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Instant Room Service

October 18, 1987

Toni Taylor's Sept. 20 article brought a recent experience into focus. Checking into the Hotel Monopol across the street from the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof I found a friendly letter on top of the mini-bar. It welcomed guests in English as well as German and invited them to enjoy the beverages free. There was no lock on the tiny refrigerator. It was stocked with a dozen small bottles of white wine, beer, mineral water, orange juice and cola.

The next morning, after the complimentary breakfast of ham and eggs, croissants, cereal, cold cuts, cheese, etc., I inquired about the unusual policy as I checked out. The cashier referred me to a gentleman standing next to her. I. J. Schultz identified himself as the owner/manager of the Monopol and the Excelsior Hotel next door.

"This is a very competitive business," said Schultz, who had studied in the United States, with hardly a trace of accent. "International chains offer bonus miles, frequent sleeper clubs and rooms at half price on weekends. Family-owned hotels need something different to build customer loyalty. We cannot afford sophisticated marketing research."

Talking with guests of many nationalities, Schultz found out that most people indeed appreciate instant room service but consider the prices charged by the big chains outrageous.

E. PAUL IMHOF

Santa Rosa

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