Monthly Archives: January 2014

Comfort Inn & Suites has some serious branding issues

Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites used to be my favorite brand for medium priced hotels. I still like many of their individual branches. However, I had had several recent issues with branches and with central management that leave me very disappointed.

Despite my complaints, Comfort Inn is still a reasonable chain. They are not bad by any standards.

Do not disturb
I have had many issues with do not disturb signs. I think they should have two signs. “Do not disturb” and “Please honor the do not disturb sign.” Maids typically disregard this sign if they think you are checked out. The result is that they systematically ruin my mediation and try to enter my room while I am naked in the shower or bathroom. Unbelievable. If you are not sure if someone has checked out, then contact the front desk and let them deal with it. What is the point of having a do not disturb sign if you don’t honor it?

Windows locked?
I went to a Comfort Inn which I had been going to for years. All of a sudden they decided to lock all of their windows on a whim. I need oxygen. You can’t suffocate me like this. They said that if I asked in advance they could remove the lock. Why have a lock in the first place? It is not necessary.

PhD remote controls?
I went to one branch of Comfort Inn where the remote control was so complicated that you need a PhD to figure it out. I like to watch TV at night, but they made it so complicated, that I got very frustrated.

Each hotel uses different showerheads. Many are not very focused and have a very thin stream of water. Some are too low as well. Having a good shower leaves you with a good memory of the hotel. It is an issue that should be taken seriously.

The corporate complaint line
I called the complaint line and was told that individual branches can run their branch as they like. What is the point of having a brand name if there is no consistency in the branches? You never know what to expect. If you go to McDonalds, any branch will have identical tasting food. But, if you go to Comfort Inn, you don’t know what to expect.

I heard from branch managers that there were corporate standards for when to hang their flag at half mast, and what type of furniture to put in the lobby. The newer furniture was really tacky looking and in poor taste. How you hang your flag is not really important in the hotel business. But, how you handle the details of your customer service and rooms matters a lot. I feel that Comfort Inn needs to have enforced standards for the points that I addressed, and maybe some additional finer points as well.

Another point is that Comfort Suites tends to be in new buildings while Comfort Inns tend to be in second hand buildings. You can’t have uniform standards for what your chain will be like if you are always in buildings with different layouts and standards!