Wake up! Wake up Calls

by Dave Michels

Sometimes I blog to vent, like now.

I overslept today at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in DC. I ordered a wake up call, but I didn’t follow the steps correctly. I entered the time, then I had to press 1 for AM. It read back the time and AM so I hung up, and missed the “if this is correct, press 1”. The call I thought was a wake up call was actually the people I was to be meeting.

Is a three step process really necessary for setting a wake up call? (This is after pressing 1 to request a wake up call).

I generally prefer the automated systems over the sleepy night operator. Though I never had a problem, I never really trust them.

On this trip, I did bring my watch… I normally don’t. But my battery died whenItried to change the timezone. I used to carry an alarm clock in my toilet kit, but since TSA prefers small ziplock bags, I leave it at home now.

My voice mail system at the office has a wake up call feature… I’ve used it a few times, but it has two common points of failure. One problem is I don’t always mentally figure out time zones correctly, particularly just before going to bed. The other problem is my cell phone is so smart that it automatically switches to vibrate during times I have an appointment. My cell phone knows current time, my voice mail doesn’t. Getting this all right is far too complicated.

So all this means that the hotel wake call system will have to do. Hotel systems don’t have a snooze, so I often order a 2nd call a few minutes later. Though this can be risky – sometimes hotel systems only support 1 call. That snooze can turn into missed appointments.

This is actually a great IP/VoIP application – a simple use of the XML browser in most IP phones. A guest could use the keypad and see clearly the current and set time on the phone. I’ve only been in two hotels with fancy IP phones though. Neither one had a wake up call feature on it – just ads.

My voice mail on my home phone system doesn’t have a wake up call feature. I’ve complained about this before. Instead, I am have to buy a $30 alarm clock to sit next to my $250 IP phone – the phone is that thing with a clock, multiple ringers, large display, and easy to use numeric keypad. The clock is the one with a single alarm-tone, a small display, and uni-directional slow and fast keys that seem to always be 23.5 hours away from the time I want.

I think the wake up call function is one thing hotels should be really good at. They advertise a good night’s sleep, but I can’t sleep here because I am afraid I will oversleep. I want to see hotels advertise and differentiate around the wake up call service. “If you are in town for an important meeting, stay at WakezUp – where you won’t oversleep”. Similar to the classic FedEx, “If it positively has to be there overnight”. I can’t relax with untrustworthy systems around me.

The wake up call (and system) is way underrated. They should be better branded… only stay at “hotels with XYZ brand wake up call systems”.

That’s it for now, good night.