Makenzie Gold Quiros
Professor Hunter Hoskins
7 November 2016
Why the Weston Hotel Needs a Lesson In Business
When viewing the front page of the Weston Hotel website most people would be impressed. As with many D.C. area hotels the first image to assault the senses is a picture of the monuments, in the Weston’s case a soaring picture of the Washington Monument dressed in the cherry tree blossoms at it’s base, the dome of the Jefferson Memorial peaking out by the buttons offering to display more photo and video content. This image quickly shifts to a depiction of their lobby, then their modern restaurant, and finally a meeting room before looping back over. To the left of these images, a box offers the immediate booking of a room, a banner at the top displaying ephemera like the address,
contact information, and weather status in live time. The grandeur ends where however; once you get over the initial impressive nature of the high definition photos. The lackluster details wheedle their way to the forefront. Eye catching reviews such as: “The food at our meetings was good.” are displayed proudly on the picture of their meeting room; oddly phrased statements like: “The staff were great to deal with.” causes some confusion over the real experience of the hotel.
In contrast to the sterility of the Weston website, which displays a popularized and edited depiction of D.C., the site for Luther Place Memorial Church proclaims itself to be part of a different face of D.C. The church is across Thomas Circle from the Weston, next to the National City Christian Church, whose website emphasises the tag line “An Open and Inclusive Church.” In less than four hundred meters, the message being displayed changes from the exclusive vision perpetuated by the deletion of any flaws to the idea that flaws and unique character are welcome. Jesus may have kicked the moneylenders out of the church but it seems that they haven’t gone very far.
Scrolling further down the webpage will reveal the hotel’s pitch to the consumer, using target words such as “rejuvenate”, “thrive”, and “recharge” in an uncreative pitch to the website visitor. It should be noted that it refers to “The Westin Heavenly Bed®” like it should be something of meaning to the audience, but has no further expansion on it in the rest of the website. Obviously trademarked, under further investigation it is revealed to just be a mattress type. Not only is it just a mattress, it is a mattress with a D rating in owner satisfaction according to sleeplikethedead.com and 74% or people gave it one star on amazon.com. There is no review section on the Weston Store website.
Next appears the unavoidable plug to join the group of whatever membership club the hotel chain has created in order to gain points to achieve the unreachable tally for a free night, or upgraded membership. Just as department stores hook their customers into purchasing unnecessary and costly store credit cards, hotels have developed a system of membership that has the ability to drain your wallet while cheerfully keeping the illusion that you are much more happy because of it.
While the less than impressive reviews were slightly hidden at the top of the page with light text and small font, not all mediocrity is confined to the shadows. In fact, if you work at the Weston you put it front and center. The Westin is a three star hotel, not the best but certainly not the worst. While this is a perfectly acceptable thing for the Westin to be it is odd when the website attempts to convey a five star feeling while openly displaying that it only has a rating of three point three stars. Not only that, but only fifty seven percent of their guests would recommend the hotel to their friends. After these facts come more in depth displays of their amenities, something that is odd to have on the first page when the links to these pages are clearly displayed on the top bar that follows as you scroll.
I don’t wish to down on the Westin, it’s a hotel that is working hard to improve itself and still, even years later, climbing out of the history it’s predecessor left. However, it seems obvious to me that the best thing about this hotel is where it is, and the people that come from that place. Yes. We get it. You got a renovation in 2008 that gave the hotel a huge facelift, but people is what makes a place memorable; in the entire website there is not one picture of someone who works there, despite a large portion of their reviews acclaiming the services that they received and the people who carried them out.
Maybe the Westin could take a few notes from the churches that surround them, it’s very name includes “Community Center” in it. To be a successful business you have to listen to what your customers are saying, if the Westin cares as much about upping it’s stars as much as their website suggests, they’ll start to find a way to celebrate it’s people, not just it’s furniture.
“Westin Washington Reviews.” N.p., n.d. Web.
“Westin Washington D.C. City Center Home Website.” N.p., n.d. Web.
“Westin Store.” Heavenly Bed Mattress & Box Spring Set. N.p., n.d. Web.
“Sleep Like the Dead.” Unbiased Heavenly Bed Reviews. N.p., n.d. Web.
Martin, Caitlin. “Highlights from The Westin Washington, D.C. City Center’s Million Dollar Renovation.” N.p., n.d. Print.