen in Australia, no matter the star rating. It prompted me to ask: Are our hotels underselling themselves to international travellers who might be used to seeing the benefits listed below as the ‘norm’? For example: Free toiletries, daily housekeeping, bathrobes, towels, quality linens, flat screen TV with cable channels, hairdryers, safes, premium bedding, black- out drapes/curtains, iron/ironing Are Australia’s hotels under-pricing their standard facilities in a world where everyone else has to pay? boards, desk, Netflix, iPod docking station, connecting/adjoining rooms available, refrig- erator, sound proof rooms, air conditioning, satellite channels, in room complimentary bottled water. More than 50 per cent of the above list would be taken for granted by Australian travellers. One feature that really surprised me at some hotels was ‘free local and international phone calls’. I have never before seen that of- fered by any international hotel. Hotel descriptions also were full of surprises. That list included: 24- hour concierge, luggage storage, conference space, 24-hour front desk, free bicycles on site, full service spa on site, multi-lingual staff, ATM banking, accessibility equipment for the deaf, braille or raised signage. Wifi varied from free-in-rooms to free in public areas, charges by the hour or day in the room, fitness centre/gym, el- evator/lift, bicycle rentals (nearby), gift shops and news stand. Again, Australian travellers would expect ‘....at some hotels ‘free local and international phone calls were offered’. Many ‘benefits’ or ‘features’ were things that Australian travellers take for granted.