We look at the plethora of requests for “Hospitality Surveys” and ask – have these people lost the plot?

It is now early February and as night follows day and the sun follows the moon, I have received in my inbox yet another hotel request to complete my satisfaction survey, for a stay I cannot remember.

The dawn of the hospitality survey is becoming inversely proportional to the actual interest that these organisations have in even reading the responses they get. I have no interest in saying that my bathroom was clean. And I am not going to be responsible for getting some poor young girl from Lithuania the sack – if on one day in her life she has forgotten to clean said bathroom.

I can only remember one time when I actually did feel obliged to make a negative comment. I received a standard response, thanking me how much I enjoyed my stay. You get the picture.

The North Stafford Hotel, in Stoke On Trent – does not do surveys. They do what I will call “welcome”. The “good old midlands hospitality” at every point in the hotel, is redolent of my time in Atlanta Georgia and the “good’ol southern hospitality” for which they are famous. The North Stafford does not do segregated lines for “loyalty members”, – and the rest of us. There are no automated guichets for self registration and then pick up a keycard and sleep. Everybody is taken as a “loyal customer”. It understands that the prime requisite for choosing any hotel, is to feel personally valued and where there is a focus on the personal relationship.

The hotel is a rambling and stately classic country house, set bang in the middle of town, right opposite the train station. You literally fall out of your Virgin train into the Reception. Checking in is not a hurried experience. Would you like dinner? Of course you would. A three course buffet is less than £10.00. Breakfast that is as good as anything I get in central London – was just £5.00.

The waitress in the bar engages in conversation, how was my day, before hustling off to make a fresh coffee.

It is worth upgrading to the deluxe exec double room. Mine was bigger than my house. Sometimes it’s just nice to walk around in your own room.

Sure, in the pressurised world we all live in, maybe the depersonalisation of business travel is acceptable. But not for me, and not for most others. As said above, North Stafford doesn’t do impersonal. It simply does “welcome”.

Welcome indeed.