Affinia Hotels launches Tender Loving Comfort movement

affinia hotels This week, Affinia Hotels launched their new Tender Loving Comfort movement in New York, Washington D.C., and Chicago. The program is based on deep-customer service as well as the body language of guests. In fact, earlier this year the company partnered with body language expert Patti Wood to train hotel staff to know how to respond to body language cues.

Tender Loving Comfort staff and hotel managers will be interacting with guests during their new Comfort Hour, where guests will get the opportunity to sample snacks, test out new items like tech gear and pillows, and give feedback on what makes them most comfortable when staying at a hotel.

Some interesting findings of the studies so far include:

  • For 68.5% of travelers, little extras at check-in make a big impact
  • 75% of travelers have lied to get a better room or free amenity
  • 43% of travelers say that a warm and friendly hotel staff that anticipates everyday needs is important

Click here to learn more about the Tender Loving Comfort program or to book a hotel room with Affinia.

Smithsonian in National Latino Musuem controversy

Smithsonian, National MallThe Smithsonian Institution is considering building a National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, DC, but is facing controversy over the idea.

The museum is planned for the National Mall, shown here in this image courtesy Andrew Bossi, and would complete a set of museums that include the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The latter museum is due to open in 2015. While a museum to the contributions of Latinos to American history and culture makes sense, it’s meeting opposition in Congress over funding and the concept itself.

Jim Moran (D-VA) says he doesn’t want each minority group going to their own museum and skipping the others. This reasoning would hold water if the other museums hadn’t been established already, but it seems a bit late in the day to be bringing forth this argument now.

The current financial crisis is a more persuasive argument against a new museum. The National Museum of African American History and Culture sported a $500 million price tag. Half of that was paid for with Federal dollars, something that’s not going to go over well in the current Congress. There’s also talk of a national woman’s museum, but that’s likely to face the same hurdles as the Latino Museum.

Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States and have been here since well before the country was founded. Many modern states, such as Florida, Arizona, even Missouri, were Spanish colonies before they became U.S. states.

Do you think there should be a National Museum of the American Latino? Should it be paid for with tax dollars? Tell us what you think in the comments section!

Desperate TSA looking for new colleagues at gas stations – promises free X-Ray vision and benefits

After advertising on pizza boxes, the TSA at Reagan National Airport have now resorted to advertising at D.C. area gas stations. In their ad for part time security officers, they promise a career where “x-ray vision and federal benefits come standard”. Perhaps I’m overreacting, but using x-ray screening equipment as a job perk seems rather tacky.

I’m also surprised that four months after the pizza box ads, the TSA is still having a hard time filling positions in a country where unemployment is such a hot issue.

On the official government jobs site, 100’s of positions are listed with the TSA – but the entry level position of Transportation Security Officer is listed at $29,131.00 – $43,697.00 /year – and that starting salary may have something to do with the trouble finding enough candidates. Still, if you are out of work and you fit the requirements, the TSA would love you to come and help them enjoy their x-ray perk!

Tourists get unexpected breakfast buffet with Obama at the White House

Perhaps you read about the tourist couple who recently were ushered into a White House breakfast buffet with President and Michelle Obama even though they did not have an invitation. All Harvey and Paula Darden planned on doing when they showed up at the White House was take a tour that their congressman helped arrange for them. Unfortunately, they arrived a day earlier than they were supposed to.

This turned out to be a good thing. When they arrived saying they were there for a tour, the White House staff person lead the Dardens into the East Room. There the couple found themselves chowing down food in the midst of people who were not dressed in tourist attire.

The buffet was for veterans–something neither of the Dardens are. But, according to the White House staff, because the Dardens had been cleared by security like all the other guests—and since there wasn’t a tour, they were given breakfast instead.

The only reason we know about this incident is because the Dardens became worried after Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed the state dinner two weeks after the Dardens’ visit. The Dardens, I suppose, felt it necessary to come forward to tell about how their off the cuff visit happened. It wasn’t something they planned. They don’t want people to get the wrong idea about them. They are not event crashers who tried to pull one over on the White House.

Hopefully, the Dardens’ splash into national news won’t halt the unexpected buffet invites for the rest of us who might show up at the White House for a legitimate reason but on the wrong day.

The news story, unfortunately, was written as if this might have been another White House gaff.

No, no, no. Don’t say that. Just say that the Dardens felt uncomfortable with their unexpected luck. To feel better, I suggest the Dardens write a thank-you note and add that it’s nice to know that tourists have access to a White House brunch every once in awhile when they least expect it—with the proper security clearance, of course.

World AIDS Day: The Names Project Quilt

Today is World AIDS Day, a day that reminds me of a trip I took to Washington, D.C. more than ten years ago. There are some sights that can only be adequately described in photos or in words–a person has to see them for the full effect. These are the sights that take your breath away. The Grand Canyon, the statue of David and the Names Project Quilt are the three that have moved me the most.

In 1996, when I stepped out of the metro at the Mall and saw the sea of fabric rectangles sewn together into panels that stretched in every direction–each individual panel the size of a grave, I was stunned. Where does one start to take in such loss? I started by looking for my dad’s first cousin who had died of AIDS. My father’s cousin did have a panel that friends of his had made for him. Among the sea were several friends of my brother’s as well.

Even though the Names Quilt has grown in size beyond the boundaries of the Mall–it’s currently made up of 40,000 panels– it’s possible to see sections of it throughout the year. Here’s a link to the list of current locations where parts of the quilt are on display. Most states have at least one location.

You can also visit the The NAMES Project Foundation headquarters in Atlanta where it’s possible to view specific sections of the quilt if you contact the foundation ahead of time.

Until you’re able to see part of the quilt in person, here’s a tribute I came across. The song “The Morning Train” sung by Kickin Grass Band reminds me of southeastern Kentucky where another cousin–my mother’s first cousin, is buried in the family cemetery. He also died of AIDS.