Well, the Mayor is at it again...secret shoppers to test our local hotels...and a public press conference to tell our hotel workers that they need to be "professional in their attitude and conduct."
And this cost taxpayers another $2500 - which has been added to my running total of unnecessary city spending.
Are secret shoppers the duty of government? Carty Finkbeiner tries to make the argument that visitors to Toledo judge our city by the hotels in which they stay. Personally, I've never judged a city by a hotel. I've judged the hotel, and if it was less than I was expecting, figured that I'd picked poorly. In fact, in talking with friends who travel often for business, they all said that their perspective of the city was NOT tied to their hotel experience.
So do visitors judge our city by the hotel they pick? Or do they judge the city by the roads, the cleanliness of the public spaces, the safety/police presence, good directional signs and ease of parking, whatever event/activity they came for and their overall experience? I think most people are smart enough to distinguish between a city and a single hotel.
And then there is the concept that our mayor is spending tax dollars to evaluate local businesses. To further add insult to injury, he publicly chastizes them because they don't 'measure up.' If I were a prospective visitor who'd just read this article, I'd be looking for a hotel in Perrysburg, as the mayor certainly didn't cast our hotels in a positive light.
I can't help but wonder - after he's finished with the hotels, what will be next? Will he turn his attention to local restaurants? retail outlets? movie theaters?
Perhaps everyone would be better served if he turned those secret shoppers on the city departments and agencies...especially since he has direct authority over those entities - and that's what he was elected to do.
If I believed that evaluating hotels was a good idea, I'd approach the local hotel owners association and ask for their help and support. I'd suggest that such a 'secret shopper' program would benefit them, as owners, and their guests. I'd ask them to pay for the program and use it to their advantage as a marketing or sales tool. This would be a good business decision for them and, together, they could improve their local industry.
Such an approach would accomplish the same results - the improvement of our local hotels - but it would be a voluntary, cooperative way of doing so...instead of a public humiliation at public expense.