Homewood Suites – New Orleans, LA

Hotel Review

New Orleans is a fairly popular convention and conference town, so I was there for the second time this year and wanted a hotel that was convenient to the appropriate venues but also had some separation.  The Homewood Suites on Podyras fits the bill.  It is within walking distance to the Superdome, the WWII Musuem, the convention center, and Bourbon Street but not too close to any of them.

The hotel itself was in great condition and I received excellent service.  The internet speeds were very good, the room package was fresh, and they had a large area for their breakfast and happy hour events.  Combine all of this with a decent rate and convenient location and this might be my “go to” location for future visits.  My only disappointment is that this location (nor most of Hilton’s New Orleans properties) did not participate in the Q2 Bonus promo.  I’ll write more on that issue in a separate post.

Final Grade: A

Points and Dollars

For my three night stay, my total bill was $677 with tax. As a result, I earned 18,533 points based on the following breakdown:

  • Base points = 5,970
  • “Points and Points” bonus = 2,985
  • Diamond 50% bonus = 2,985
  • AMEX on-line booking bonus = 500
  • HHonors Surpass card by AMEX (9 points per dollar) = 6,093

Update: Passport Lines at Heathrow

Since I have posted previously about the reports of delays in entering the UK through Heathrow’s Border Control, I thought I should update with my personal experience in the past two weeks. 

Simply put, there was no wait on the last two entries.  I came in to Terminal 4 two Saturdays ago around 11:50 a.m. and it was six minutes from the time I stepped off the aircraft until I went through the doors of Customs.  Today, I came into Terminal 1 around 8:45 a.m. and it was the same story.

Now, I might have gotten extremely lucky but it does seem that wait times have been getting better since the disasterous April period.  The Border Control agency has supposedly gone on “full Olympics” mode since Sunday, so hopefully others will have, if not the same exact luck, a similar experience as I have in the past two weeks.

Hilton, Delta Score High on Customer Satisfaction Index

My two “go to” travel providers – Delta Airlines and Hilton Hotels – scored well on the American Customer Satisfaction Index that was released a couple of weeks ago.

Hilton scored first in the category beating runner-up Marriott Hotels.  Hilton’s large footprint, range of brands in both price and amenities, and their consistency of service are what keep me coming back to them

Delta scored third in the airlines category behind JetBlue and Southwest but firmly ahead of other “legacy” carriers such as United/Continental, US Airways, and American.  When reading other travel blogs and message boards where Delta’s frequent flyer program, SkyMiles, is held in such low esteem, I always wonder if I should try out some others.  However, as a butt in seat traveler, my number one concern is the product and I don’t think Delta’s can be beat..

Silly Uses of Social Media in the Travel Industry

In the July issue of Travel+Leisure magazine, there is section on social media.  I gave it a read because I’m trying to figure out what role Facebook and the like have in the world of travel.  I have connected to Hilton and Hyatt on FB and have participated in a couple of promotions but it all seems a bit forced to me – as if these hotel chains are just trying to think of reasons to be there because they feel like they have to be there.

It turns out I might be right.  The winner of “Best Use of A Social Media Platform” for an individual hotel was the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, FL.  Their brainchild?  They asked “How do you like your coffee?” on their Facebook page and then keep track of responses in case a “fan” ends up booking a stay.

I cannot imagine how much effort has to go into tracking this for the simple sake of saving a waitress the time and effort of asking “Would you like cream for your coffee?”  And, if they have a “fan” stay but somehow fail to realize they have their coffee preference on file, they have now given the customer a reason to be disappointed over an expectation that they created for no reason.  This is simply silly.