As hoteliers refresh their focus on understanding guest behaviours, it’s time to look at hotels through the customers’ eyes. For Media One Dubai’s general manager Mark Lee, that means total relaxation while on holiday and value for money whatever the rating
How do you book a hotel? (travel agent, direct phone call, direct email, online, mobile etc).
Usually directly at the hotel, if not, mostly by email. As my wife likes last minute adventures we don’t always know where we will end up.
When was the last time you used a travel agent for personal travel?
When we booked a stay at the Anantara resort on Sir Bani Yas Island.
Front desk or self-service kiosk – which one do you approach for check-in?
Front desk, as I haven’t come across a hotel with a self-service kiosk.
What’s the first thing you do when you enter your hotel room?
Look at the view out of the window, check-out the bed and see what sports channels are on the TV!
What do you prefer – an espresso machine or kettle and fine teas?
How much would you be willing to pay to use the internet in a hotel?
Not very much — when I use a hotel for leisure purposes the last thing I want to do is go online.
How long do you wait for room service before calling to chase it?
Depends on what has been ordered, but my threshold is 30 minutes.
What item do you always hope to find on the in-room dining menu?
Probably a good steak.
What are you most likely to complain about in a hotel?
If the A/C was too cold or the room not clean enough.
What will make you recommend a hotel to a friend?
Overall value for money — it doesn’t matter if the hotel is cheaper or more expensive, if the perceived value for money is there then it is worth recommending to someone.
What’s your hotel pet peeve?
Don’t really have one — when I go away I want to switch-off and relax, I don’t walk around with a white glove and check all the light bulbs.
What did you last pinch from a hotel?
I would never dream of doing such a thing, but my wife probably loads up on all the bathroom amenities and unused slippers.
What’s best - pool or beach?
Both! For me probably the beach and for my wife the pool.
What do you use - traditional menu or iPad menu?
How do you relax when not at work?
Spend time with my family, growing vegetables in our small garden and watching sport on TV.
What’s your favourite holiday memory?
Probably my honeymoon… We booked a trip to San Francisco with a hotel for three nights and planned the rest from there, which included five days in Hawaii renting a car for three days and driving around California on an adventure — sometimes not booking your hotel in advance backfires and we had to sleep one night in our car in a TGI Friday’s car park because it was labour day weekend and all hotels were full!
What’s your best business travel experience and why?
When the flights are on time and the suitcase arrives safely — I have had many experiences of missed flights due to delays and missing suitcases so that is all I ask for!
Which holiday experience would you rather forget and why?
I cannot recall any — holidays are meant to be enjoyed and therefore I always look at the positives.
Have you ever checked out of a hotel early because it was so bad? Why?
Nearly; in Paris. The hotel we had booked was very average, but we were young and on a tight budget. The room was not very clean with everything from dirty sheets, dusty wardrobes and stained carpets.
Which airport would you most hate to be delayed in?
I have had to wait in Athens airport for six hours (before their Olympics), I was also delayed for the same time in Bucharest on a recent trip and that wasn’t much fun.
How many hours could you cope without your phone when on holiday?
The whole time!
If you weren’t a hotelier, what would you be?
If I had studied economics, I think I would have enjoyed working on the stock exchange.
Tell us one thing your team don’t know about you?
I have been robbed at gunpoint in Madrid and stung by a scorpion in Dubai.