Occasionally we all need a break from thinking about enterprise software, right? So I’ve decided to begin a periodic series of (hopefully) amusing posts about my travel experiences.

Why business travel?

  • It is something I know well (1.5 million miles on United for example) and
  • These days, nothing is more absurd than business travel.

I will clearly label these silly posts so you can easily delete them.  Which brings me to:

Extended Stay America

I don’t need fancy hotels, but is a clean room and good wi-fi too much to ask?  Sometimes it is.  And while I hate to pick on any one brand, since they all are capable of disappointing from time to time, my recent stay at Extended Stay America stood out.  To be fair, as the name implies, Extended Stay America, is not targeted at the one-night business traveler.  It is for folks who need a long-term option.  It is quite reasonably priced and the rooms have kitchens, but the hotels also have few amenities.  It was admittedly a bad match, but it was the only downtown Austin hotel with availability that night.

Extended Stay America Logo

Extended Wait for Wireless

The first clue to my upcoming experience came upon hotel check-in when the clerk said “ To access the wireless network, just find the Extended Stay America guest network and enter your last name and room number”. So far so good.  But then she curiously added,  “And if that does not work just call the front desk”.  Odd, I thought, why would it not work?  Hmmm.

Sure enough the wireless did not work.  My name and room number showed up as not being in the system.  The hotel’s wireless site indicated I could also enter a pass code to get access, but I was not given a pass code.  I called the front desk and was given a phone number to call for tech support.  I called, waited on hold, and was then told by a corporate employee that the number I had been given was for hotel personnel only.  Mr. Corporate Tool gave me another number to call.  I called this second number, which offered an automated system again for hotel personnel only, not guests.  While on hold, I met the manager at the front desk.  He took my computer for 30 seconds and handed it back to me fully connected to the wireless network.

Naturally, I inquired as to how he had fixed the problem so quickly?  The manager responded that he had simply typed in the pass code.  He added that for several weeks many folks had been having the problem with the name and room number approach I was instructed to use.  The bottom line was that I had been sent on a half hour wild goose chase for no reason at all.  All I needed was the pass code. Apparently, this was too easy a solution to use with guests when they check in!

More Fun at Extended Stay America

On my way back to the room, I dodged the construction in the lobby and went back to my room with its open, gaping hole in the wall, open energy drink in the fridge, analog TV with eight, glorious channels, stained carpet, and convenient plastic tub and shower.  Later that night, I was awakened at 3 am by the party noise in the room next door which came straight through the paper-thin walls.

New Slogans for Extended Stay America

Some good did come of this debacle.  I had time that night to develop new slogans for Extended Stay America.  I hope the company will consider some of the following:

Extended Stay America:  The one place to stay when there’s nowhere else to stay.

Extended Stay America:  Like camping only more expensive.

Extended Stay America:  Where the stains are still moist.

Extended Stain America

Extended Stay America:  Never any hair on the top side of the soap.

Extended Stay America:  Now offering a “Super-Eco friendly” option:  Just hang up your dirty towels for the next guest to enjoy.

In the next installment of Tales from a B2B Road Warrior:  the return of airline snacks.

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