Montana Hotels Are Desperately Trying To Save Money By Removing The Basics
The skimping that's going on in Montana hotels is getting ridiculous. From big things like not maintaining their pools and hot tubs, to small conveniences like pads of paper and laundry bags - we're all noticing, and we don't appreciate it as your guest.
NOTE: Housekeeping is not at all the issue here. In fact, of all the hotel services that have been scaled back, housekeeping 'on request' is something I can totally get on board with. Housekeeping staff have an incredibly hard job, generally don't get paid enough, and I have always tried to make their job easier.
What this article IS about: the ever growing list of small things that you'll be unlikely to find during your next hotel stay. Not ALL hotels have become so blatantly cheap, but after spending the last 8 months traveling (and revisiting) various properties across the state, my observations are not a one off "oh we forgot that" kind of thing.
In addition to the list of minor gripes, there are several instances where big hotel chains are doing a pretty terrible job at keeping their amenities functioning. Pools? Hot tubs? Saunas? Printers? Don't be surprised if they're down for maintenance....for weeks at a time. That's actually a big deal if the reason you booked a certain property was because of their amenities, only to find out at check in you can't use them.
So here's the list we put together of the SMALL things you may not find at your hotel these days. Yes, they're very small things but they make a hotel stay more convenient. AND when you find yourself with SEVERAL of the following no longer there, it can be a pain in the ass. Let's not forget - hotel rooms haven't gotten any cheaper. This all means you're paying much more, for much less.
- Pad of paper and a pen: About half of the hotel rooms I've had in the last year or so have not supplied a small note pad or a pen. They weren't hiding in the drawer either.
- An extra blanket in the closet: Where have all the cheap, thick velour hotel blankets gone? I don't love those things but when you need one, you need one.
- Plastic laundry bag in the closet: Not having that bag, or not having it replaced with each room cleaning is a royal pain in the butt. Just about everyone uses it, even if it's for something other than laundry.
- Newspaper: Some may disagree with this one, but I love getting a paper at my door while out of town. It was a basic perk of one of the major chains for many years, but not anymore. It silently disappeared, never to return.
- In-room basic recycling: It has been months since I've seen a hotel room in Montana with a couple of extra bins for the most basic of recycling. Cans and plastic bottles. Nothing complicated needed. But they're gone.
- Recycling anywhere, for that matter: Rarely did we find basic recycling bins anywhere in guest areas. At least keep them near vending and ice machines?
- Kleenex: Not all, but several rooms didn't have any tissues. Will toilet paper work? I guess. But, ew. Come on, we haven't come to that, have we?
- Enough coffee at breakfast: People have come to depend on some sort of free breakfast in the morning when traveling. I never expect much - just enough to get the day started. But coffee? Please for the love of God, keep those things filled up in the morning along with cream and sugar. Your guests are at your mercy for caffeine.
- TV Channel Guide/Sheet: It's been forever since that handy channel guide has been in any of my hotel rooms. Yeah, I understand that one of the channels is actually a channel guide but I'd rather not spend 15 minutes finding it. Hence, the printed out guide is super convenient. Hell, put a sticker on the wall. I don't care. But some sort of channel guide can't be that expensive.
Are all these things we as guests can live without? Of course. But again, hotel rooms haven't gotten any cheaper. You're just getting less for your money even if you've got 'status' with a particular chain. Did COVID-19 change the way hotels had to operate? Certainly. But we still need a bag for the dirty laundry, eh?