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Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Upside of Cheap Motels


Cheap motels have many advantages from a hotel doctor’s point of view.

Valets are absent, so I can park inside and safely ignore the threatening signs. Security is absent, so elevators respond to whatever floor I push, and I don’t have to explain myself to the front desk. Americans are absent because they can’t afford the fee. I love America but I also love foreign patients. They’re deferential, and they don’t sue.

On the downside, customer service declines with the price of the room. I often need to call in a prescription or consult with the insurance. When I pick up the hotel phone and punch “9” for an outside line, I may hear a busy signal because many hotels require a deposit before opening the phone. If I identify myself as a doctor, larger hotels open the line, but clerks in cheap hotels refuse unless the guest comes down and pays.

Insurers send me to hotels that don’t call, so I take the opportunity to introduce myself. In mainline hotels, staff remember their manners. They smile, listen intently as I make my pitch, agree that my service sounds wonderful, and thank me effusively for my business card. Then they probably forget about me. It’s rare to pick up business, but I always leave feeling good.  

In cheap motels, clerks don’t disguise their lack of interest. “Nobody gets sick,” they say.   

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