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Some 70% of leisure travelers and 63% of business travelers say a free hotel breakfast is important in their choice of a hotel. It’s convenient, generally saves a few dollars while saving a lot of time compared to breakfast in a restaurant, and gives you the option of grabbing a bite and going back to your room to work until a later check-out.

Some say a “free breakfast war” might develop among mid-priced hotels. Hope so. It would be good for road warriors. Here are a few ideas hotel executives could consider:

Better coffee. No one expects hotels to compete with Starbucks, but too often you get coffee that’s weak, not hot and at times actually tepid, or offered in cheap styrofoam cups with flat lids that are difficult to use.

Real eggs. You wouldn’t believe how many times you reach for the scrambled eggs only to discover they’re powdered, dry, and inedible.

Real Orange Juice. The watery orangey stuff that passes for orange juice—actually some kind of bad kool-aid—in most hotel breakfast bays is, well, awful.

Whole Milk. Some hotels provide a whole milk option but most do not. Most offer skim and 2%. Adding another choice wouldn’t cost the hotel more because people wouldn’t drink both, just the one they really want.

Variety. Hotels apparently think people stay one night only, yet most business travelers regularly stay in given cities for multiple nights. The same breakfast choices each morning is disheartening.

Hotels can't be expected to turn into restaurants unless they add a restaurant and charge accordingly. But "free" hotel breakfasts have been a welcome accommodations innovation in the past twenty years. Here’s hoping they take them to the next level.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

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