Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How a Hotel Doctor Is Like A Prostitute

2013 was my busiest year. Calls were up twelve percent. It's also the year when calls directly from hotels dropped below fifty percent.

I now make most visits at the request of national housecall agencies, international travel insurers, airlines, and a sprinkling of miscellaneous sources including other hotel doctors. That's fine with me.

About fifteen Los Angeles hotels call me exclusively. That leaves over a hundred, all of whom have my number but who call another doctor or no doctor and sometimes me. Competition for these hotels has become so cutthroat that I'm happy to leave it to others.

If you follow this blog you've learned about my excellent skills and low fees. Why would a hotel bother with anyone else? The answer is that service and price are useless marketing tools in medicine where the law of supply and demand doesn't work.

Providing a doctor produces no revenue for the hotel, and guests don't demand one, so most general managers pay no attention. Asked for help by a guest, employees are on their own.

They may simply give out a number, but many prefer the traditional arrangement once used to summon a prostitute. A bellman made a phone call. As the lady left, she stopped at the bell desk to drop off a portion of her fee.

It's illegal for a doctor to pay for a referral, but what are the options for someone yearning to break in to the glamorous world of hotel doctoring? Claiming to deliver superior medical care sounds weird. Advertising a low fee is vulgar.

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