Holiday Inn

The Wall Street Journal has been chronicling Holiday Inn’s efforts to modernize its properties and establish a new brand image over the past few months, recently declaring the company’s efforts complete and interviewing hotel owners across the country about the results. Some owners weren’t happy with the over $200,000 of renovations that each Holiday Inn location required to meet the new standards and those that didn’t comply were forced to separate from the Holiday Inn group. But, most franchises saw the work as an opportunity to draw new customers from the crowded market to their properties.

Well, as a customer, I say the efforts were worthwhile. After driving for almost ten hours after the recent blizzard back down to Virginia, I decided to call it a night and stop at a new-looking Holiday Inn Express on the New Jersey/Delaware border. The hotel stood out among its competitors in the not-so-great-looking area with new signage and lighting. The lobby was nice and new as well. For $85/night I got a room that felt new with a 42” flat screen TV that’s nicer than the one I have at home and got a better than expected free breakfast the next morning in the lobby before I continued my journey south. In the future I’ll definitely look to see if any Holiday Inn’s are around for a stay.

Legacy Carriers Stink

I’m once again reminded why I avoid flying the big legacy carriers at all cost... United now charges a $50 fee to fly standby. And, to add insult to injury, I got suckered into paying an extra $20 when I booked the ticket for one of those “extra legroom seats” because there were only middle seats left on the plane. So, if I get on this standby flight, I obviously don’t get that seat and I don’t get the extra $20 back. If I had checked luggage I would be paying more in fees right now than for the flight, which is just how the big airlines like it I guess. Back to JetBlue for me.

Commie Christmas?

Each year around Thanksgiving and Christmas my friend Matt questions my libertarianism/conservatism because of my support of some of Massachusetts’ old Blue Laws, which were generally enacted in the olden days by the Pilgrims and still stand today. For example, almost all stores in the state have to be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas to allow employees to celebrate the holidays. The only exceptions are gas stations, pharmacies, and a few other basic necessities. I just drove around the entire South Shore trying to find an open Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks and finally found one open in Cohasset. Coffee counts as basic necessity around here. But, no booze, no last minute gifts, no food. So, is this the state breathing down the necks of business owners and their customers? Or is it acting within its bounds?

Here, I say the state is within its bounds. It’s a decision being made at the local, state level that could be relatively easily altered if enough people in the state actually had a serious problem with it. If it were a national policy, that would be a no-go in my book. But, Massachusetts can do whatever it wants in the spirit of federalism. And those workers at Wal-Mart who would otherwise be stuck stocking shelves today can spend this valuable time with family.

Here’s an article debating the matter that was posted in the Herald on Thanksgiving.

Class Warfare

An excellent article by Roger Simon of Politico on class warfare that I hope to have time to actually blog about later: