Inspire me! In a hotel room.

 Dave Birss , writer, speaker, advisor

8 JULY 2019

If you prefer reading to watching my hairy face talking at you, you’ll find a full transcription of the video below. Reading it in a Scottish accent is entirely optional.

You can see the first ‘Inspire Me!’ video right here, where I talk about being inspired by a statue. This is a habit I recommend you get into if you want to have a constant stream of fresh ideas.

Here’s the video. Please like, comment and share like a truly decent YouTube user! (You can do that right here.)



Hi! I’m Dave Birss.

And today we’re going to see if we can be inspired by a hotel room.

Hello. I’ve come to the Midlands (correction: Cheshire) to do some teaching tomorrow and also to do some pretty exciting stuff that I can’t wait to tell you about but. But not just yet. Secret squirrels!

So we are in the Roebuck Inn. This is where I’m staying tonight. This is my hotel room. And I usually end up staying in hotel rooms that are quite bland and corporate. This is nothing like that. It’s an old English Inn. It is really beautiful and quirkily decorated.
So let’s have a look around this room and see what we can learn from it. What inspiration we can get from this gorgeous environment here. Come take a look.

Out of all the beautiful stuff in this incredible room, I decided to go for something that every hotel room has and that is: a pointy bit on the toilet paper. You know, somebody was the first person to do this. Somebody did this for the first time at one point and now every hotel does it. Every hotel room around the world seems to have a little pointy fold on the toilet paper. Interesting. So what are three principles that we can learn from this absolutely useless piece of amateur origami.



So the first principle I think we can learn is: look at the unglamorous stuff. You know, obviously, it’s sexier to look at the fabrics and the interior design and the mints on the pillows and all the lovely little touches. The stuff that you can tell people about and be proud about.

Nobody else is looking at the unglamorous stuff. And there lies an opportunity. Can you make the unglamorous stuff communicate something? Or become a moment of pleasure in some way? Or give people something to talk about? That’s your opportunity. What can you do with that?



The next principle I think we can learn is: show that you’ve put in the work. I mean, isn’t that the point of the point on the toilet roll? It’s to show people that the cleaner has been in here. The cleaner has cleaned everything. The sheets have been changed. There’s not going to be toenails from the previous tenant in here. There’s not going to be dirty marks inside the toilet. All the work has been done. Everything is clean. You can trust this room. Even so much that we’ve put a fold in the toilet paper because we care. That’s what it’s about. It’s kind of the signature at the end of having cleaned the room to say “Boom! We’ve done it.”

Now that is a practical purpose even although there is really no practical point to the point. It doesn’t help you clean any better, I don’t believe. I’ve certainly not discovered a way that it does.

So show that you have done the work. What can you do that makes your customers go, “Wow! They’ve even paid attention to that detail. They really must have done everything.”



Another principle I think we can learn is: at least meet industry standards. You know, everyone else is putting a point on the toilet paper so you kind of have to do that as well. If you don’t put a point on the toilet paper it says something. It says to people, “Maybe they haven’t done all the cleaning. Maybe these sheets were there for the previous person that stayed in this room. They really haven’t told me that they’ve fully, fully cleaned this room.”

It’s quite incredible that such a little thing as a rubbish piece of origami like this can actually communicate quite so much. I do a lot of travelling when I’m speaking and teaching and some of the hotel rooms I’ve stayed in, they’ve gone further than just putting a point.

Some of them have put little stickers on it to attach that point, just to show that “Hey! Not only do we care but we really care. And here’s a sign that’s part of our brand.” I’ve been to one hotel that actually put a ribbon and a little bow around the toilet paper as well as doing the point. Now that’s really taking it further – and totally unnecessary – but, you know, they’re really trying to up the ante there to show that they care even more than other hotels do. And they’ve maybe cleaned even better than other hotels do.

So what can you do to meet the industry standard and go a little bit further.

So that’s three principles for you. Hopefully you find these useful. If you come up with any other ones then please let me know in the comments. If there’s anything that you think we can learn from the toilet paper, I would love to hear it.

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So, in the meantime, please, big love to your beautiful brain. And big love to all the brains that are around you. I love you. Bye!