Front Desk

Colin Powell, the Hotelier?

The former Secretary of State spoke at IHG's annual leadership conference in D.C. last week and the frequent traveler said although he's never filled out a comment card before, he had a few suggestions for the collection of hotel owners in attendance. In no order, these were the things he wanted:

- Shampoo and conditioner bottles without fine print, so he could clearly know which was which and avoid washing his hair with body lotion;

- An alarm clock that didn't require “astronaut training” to use;

- More room in the closet; he said you have this big suite and then a smaller closet already stuffed with an ironing board, safe, extra pillows and more;

- Wireless in all public facilities; the retired general said he was too old to crawl under a desk to make wired connections.

Powell was a mix of inspirational and endearing; equal parts grandfatherly and military, talking a lot about his wife and family in addition to his storied career. I'm sure he's made a similar speech hundreds—if not thousands—of times, but his research and knowledge of the audience was evident. He reminisced about his fondness for Holiday Inn, dating back to the 1960s when the brand was one of the first integrated hotels in the South.

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