Go to Hotel Hell
It may be attributable to the promise of Gordon Ramsay stripping down naked, but the debut episode earlier this week of Fox’s Hotel Hell was a veritable hit, ranking as the highest-rated new broadcast series of the summer among the coveted 18–49 demographic.
The show, which tracks Ramsay’s quest to turn around dilapidated, defectively operated lodging establishments, should particularly appeal to meeting planners accustomed to frequent hotel stays. In the first episode, Ramsay is horrified to discover the owners of Juniper Hill Inn in Windsor, Vt., (not a property mentioned in our Vermont story) have cluttered the space with hoarded junk, charge guests an exorbitant fee of $700 for two nights and have failed to deal with a plumbing issue that leaves guest rooms smelling putrid.
While these specific grievances may not be relatable, who in this industry hasn’t discovered equally horrifying secrets lurking within their hotel?
The appeal of this show, like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, lies in watching the angry host and clueless hotel owners work together to get the flailing property into fighting form. There are lessons here, not just for hoteliers but for planners—for instance, Ramsay prompts the Juniper Hill Inn to cut its restaurant prices when he determines they are out of reach for the property’s likely clientele, a decision not unlike the one planners must make when determining F&B costs.
Mostly, though, the show is just fun to watch. Those in the industry know all too well how difficult it is to please groups of people expecting a memorable hospitality experience. It’s hard not to root for the success of these intrepid owners, and to hope that maybe they can get out of their hotel hell.
Catch the show Monday nights on Fox at 8 p.m. ET/PT; the next two episodes will cover the Cambridge Hotel in New York and the Keating Hotel in San Diego.
Image: Chef and hospitality expert Gordon Ramsay travels across the country to fix struggling hotels on Fox’s Hotel Hell. ©2012 Fox Broadcasting Co., photo by James Dimmock/FOX
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