Over the past two weeks I have been battling online with a major hotel brand and a third party booking company concerning a recent seven night stay in the United States.
When you declare a mission statement like ‘as our guest you can expect warm hospitality and clean, comfortable rooms where everything works, to make your stay trouble-free and enjoyable’, you had better deliver on that promise if you wish to stay in business and grow the brand.
If I have learnt anything during five decades in the tourism industry, it is that however diligent and committed you are things still go wrong. The absolute imperative is that when things do, you deal with the problem immediately and be seen to have dealt with it to the total satisfaction of the guest or traveller.
In this particular case, the hotel group which operates a staggering 20 brands with almost 8,000 properties across 153 countries, responded within a few days and then posted sufficient points on my loyalty programme with them, for a stay at another similar standard, but hopefully cleaner property for a future two night stay.
Following on to their mission statement, ‘We are prepared to resolve any situation that does not meet our high standards. As your hosts, we are empowered to meet your needs in a timely manner’, that is exactly what they have done, at least from a superficial perspective and the token was appreciated.
Before I contacted the hotel group, I studied a number of similar branded hotels within the same state on Tripadvisor based on actual guest reviews. Almost all the various locations mentioned the subject of cleanliness as a significant concern. And frankly, I found this deeply disturbing, as many, if not all of the properties have independent owners and operators.
Hopefully, there may now be a greater focus on this area of deficiency.
Whatever, your personal opinion is about Tripadvisor, it is indisputable that they have dramatically changed the way most hotels are researched and eventually booked.
I never use it as ‘the holy grail’, but more to read a variety of views and opinions, some more informed than others, to measure if the particular hotel will meet my needs.
At this stage I have less praise for the booking company, who took more than a week to extract a response from the property where I stayed and whose ‘management’ virtually denied any responsibility for the 17 defects outlined in my complaint. This despite three separate attempts to report the room faults, but unable to do so, as each time the reception was visibly ‘unmanned’.
Feeling that I was not effectively getting my disappointment across, I sent a personal email to the company’s Senior Vice President of Customer Care who replied the same day saying – ‘Hi! Adrian – Let me know what we can do’.
I replied immediately and hopefully some acceptable resolution is in sight!
Have I posted a review on Tripadvisor regarding this recent stay?
So hopefully others will benefit from my mistake. A past posting concerning another property has so far had 4,990 reads, which clearly demonstrates the power of social media.