As many of my readers know I try to avoid a certain hotel brand on our tours, because of all of the hotel challenges I have had over the last 10 years, 90 percent belonged to this one brand. Last year at the NTA travel exchange I met a sales director that encouraged me to do business with his hotel and yes the hotel belonged to the dreaded brand. I called this hotel looking for space for a small group and was told that with 8 rooms ( 15 guests) I would need to call central reservations in order to get our travel agent commission. I made the booking as instructed, but central reservations made an error, booked the rooms under my name and never sent the passenger names to the hotel. Last Friday I received a bill that was close but did not match up with what I was quoted. I called the hotel and was transferred to the “guest services manager.” “ The guest services manager “ told me that all of the rooms were prepaid and everything was correct. On Sat I receive another charge from the hotel. On Monday I call the same “guest services manager” I spoke to on Friday and asked for an explanation of the almost $1200 overcharge. This person who has the title of “guest service manager” would not let me finish a sentence without interrupting me. She was so intent on telling me that I was wrong, and would not even listen to what I was saying. I tried to be nice and said I am the paying customer and deserve a little respect. She immediately started telling me that I had different room types and that what I had was the right price and if I had a problem then call guest relations at central reservations. Not exactly the tone or experience I expect from a guest services manger. I have been around the hospitality industry for a long time and believe I have earned respect as a tour operator and as a paying customer. I hung up the phone, called guest relations and at the same time sent this “guest relations manager” an email stating that as a “guest relations manager” her behavior on the phone was rude and that if the hotel wanted to earn my business that we needed to have a different style of communication.
The person at guest relations was incredibly nice and showed real interest in resolving my issues. She told me to give her a couple of hours to review the information. At the end of the day the person from guest relations called me and told me that the person who took the reservation originally was new, and indeed made an error in the quote and did not send the correct information to the hotel. She told me that she would contact the hotel and the issue would be resolved in 24 hours.
The next day I received a call from the “Guest Services Manager” who told me that there had been an error, everyone was in the right type of room and my credit card had been refunded. She apologized for being rude to me the day before. Do you think I want to do business with this establishment in the future? What do you think the odds are of the front desk staff being rude on guest check in? The front desk learns what is acceptable behavior from management, not the other way around. Do you think if the “Guest Service Manager” showed me a little respect on the initial call, I might become a repeat customer?
I called my bank and explained that they may see charges and refunds and charges again from this hotel. I asked them to alert fraud protection as the bank security was bound to see this as an attempt at fraud because of charges and refunds multiple times in different amounts. The bank was very appreciative that I called to let them know what was going on. When you anticipate a problem and everyone knows does this build good will?
I was booking a van to shuttle passengers to local destinations on a tour. The person I was speaking to at the rental agency was a complete jerk insisting on quoting me policy. The rental company told me I needed liability coverage to rent a van. I called my insurance agent who called the rental agency and said if they provided a vin number, I would have the required coverage. The manager told my agent to call back 5 days before trip and they would provide a vin number. I called back yesterday and this jerk told me I did not have a confirmed reservation and that the rate was going to be $55 higher as the reservation was not paid two weeks in advance. He once again started quoting me absurd policy, before connecting me to the manager. The manager gave me the information I needed, and agreed to honor the original rate. If I had continued to deal with the person I was dealing with there would be no chance I would ever do business with this company in the future. When I got to speak with a manager all issues were resolved in minutes. The manager kept my business by doing the right thing and treating me the customer with respect. The front line person was chasing the repeat business out the door by being a Jerk, and quoting policy rather than resolve a simple issue.
I recently won a $250 gift card to an attraction I use frequently. I called a group leader who travels with us frequently and offered this prize to the group, no strings attached. The group leader was appreciative and doing a July 3 trip. Do you think me passing this prize to one of my groups will create good will and they will want to book with me in the future? Do you think acknowledging how hard my group leader’s work for me and showing them respect helps me grow my business?
We all have good and bad days and showing customers respect is how we retain our customers. There is no need to be rude on the phone to our vendors or our customers.
I recently had the experience of an overseas vendor requesting to do business with me. I messaged that I seldom use receptive operators in Europe because I have not had good luck. I told them I would allow them to send me a quote and see what they could do. I gave this company very explicit instructions to my needs and what my customer was requesting. This receptive operator sent me what he wanted to sell me, not what my customers had requested to buy. I thanked this supplier for his time and I advised I would not be able to use his services as what he was offering, was not what my customers wanted to buy. The next thing I see on LinkedIn is an attack against me and Tye’s Tours. Do you think I will ever do business with this company? The attack post will remain, anyone who searches this company will see a pretty good reason to go someplace else. I never will understand why a company will attack another company when trying to do business in a public forum. Does anyone really think they will gain business by attacking another company that has rejected a proposal?
My parents taught me at very early age to treat others as you wish to be treated. When you make an error, own up to it, offer a sincere apology, take steps so the error does not reoccur, and move on. There is no point in attacking people who have done what they could to resolve issues or reject an offer because it does not meet your needs. There is no point to constantly interrupting when trying to have a conversation and resolve issues. We all get angry, but if we are determined to find solutions rather than confrontation; listen with respect; the chances of resolution, getting new customers, and retaining customers increases tremendously.