In a business development outreach correspondence, I was recently asked what my ideal experience looked lik at hotels.
i thought it was a great question, and wanted to share that with guests and hotels alike!
On the hotel website, I should be able to easily identity breastfeeding amenities, such as portable in-room fridges with the freezer shelves, or a concierge fridge. This can help me save plenty of time, as i won't need to call hotels individually while comparing price and location each time.
If Price Comparison sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com etc would consider using an icon to represent breastfeeding amenities, how awesome would that be?
Because of the lack of information, I almost always have to call to make my booking at a hotel so that I can:
1. Find out if they DO have fridges with the freezer shelves
2. Request that one the guaranteed for me on arrival
Sometimes, this call gets transferred into the reservations office, which is a centralized location, and the representative does not know what the individual property has onsite. Othertimes, the reservationist may just be looking at their list of details and will tell you that they have none, without checking directly with the hotel itself.
Ideally, I'd love to have the reservations office be aware of which properties have these fridges and freezer units. They should also be able to guarantee my request (given a reasonable amount of lead time), instead of directing me to the hotel property front desk, which could result several back and forth calls for me before I can even book a room.
Other leading signs that can signal to the reservationist that the guest may be breastfeeding:
- The guest has requested a crib in-room
- The guest has said they are traveling with an infant
- The guest asks about refrigeration at bag storage
If the reservationist is savvy enough to ask what the purpose of the fridge is for, and whether it's used for breast milk or medicine.
I've had hotels pro-actively offer the fridge when they learned I was breastfeeding, or offer me a concierge fridge specially for breast milk. This kind of awareness goes a really long way in helping me feel like the hotel is sensitive to my needs.
Ideally, at check in, the room should be ready, and the fridge should be in-room as well. Front desk agents should also know what the specs of the fridges are, namely that it DOES contain a freezer shelf, instead of being a regular mini-bar fridge.
In a previous hotel that i stayed at, they had actually been able to honor my request. However, when I asked about the fridge at check in, the front desk agent wasn't aware of the fridge specs and whether it has a freezer shelf. So, we both were unnecessarily disappointed for a moment, thinking that my needs were not being met.
Instead of me having to confirm my request at check it, I'd love it if the front desk would pro-actively remind me of my request, and then let me know they already had a fridge in-room.
If they offered dishwashing soap as part of their "standard amentities that you can ask for (like toothpaste)", I would be even more impressed.
While waiting for a room:
If I'm not able to get into a room at the time of check in, it would be great if the front desk agent would offer me an alternative space to express my milk. Since they already know that I am breastfeeding from my booking request, it would be kind of them to pro-actively let me know about any lactation amenities that the property may have, rather than have me assume that the property doesn't have alternatives.
This could be a courtesy guest room, or even a nursing room that the property may have on site for their employees.
I once asked about an alternative location to pump, and the front desk agent was kind enough to offer me a treatment room at the spa. While it was very tranquil and nice, it didn't have an outlet for me to plug in, sit down, or a sink with towels to wash my parts.
If the hotel has alternate pumping locations with the following amenities:
- Electrical Outlet
- Chair & desk
- Sink, Dishwashing soap, Towel
Knowing that I am breastfeeding, hotels can take an extra step in asking whether they can store my milk in their concierge freezer if I'm storing my bags. I was once asked if they could do this for me, and I was so surprised by their thoughtfulness.
If the concierge freezer is only used for breastmilk & medicine!
Batmoms, what are your thoughts? What else would you like to see in your hotel experience?