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Hotels Suffered in 2009, but Service Didn’t

Travelocity’s most recent poll of over 2,000 North Americans revealed that despite the troubles faced by the hotel industry in 2009, the vast majority of travelers felt service was the same or better than the year prior.

69 percent of respondents felt service was “about the same” in 2009 compared to 2008, while 23 percent felt service levels had improved. Topping the list of ways service had improved was shorter lines, more free amenities, and improvement in room cleanliness.  Just eight percent felt service was worse.

Knowing many hotels had to makes cuts to survive in 2009, the results are somewhat counterintuitive.  But perhaps the reduced number of travelers allowed harried hotel staffers to give more individualized attention to their guests. It’s also possible that the hotels and their staff were simply more appreciative of the guests that did spend their hard-earned money at their properties in 2009. And we all know that the ‘year of the travel deal’ meant hotels were throwing in freebies galore  — everything from spa credits to free breakfast to free nights and room upgrades.

The hotel industry isn’t out of the woods yet, but I hope the lessons learned in the great recession on 2009 carry over for years to come. Your customers notice.


My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.

How I earn my keep: I work at Travelocity.

Greatest travel lesson learned: I travel for my job, but I've learned work is work, vacation is vacation, and it's best not to try and do both on one trip.

Fondest travel memory: There are so many... but a recent experience was being totally jet-lagged and waking up pre-dawn in Koh Samui, Thailand, and watching the sun rise with my husband on the beach. We talked about what all our friends and family were doing at that very same moment as the sun set back home in New York.

First thing I do in a new place: Peruse the local restaurants and map out my dining strategy for the duration of my trip. Dining strategy = eating at as many restaurants as humanly possible.

First thing I do when I get home: Put a push pin on the destination I just returned from on the map of the world that hangs on the wall above my couch.

Travel ambition: To cover that map completely in push pins.

My most beloved place in the whole world: Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.

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