I took a call recently at the desk. A gentleman is on the other end of the line. He doesn’t introduce himself, just demands to speak to the hotel manager.
Now, we get a ton of people calling and asking for the hotel manager. Understandably, we do try and screen the calls – not all of them actually require his attention. I ask this person what it’s regarding.
“I’m a business guest. A repeat customer.”
…Okay, then. I’m not actually sure where Bossman is, but I transfer it to his office anyway.
About 5 minutes later, Bossman actually walks into reception to speak to me. We get a bit busy and he starts taking phone calls. The same person calls back. Again demands the hotel manager. Bossman doesn’t like it too much when people demand for him, especially when they don’t even say who they are or what they want. So Bossman takes down his details to “pass on”, and actually manages to get the name of the guest. Let’s call him Bob Smith.
Now, Bossman got stuck with a whole bunch of meetings that day, so didn’t get a chance to call Bob back. And given that Bob won’t say what this is about, it’s hard to tell where this falls on the legitimate urgency scale.
Bob calls the next day and speaks to one of the other duty managers. I’m standing next to him, and hear the other end of the conversation. Which is a long one, because apparently Bob has gone off on a rant. My colleague keeps trying to talk, and gets cut off. In the end, we give him Bossman’s email address to “air his complaints”.
I ask my colleague what was up with Bob. Apparently, Bob is upset about his room that he stayed in last week. He’s not happy with it. For the record, he stayed in one of our Standard Rooms.
My colleague explained to him the difference between our rooms. The reason he stayed in the Standard Room is, once again, because he was booked into one of these rooms. And again, at no point during his stay did he complain to us about his room and that he was dissatisfied.
Most of the time when we get these calls, particularly if they are corporate guests, and they kick up a huge fuss, we offer to upgrade them for free to the next room type either on their current stay (if we’re aware of the issue) or for their future stay. This does come with a proviso, that they do need to realise that in the future that they will need to book the correct room type. So, my colleague offers this to Bob.
Apparently this is not enough. Bob feels that he should get two free nights as compensation.
Yeah, that’s never going to happen. For starters, Bob has stayed one time with us. Ever. Certainly not the regular guest he claimed he was. Secondly, we don’t give out free nights just for this. Free upgrades, maybe, but not free nights. Lastly, and we can never emphasise this enough, you are not entitled to compensation when we give you the room you have booked.
I’m not sure if he ever did email Bossman. But when I called Bossman to ask if he’d returned the call (“Oh… shit! I forgot!”) and to let him know exactly what the ‘complaint’ was, Bossman started cracking up with laughter. So it’s fairly safe to say he’s not getting anything as a freebie.
A little hint, guys: Hotels have records of previous stays. We can tell exactly how many times you’ve stayed – two times since we’ve been open in 2005 does not make you a regular guest.
Sometimes it takes incredible restraint for me to stop myself from turning around and asking guests if they’re messing with me. The things that people come up with, it’s amazing.
To date, one of the best “complaints” I’ve had is from a guest who actually stunned both myself and one of my colleagues into silence.
Guest checks into the room. Comes back down a couple of minutes later, throwing the keys onto the desk and demanding a manager to complain about her room.
I step in and ask what’s wrong.
“There’s no bathroom. I want a refund.”
“I just got checked into 306. There’s no bathroom. What kind of hotel is this?”
“Ma’am, there is most certainly a bathroom in your hotel room. It’s on the left hand side of the room, right next to the bed.”
The guest grabbed her keys back and stalked off, but not before she’d made me promise that I would refund her if there was in fact no bathroom in her room.
Oddly enough, she didn’t complain further. Guess she found the bathroom?