Tuesday, August 10, 2004

LAMT bog.

There’s got to be some sociological jargon for this: borrowing a popular term from some mass media source, and pasting it on some exceedingly ordinary activity, in hopes of imparting some of the glamour of the source. Maybe that’s lateral associative mass-recognition tagging, or LAMT, as they might write in the learned sociological journals. Assuming that there’s any glamour in exhibitionist plastic surgery, a perfect example came by e-mail as a press release today:

“Cedar Rapids, IA -- Extreme Makeover! Kinseth Hospitality Companies announces the renovation and opening of a Country Inn & Suites at the Cedar Rapids, Eastern Iowa Airport.

“Look for some major changes coming soon to the former Howard Johnson Airport Express Inn & Suites in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Now known as the Cedar Rapids Airport Inn & Suites, the extreme makeover has begun and the transition to be unveiled as the new Country Inn & Suites Airport will be completed by November. The extreme makeover will include changes to the exterior of the building, complete overhaul of the lobby, addition of a full-service business center, expansion of the breakfast area and new décor in the guest rooms.”

Extreme Makeover! Watch an ugly old limited-service hospitality property be transformed! Utterly made over! That is, Extremely Madeover! Into a… Country Inn & Suites. Golly, that’s major shift. I’ve stayed at Country Inn & Suites and they’re, uh, about as ordinary as limited-service hospitality properties can be. In fact, I stayed in one of that chain’s “suites” once, and it was only a suite by virtue of a waist-high built-in partition that divided a single room in two.

The release did bring Kinseth Hospitality Cos. to my attention, a fact that I might take advantage of professionally some day, so it was successful in the sense. Kinseth owns or manages about two-dozen properties, all in the Midwest, most in Iowa, and seems to be a family business, the Kenseth family. In this case, they seem to be picking up a property that the behemoth Cendant Corp. (6400 hotels, plus a lot of other businesses) unloaded at some point. I wish the Kinseths well with their new Cedar Rapids property, but they need a new publicist.


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