Grand Ole Opry

We just got back from a weekend in Nashville, TN. We were staying at Opryland. It’s fuller name is (unfortunately) Gaylord Opryland. I don’t know who Gaylord was, and don’t really want to find out. I certainly hope there was a Gaylord, I’d hate to think that someone come up with that name as a marketing tactic. (Actually, I lied. I just googled to see who Gaylord was. I didn’t get the answer, but I did find a particularly Dilbert-esque homepage that proclaims that they are “Defined By Our Finely-Honed Growth Strategy”.)

Opryland is like Vegas, but without the casino. It’s incredible just to walk around the grounds. We ended up taking a boat ride through the hotel. Yes, a boat ride through the hotel. Enormous gardens, inhouse river, fountains and fish, amazing food. It’s all connected at the hip to the actual Grand Ole’ Opry, as well as a mega-mall. We went to see the Gibson guitar factory. My guitar was made there in 1984. There are no tours on weekends though, so it was just like any other guitar store, except a lot more banjos and dobros, what with being in the south and all.

It was a good stay, except for being constantly nickel and dimed by the hotel. We were paying roughly $200/night. That’s more than we usually spend, but we were willing to do it once, just for the experience. But the big hits did not stop there. Muffins that cost $2.75, breakfast buffet for $20, the aforementioned boat ride for $8/head, with your option to buy a picture of the experience for another $10. These were annoying, but par for the course. We’ve become accustomed to those prices, it’s like living in an airport. No, the two charges that really got to me were:

  • Parking: It was $8.72 a day to park your car. Parking your car is extra!? What!? Mind you, this is not valet parking (that’s $16/day plus tips). No, this is parking your car 1/2 mile away from the hotel in the pouring rain, and being forced to park on the grass and your car makes some awful sounds as it goes over the curb and you walk back to the hotel in the rain after having driven for 5 hours straight with a screaming toddler — that is the experience for which we were paying $8.72 a day. The specificity was irritating also. Yes, I get it, it’s $8.00 with a 9% tax. You couldn’t just call it $8 or $9 even?
  • Resort fee: $5.00 a day, for internet access (we didn’t use), newspapers (we didn’t get), use of the fitness center (we didn’t use), and I don’t even know what else.

Neither of these were optional of course. So why don’t they just make it part of the overall room charge? Nothing else gets broken out. When was the last time you saw a hotel bill like this?

  • Bed: $55/night
  • Sheets: $15/night
  • Room Service: $25/night
  • TV: $10/night
  • Doorkey: $15/night
  • Toiletries: $10/night

I hope never. That’s the point of having one charge, to roll up the whole experience into one number. This is good for the hotel and the consumer. The consumer knows what they are getting. The consumer does not spend their whole trip thinking about money, wondering how saracastic to make their blog entry, and vowing never to go back again.

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