I booked a room for one…. not me and three cockroaches!
My first musing for the new year is about problem resolution. And in fairness, this can be directed equally at F&B managers and front desk/guest service managers. My final trip for the year was to New York to conduct a training course. My client had booked a room for me in a hotel that had opened in the last year or so. The staff were super friendly and while the room was small it was well equipped and comfortable.
But without double glazing the noise from NYC traffic woke me at 3am and I trudged to the bathroom where I was greeted by a small American cockroach creeping toward my wash bag. I disposed of it quickly and returned to my bed where I found another cockroach crawling up the nightstand next to my bed and 6 inches from my pillow. And of course they weren’t alone as I then found another in my shower a couple of hours later. As my room was on the 17th floor I can only imagine how many others were hiding in the building.
I called to speak to the GM in the morning but was connected to the assistant guest services manager, who was sympathetic and apologetic. She offered to send me some coffee, asked if I wanted a late check-out and said she would remove the facility fee from my bill. I told her I was not looking for any kind of discount, I was just wanted to ensure that immediate corrective action would be taken as this was a serious problem.
In most cases the hotel would say it had done its job. It had listened to my problem, shown empathy and offered me something for free. Boxes checked! Problem resolved.
But in today’s era of social media madness, this simply isn’t enough. Nothing was said to me when I checked out. No follow-up letter or phone call was received from the GM or anyone else. And today I received a generic email saying, “We're happy you chose us and would love to hear more about your stay. Tell us how it went!”
This is where a hotel can differentiate itself. Cockroaches are a fact of life in hotels and restaurants, but people hate them and will avoid your establishment like the plague if they know the place is infested. Any comment to any employee about such a complaint should trigger a HUGE red flag. The assistant guest services manager knew what time I was checking out and she should have alerted the front desk to call her or a senior manager when I was at the desk so they could meet me in person and once again apologize. And a follow-up email or call from the GM should have been received assuring me that this serious issue was being dealt with immediately.
THEN – the story becomes how “well” they dealt with it and not what happened.
Fortunately for this hotel, I am not one to post negative comments on social media. But what if I was…!