Hotels: The Gatekeeper of Guest Entertainment
TRAVELING AND NO ACCESS TO CANNABIS
A few years ago I was sitting in a hotel room. Tired, stressed, and buzzing from the previous few days. We had just flown to Miami to open a new pizza spot with only five days to do it. Five days to finish construction, hire line cooks, interview cashiers, buy the pizza boxes, find a linen service, etc… you get the idea. The workdays were long, muggy, and overrun with mosquitoes. But we did it. We opened a fully functioning pizza joint from the ground up in five days. Opening night we had a line anxiously waiting to try Frank Pinellos legendary Brooklyn-style pie. As head of operations, I stood over our newly hired cashier’s shoulder and guided him through the new POS system. Once I saw the magical word “approved” pop up on the screen, I was thrilled… and most of all, ready to chill. If anyone knows Miami it’s no secret that you can get just about anything you want. But being at work, and being in front of the staff I just hired, I couldn’t simply walk up to someone and ask, “Hey, know where I can get some weed?” After about an hour I had had my fill of meeting new people and shaking hands, so I decided to sneak out and head back to my hotel. So there I was, sitting on the edge of my bed at 10 pm wondering what to do. I was tired and trying to unwind from the last five days, but completely unable to. My brain was obsessively combing through every detail of what we had just accomplished. I called the front desk to ask when the pool closed and they informed me it had just closed. Alright, so no late-night swimming. What about eating? No… gross. I had just eaten all the pizza my stomach could possibly handle. I laid down on the bed and turned on the TV. Yup, reruns of “Fraiser” and local car dealership commercials. Laying there the only thing I could think about was how nice it would be if I could just get one pre-roll. Nothing crazy, and nothing I had to put a whole lot of effort into. And that’s when it hit me. Hotels are the one place strangers are meant to feel at home and taken care of. And I couldn’t get the one thing I wanted most. Customers pay to be pampered, and made to feel like the weight of the world is outside the room. A home away from home. Needless to say, I didn’t get the weed I was looking for. But what I got in return was an idea that I would see come to fruition only a few years later.
HOTELS AND CANNABIS
In those very short three years, we’ve seen 8 states legalize marijuana (1). As of August 2019, we now have 33 legal states (2). Whether that’s recreational and/or medicinal, the fact that this monumental change is expanding across the United States is undeniable. The hotel industry is one of the final frontiers to pick up the reigns. Their acceptance will come with many opportunities for business and influence. The hospitality industry is interesting. It’s a chain of buildings with their doors wide open to people from all walks of life, countries, and nations. These vastly different people are all under one roof, with the same exact expectation. That they get taken care of. And it’s under that one expectation that dictates everything a hotel does. From the engineer to the general manager. It is the hotels’ job to be the gatekeepers of their guests’ enjoyment. Which means it’s the hotels’ job to stay on top of what “enjoyment” means (within legal reason). The hotel industry can not lose sight of what the people want. We’ve found that placing call-to-action cards in every guest room is the easiest and most non-aggressive way to let the guest know what’s available. If the guest is not a usual partaker in cannabis it takes away the pressure or stigma that might come from wanting to try it. It speaks for the hotel without the hotel having to say anything. And it does the leg work for the guest. If it’s the hotels’ job to ensure their guests’ comfort, then why not offer what’s already legal? The potential reach a hotel has in one night is faster and more assured than an influencer has in a whole day’s worth of content.
Ganjarunner (a Driven company) and one of the chicest Hollywood hotels have taken that leap of faith in a state that praises legal cannabis, bringing it to guests with 90 minute delivery.
By: Emily Rogers