Hello all.. Below is a letter written to a hotel we recently stayed in. We didn’t have a great time, so we wrote them a letter. Most of their issues were simple, yet its easily understood how some guests would have left upset.
My name is… (specific hotel informaiton was deleted) and we stayed at your Hotel in March of 2012. I write this letter to inform you or our disappointed with our stay. We will do this in three parts: list the issues, then some comments, and then we will make you an offer.
We have stayed at your hotel before and we were pleased with it, so we decided to stay there again. The hotel is small but pretty, and has wonderful historical value to the area, so we like it. When booking the trip, your rating seemed very low on certain sites, and higher on others. That indicates inconsistencies. Every time someone stays, they have different stories to tell.
Let’s get to the point.
Part 1 – The Issues
- Your HVAC system was on heat, and the rooms were very hot. Due to the unusually warm weather this year, your hotel was warm and apparently, there was not a quick way for your system to change from heating to cooling. The Room windows did not open wide enough to let cool air in from the outside.
- The ice machine was located only on one floor. Who would know that unless information was provided in the room or upon check-in? Imagine the frustration when needing some ice, and having to go treasure-hunting for the machine…
- The lights in the entire room was dim. For a bathroom to be dim when one is preparing for a meeting isn’t helpful
- Both of the phones in our room did not work. When checking in, our first room was too warm (the temperature in the room was nearly 90 degrees) – we tried to call the front desk, but the one of those two phones didn’t work either.
- The television remote did not work properly,
- The Free internet connection was slow as molasses. Apparently there was a second one that we were not told about. However, that connection was slow as well.
- Every night we came home, our cards had to be reset to allow us into the room.
- $14 for parking in your location is too high when others pay $5 for visiting. How is it a hotel patron pays more than twice a visitors amount for the same service. But at least I knew about that before I registered.
Part 2 – The Comments
The HVAC system in itself was not a major issue for us. For one, you offered room fans to those that asked for them. We asked for one, but the window would not open very wide, so it was difficult to draw very much cool air in. We dealt with that. The weather was unusually warm for that time of year, and we understand that your hotel given its age and history has yet to update its HVAC system, so it takes time to change from heating to cooling and back again. Any one or two of the above listed issues could have been handled simply by the front desk, but put all those issues together, and it makes for a very upsetting or disappointing time.
All your issues were simple really, but communications to your staff from their manager was insufficient or non-existent and communications from your staff to your guests was insufficient and it became irrelevant. Simply said, Staff is poorly trained, and there seems to be no pride or camaraderie among them. All simple issues to fix, but it starts with management and leadership.
Every desk clerk had a different story regarding the Heating system and when it would be resolved. For a customer, that was the most frustrating part of it. A consolidated message such as apologizing for the inconvenience and asking for their patience given the age of the hotel, the unusually warm temperatures, and that the hotel was doing everything possible to make it more comfortable for all its guests, would have been the best possible course of action and verbiage conveyed from ALL STAFF. That would have been a sign of good management and leadership. Instead, everyone had what seemed like their own rendition.
The ice machine location is an easy fix at check-in and or with signs posted in the rooms or hallways. All our issues could have been easily fixed if I asked the front desk, but what I noticed is that your staff all responded differently to questions and concerns. They all wanted to help, but were all helping in their own way. There was no consistency in their language, and there was little similarity in their sincerity. In our short time there, we didn’t notice any staffer whose attitude was completely negative; however, they just did not seem to be a team, and were not completely supportive of the company. (Important to remember that I may be wrong about all of this, but it doesn’t really matter, it’s the perception that matters.. and the perception from all your guests that we engaged was the same.)
This letter is not about the staff, this letter is about the training (or lack thereof) provided to the staff. It’s also about the hotel’s management and its leadership. Is management training and coaching its staff, or is management doing just paperwork while expecting successful results. Results may come, but asking for results without the proper structure will come at a costly price.
Internal marketing and customer service begs the question, how do we keep the customers we already have? We catered to your hotel last year, and came back because of its location and the service provided to us, not for its price. Will we return again? The issues listed above would indicate no. How many customers do you lose because of service? (How many can you afford to lose?)
As Management Consultants, allow us to inform you that keeping existing customers is so much easier to do than many businesses think. How do you keep the customers that already cater to your hotel, and how do you get them to tell their friends and family that your hotel is the one to stay in? Furthermore, how do you deal with your customers that complain or have issues with your hotel or the service provided? In your case, it’s about consumer service and appreciation and creating value in your product.
Part 3 – The Offer
We offer your entire staff training – for free. We will provide you and your team with clarity of thought as it relates to how to deal with the hotel’s consumers with uniform sincerity. We will show them how to make customers feel at ease and at home. We believe that every situation is not positive, but that every situation can and must be productive. Honesty and Candor, which many of us do not understand, can be powerful tools when used properly. Management must be able to continuously train its team towards this endeavor. We will assist you and provide you with the foundation and first steps towards doing this. We look forward to hearing from you.
Teamwork, Honesty, Candor, Communication, Training, Observing, Coaching, Evaluation …
Not too difficult, right? (keeping it short here…lol)