When you don’t use your own product…

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When building any product, you should do one thing above anything else. 
Use it 
and use it regularly 
like your life and lifestyle depend on it.
You will find plenty of real issues than otherwise. Who builds, design and manages hotels clearly sleep at home and never actually depends on the product.
I am confident they use it on occasion. Just like any QA would check quality and specs matching of an about to be released product. 
There’s a key difference when it comes to accommodations, like hotels, and that requires not crossing a checklist but design for human experience. Today, all that QA work is done by consumption principle which leads to cost savings and operational efficiency rather than life measurable quality.
In addition to what has been mentioned by One Mile At A Time blog, I want to share my views on what the accommodation business is getting 100% wrong and particularly in the US.
My travel habits/customs are as follow:
  • Average hotel, 4 stars with occasional 5 stars
  • Average travel period, once a month for a week, domestically
  • 15% international travel
  • I have stayed multiple times in every single major brand and high-end niches hospitality brands
What I see wrong in 90% of the situations:
Light Switches
They are always in multiple places, they activate different, often illogically, things. They are placed like an electrician snorted into the room and close the door quickly.
Air Vents
They are placed in the most irrational spots with a high concentration of aim at the bed, usually toward the head of someone’s sleeping. They are noisy so even if you reach volcano temperature overnight you still going deaf by the early morning. Taking aside the poor air quality and all the other negative side effects of recycled/filtered air.
Thermostats
It’s literally impossible to set the temperature to your likeness and keep it stable. With the exception of 5 stars hotels where this is almost never a problem for suites. Faena’s in Miami so far is the one that got it dead center, everyone else literally treats humans like food to refrigerate. Conversely, in almost every hotel where I have been after 2AM no matter what setting you have, the thermostat shuts off and so the vent. Converting your room into either an oven or a freezer. Reporting the issue results in a comment not worth sharing as the pixel on the screen would share disappointment.
Comfort
Pillows are mostly for show. You can pile up all pillows you received and you hold your head down in one spot for just two minutes; they will become either one weird uncomfortable blob or an ultra-thin layer of nothing. Asking for foam pillows often mitigates but just like getting a USB stick right the first time you plug it in, it’s a matter of a few flips.
On a random basis, the mattress sinks on the most used spot by guests. If you switch on the other side you will experience a warping due to the unevenness of the internal structure of the bed. Their approach is to change the room… which means the next customer is going to be that lucky again. If you sleep at an angle you actually balance your weight and enjoy a completely new support level, unfortunately, in the midst of such weird placement you are going to either fell off the bed or the thermostat will shut off making you a weirdly shaped cod.
Lighting
The useless, dated iHome alarm clock with iPod support that no one has or with iPhone 3 attachment that no one has, will be almost invisible during the day and shine like a lighthouse overnight.
When the room goes dark* you will start realizing how dumb is the use of their LEDS. Smoke detectors, accessibility friendly alarms, thermostats that have leds so bright that the light shines on the side of the enclosure if you attempt to cover the display to catch some decent zzz. You name it. Their answer to a complain: try a sleeping mask!
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The worst that happens to me with a 50% chance is when some kind of device with four seconds flashing rhythm is placed right on top of the bed in line of sight. So sleeping face up is pretty much torture.
The most ridiculous of the situations is the led of the TV, sometimes they are so intense that they brighten the room to the point that walking to the bathroom overnight is a breeze (thanks to some thermostat too).
Naturally when you get to the bathroom the night light it’s even not there, if it is there is uselessly opaque or it is in a position where it doesn’t lit up the toilet, you know the reason why you use the bathroom overnight…
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You might have noticed the asterisk on the word “dark” in the paragraph above. Well, that is because I have yet to find any hotel of any branding, location, and establishment that understands the principle of “the blinds are for blocking lights”.
What happens is that the joining point where the blinds merge never stays together or never seals so if you are lucky that the outside light doesn’t shine from the edges you can’t reach black nirvana because after you played with the short stick that leads the drapes, you walk away and slowly they fade apart again.
Some people don’t care about lights because they have eyelids so thick that a lighthouse doesn’t wake them up. People that tend to spend years in front of a computer screen have often thinner eyelids which leads to optical stressing while you are in the REM stage.
Almost every international hotel where I have been, with particular attention to Japan understands lighting is a key asset of the hospitality experience.
You have something that that I didn’t hit, share away in the comments.

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