An Experiment in Capitalism, Geneva style

October 29, 2011

I stayed at La Cour des Augustins in Geneva three times this week. There are three resulting blog entries:

If you’ve been following the blog, you know that I stayed in three different classes of rooms—the Loft room (super deluxe), a junior suite (deluxe), and a standard room. Needless to say the price differs radically between the three rooms! And guess what, so do the perks.

Three variations of chocolate come with your room grade.

The three chocolates left in each of the rooms say it all. When you stay in the loft, you get a box of swiss chocolate and a personal note from management. When you are in a junior suite, you get a candy-bar type of chocolate and a note printed on a computer (with your name on it). When you are in a standard room, you get a pillow chocolate and a generic “dear guest” note. Very interesting.

The Loft room is truly fantastic and was a good base of operations for jet lag avoidance on Monday, so I am glad I stayed there. The junior suite was not worth the money they are asking for it. The standard room was fine and way cheaper than the other two rooms.

In the US, hotel management would have had some idea that I was up to something fishy with this room class experiment. (Their computers would have told them.) In fact, in many of the hotels I stay in regularly, the management has figured out who I am and knows all about this blog. It’s nice to be recognized and spoiled. (Thanks Kimpton people!)

In Europe, nobody ever knows that I have stayed somewhere before. So they can’t even pretend to welcome me back. (Just for the record, I am OK with pretending based on CRM software.) In this case, what transpired was quote striking. After I wrote a blog entry in March about La Cour des Augustins, I got an email response from Jérôme CIVET. He liked my feedback and said, “You could benefit from an Upgrade according to our availability.” But guess what? Neither Jerome or anybody else noticed my experimental plummet in levels this week or even tried to do anything about it. I did get offered to upgrade to a junior suite on Friday, but only if I paid the price difference. In the states, that would have been seen to automatically.

Anyway, I found this interesting enough to remark about. Capitalism is alive and well in Geneva! Land of the private bankers.

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