Sunday, January 14, 2007

Membership does not always have its priveleges

Date of Incident: Sat. Jan. 13, 2007 at 4:20p.
Place of Incident: A full service hotel chain in Washington, D.C. USA

It is funny how people always complain about airlines having high fares, but when you call a hotel, the first rate they quote is not always the lowest rate; you usually have to ask for the lowest rate. And why do full service hotels charge for Internet access, while the small chains don’t? But I digress...

I was trying to find a room in Washington D.C. this past weekend; after searching for a while, I found one at a chain for which I am a top member of their Frequent Stayer program.

When I arrived at the hotel, I was not greeted as a member of the program (I should have been) and the check-in experience was crap. The agent never looked me in the face the whole time. I even had to wait quite a while for the check-in as the check-in agent was playing Concierge. It was odd as I did notice a camera pointing at the check-in area so there was someone watching to see how long that line was. Eventually when the line got longer he came out and helped someone else.

I overheard the check-in experience for the couple next to me (the guy was loud) and all the things I did not get, but should have, they were getting; I am not even sure if they were a member of the Frequent Stayer program.

I had to even ask the agent for the upgrade for which I was due. She did give me an upgrade, but that was about it.

I made my way up to the floor, only to find out that it was a smoking floor. Geez, do you think she could have checked to see that my initial reservation was for a non-smoking room? When I tried the key, the green light came on, but the door did not open. Annoyed, I went back downstairs to the front desk.

Once there, the other nice agent who was now free explained that I needed to pull the handle upwards (how weird). I also said that the floor was a smoking floor, and the agent who checked me in started to argue with me that it was not. The good agent then told her that that floor is a smoking floor this weekend (which I though was weird that they alternate a smoking floor).

The initial agent then gave me a room on the fourth floor of the 12 floor hotel. That initial room was on the 7th floor. I wanted to ask for higher floor as my reservation had requested, but by this time I had had enough.

Once I got up to the room, I was a little annoyed as the room had a view of the roof of the conference rooms and another building. It is a good thing that I am at the top of their tier; otherwise I would have had a picture of a window!

I called down and spoke to the manager; who at first was great. She checked my profile and found out my tier level and said that I was already upgraded; I had thought that my upgrade should have been to the Executive floor, but I was mistaken apparently.

I repeatedly said that I was not happy with the experience. Funny that the recording while I was on hold, said that if you are not happy with anything you should call. I wish they would live up to their own standards.

She then said that there was nothing she could do to make me feel more "loved." I asked for a complimentary breakfast; she said "no," I asked for complimentary Internet access and she said "no" as well. Citing that that is the one thing she cannot do. I was quite taken aback as all she had to do was decrement my room rate the amount that the external company charged for the Internet. Dejected, I told her goodbye and that I was not happy at all and I'd write a letter about my experience. I must give her credit as she was pleasant all the time.

Later that night I wanted some water and saw a bottle on the desk, it was $2.95! Good Lord!

This morning, I asked for a late check out; the guy without looking at my profile said no. So I calmly said, I thought that members of the program got late check out as a courtesy. He said you have to be at the top tier (which is not true, all members do). I said, “I am.” He paused and offered 12:30p, I said 2p, then he said 1p. So we settled on that. By the way, their policy is to give until 2p. which is what the couple got who was checking in next to me the day before.

I filled out the comment card when I left, this morning, but I am sure nothing will come of it. I will also send a letter to Corporate and see where that goes.

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