Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Hotel Business in 2014

My records show 685 calls during 2014, slightly fewer than 2013. This represents my first decline since 2001 (the months after 9/11 were bad for tourism).

In my defense I took more time off because we bought and remodeled a house in Lexington, Kentucky where I plan to retire in the future. The distant future.

While this is comforting, the painful truth is that hotel doctoring has grown brutally competitive.

If you google “Los Angeles house call doctor” half a dozen names appear but not mine. Furthermore, these newcomers are amazing: Christlike in their empathy, compassionate, brilliant. For proof, read comments on Yelp or Healthgrades: five out of five stars every time, unanimous praise.

These doctors market aggressively. They have web sites. They visit hotels, speaking to concierges, bellmen, and desk clerks, undoubtedly emphasizing their compassion and brilliance.

Most hotel managers ignore this area, so when a guest asks for a doctor, the choice is up to the employee. While I’m the best choice, most doctors are adequate although you must google “Jules Lusman.” He arrived, acquired a flourishing hotel practice, and left the country in 2003 in a flurry of publicity and minus his license.

Every Los Angeles hotel has called me. About twenty call exclusively, but even their employees are not immune to the charm of these newcomers.

Luckily, calls directly from hotels make up less than half my business. I’m the doctor for half a dozen travel insurers with offices around the world. I also work for national housecall services which solicit the general public as well as hotels. I care for airline crew when they lay over. When Frenchmen living or passing through Los Angeles get sick, they call a French lady who calls me.

These businesses pay attention to the bottom line: quality of service and fees. They have less interest in charm or the amenities that appeal to hotel employees. I don’t foresee a problem with them.

1 comment:

  1. Due to doctor shortage, some people do not have a family doctor. Consequently, while on an Island vacation, I found it curiously interesting to see a well kept clinic and ambulance with medical personnel periodically outside seemingly awaiting patients. I wondered how the patients were treated. A tourist who fell received the best of care-- at no charge!

    Nicholas Taylor @ Vancouver Business Brokers