Something went wrong with the room allocation in my hotel. When I arrived on the 3rd floor with my plastic key, I noticed a conspicuous standing sign in front of the next door room: ‘Team Meeting’. Large hotels, and this was a large five star one, do not have meeting rooms next to guest rooms. Weird.
Nothing happened until late evening when ‘the meeting’ took place, with lots of noise, laughter, music and movement of chairs. I was puzzled, but something in me, including my brain wanting to sleep, convinced me that ‘the meeting’ would stop any minute. Surely. It didn’t’, and went well into the early hours of the morning.
On my second day, I warned reception beforehand. The first reaction was one of disbelief: ‘your room is next door to a guest room, sir’. As if I needed a translation. I politely repeated the problem: ‘it will be addressed immediately’.
It didn’t. The second night was the same. When I checked out, I got the standard ‘was everything ok, sir?’ No, my dear, I have just told you that I have had two nights of wild ‘team meetings’ next door, so, no, everything was not ok’.
24 hrs later, I received a very long email from the manager. It started with full acknowledgement that they got everything wrong, a disaster, nothing could be justified. She was sending a sincere apology and offering me the best possible personalised service next time I stayed. It was a surprise.
I replied with another long email with thanks and more details that they may have overlooked. And she replied again.
She did not twist the arguments, give explanations, excuses or justification. It was full acknowledgement of the fiasco, no matter how much one could justify the bizarre allocation of rooms. She did not even try. She was genuinely sorry, and I could feel, also grateful that I had replied to her email.
I will go back.
I have had another hotel incident just weeks ago in another city and another hotel chain. The sequence and type of disasters were different but equally, if not more, unsettling. On my check out, I was more preventive: ‘before you ask if everything is OK’, I can tell you that A,B,C’.
The manager carried on looking at his screen behind the counter and said, oh, and then, oh, and perhaps a third oh. And then, ‘I have taken 25% off your bill, sir’.
I will never go back to that hotel.
Give me the humans. Robots give discounts.