It was Saturday night and after congratulating all the known Craig high school graduates at the party in Janesville, it was time to go back to our hotel room and chill. But wait, it was the NHL playoffs and the Chicago Blackhawks were playing the Boston Bruins that evening so there was some anticipation as I drove back to the hotel. After some searching, I didn’t have good news – even with high definition TV and cable, I was unable to watch the game on the tube. Apparently NBC decided to have some of these games on the NBC Sports Network which was not available at the Baymont. I blame the hotel less and NBC more. So the NHL cancels nearly half their games this year because of the labor disagreement and now some of the NHL finals games are not on commercial TV – it doesn’t take a marketing SME or brand expert to know they didn’t put their best foot (or skate for that matter) forward. Again, I will not blame the hotel and my frustration is clearly on NBC and the NHL. Regardless, it happened in the hotel so this resonates with me when I think of the Baymont Hotel of Janesville.
Back to hotel. I chose the top floor (4th floor) so I would not have to heard guest jumping up and down in their hotel room at 2 am. Regardless of what floor I choose when staying at a hotel, I typically choose the stairs instead of the elevator for a variety of reasons – this stairwell was a little dirty and it appeared the ventilation filter needed to be changed and no floor numbers on the stairway doors. I guess it’s a good thing that this 4 story hotel did not have any more floors for safety and tracking purposes.
When you frequent your room late on Saturday and leave the hotel after your first meal on Sunday morning, the breakfast piece might be the make or break piece of the experience.
First, there was no yogurt to choose from at breakfast. Generally, our hotels have yogurt and even though my favorite flavors may not be available, it gives me another option if some of the other selection is less than attractive. I would have even accepted plain yogurt and added some jam to give it some flavor but that wasn’t even an option.
Moving on to cereal, I noticed no cereal dispenser for raisin bran, cheerios and fruit loops. Trying to be eco-conscious, I prefer the cereal dispensers to save resources associated with the plastic and wrapping with the individual cereal containers. Plus, the dispenser gives breakfast guests the option to select the right amount for their bowl so they don’t have to finagle with adding some cereal from a second container to fill-up the cereal bowl.
I was able to handle a limited supply of cereal as I rely on the slow cooked oatmeal until I noticed the Baymont did not have the fresh stuff. With my busy life, I often don’t cook slowing cooking oats at home – having this at hotels keeps this option keeps oats as part of my diet, occasionally. I will not lie when one of my favorite hotel dishes is fresh oatmeal with the option to add walnuts, raisins, craisins and brown sugar and if I’m lucky cinnamon too. Not this day. I don’t believe cooking oatmeal is expensive, perhaps it’s a resource issue? Or guest don’t often make this request so why provide it?
Bananas were not ripe and bananas that are real starchy can cause digestive challenges. When you have the desire for a banana for breakfast on Sunday, you don’t want to wait 2-3 days before it’s ripe so on to apples.
The only apple option were of the delicious variety. At many hotels, the most frequent options are delicious followed by granny smith apples. These apples were not flying off the shelf (sort of speak). In fact, I was waiting for a group of friends so I visited the breakfast bar 3 individual times on Sunday morning and I didn’t see one person choose an apple for breakfast. Were they not appealing looking or were the waffles with syrup at the top of peoples’ lists?
So instead of breakfast consisting of oatmeal with condiments, a banana, yogurt, orange juice and coffee, I settled for orange juice, coffee and raisin bran. Indeed, raisin bran contains sugar like packets of oatmeal although I wanted a lot of fiber that morning so I opted for raisin bran.
I believed I paid $109 for the room without taxes and expected a little better option to break my fast (breakfast). At the same time, supply and demand may come into play within the hotel market. With very few hotels to choose from in Janesville, it’s not surprising that some hotel chains will engage in “what the market will bear” philosophy while selling hotel space.